There is a difference between A) calling a man pretty or admiring his graceful body language or his feminine features (although I don’t personally think eyelashes and lips need to constantly be gender-labeled as “masculine” or “feminine” – they can just be “long” or “lush” etc) and B) mocking a man for having what you perceive to be “feminine” traits (even if you think your jokes are not mean-spirited because Hey! feminine guys are awesome!) and especially C) making insinuations about a person’s sexuality based on external mannerisms or physical features. The last example is homophobic behavior. Even if you love gay people or fetishize them or personally identify as LGBTQ, it doesn’t matter! It’s still exactly the same thing homophobes do.
Paul McCartney is not a sassy queen. If he was, and he self-identified that way, it would be totally cool to call him that and celebrate his fabulousness! But as far as we know, Paul identifies as a straight man. Maybe not a super “macho” one- he wore ladies’ clothing in the 70s and sometimes he likes to playfully prance and twirl and stuff like that, which I agree is endearing and cute! But it’s questionable, at the very least, to make joke after joke about how OMG!feminine! the guy is.
Of course you can admire his physicality (option A)- that’s what fans do with celebrities. But please do so without taking a different sexuality and applying it to this person in a mocking way (as if everyone is in on the joke except Paul, who doesn’t realize what a flamboyant queen he is, LOL).
I think it’s fine to speculate on an artist’s sexuality, too, so long as it’s based on their own words or even their art. But not when it’s second-guessing someone’s own identity based on your own judgments about their posture or bone structure (or worse yet, their interest in theater or having gay friends- like do you realize how homophobic that is?).
Can you imagine a group of men coming on Tumblr and making post after post about a straight female celebrity, talking constantly about how butch she is and how hard she would fuck basically every woman she’s ever been photographed with? Lord knows there’s nothing bad about being butch or W/W but it would be a WEIRD thing to keep harping on about a straight woman! Wishful thinking and fangirling/fanboying is fine. “I wish she would top me” is different than calling a straight woman “such a power dyke.” The first is just a fun wish, the second is… weird and inaccurate and it just strikes me as maybe only half-way thought-through.
I don’t think I have all the answers or claim that we’re perfect either. In our episode on Yoko we made a joke about her “big dick” – which we meant as a compliment, but that could be seen as problematic too. And maybe it was? The whole concept of a dick as being where power is stored is pretty lame, even if we all enjoyed making “big dick energy” memes and jokes for a year or so.
And yeah, Paul’s so-called “femininity” (which I put in skeptical quotation marks because again, we’re talking about gender-labeling both physical traits AND personality traits that DO NOT INHERENTLY BELONG TO ANY SEX) has been historically used to undermine everything from his intelligence to his artistic depth to his credibility (”diva” anyone?). It’s not mine or anyone’s job to police and gatekeeper and tell people how they’re supposed to talk, I just urge us all to be a bit more thoughtful with how we use words and how we appropriate gay culture so voraciously.
Also, please stop this tiresome straw-man argument of “there’s nothing wrong with being femme!” Of course there isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with being anything!
But everyone on this site knows better than to purposely mis-label a person’s gender or sexuality. Everyone also knows better than to characterize a person’s sexuality or gender identity in a way that would upset that person or make them uncomfortable. If someone prefers “Black” to “African American,” call them Black. If they prefer “Brown” to “Black,” call them Brown, etc. It’s not your place to make a judgment call about these terms, it’s for people to choose for themselves and it’s our place to respect them.
I know I’ll probably get pushback that “this is just fandom” and “it’s not that serious.” And to an extent I agree because none of the Beatles would appreciate being called assholes or hearing our shitty opinions about their songs either and we all feel free to criticize them for all kinds of stuff that is essentially none of our business. I just think we need to pump the brakes from time to time when it comes to throwing labels on people.
And yes, perhaps I’m sensitive about this topic because I grew up in a much, much more homophobic era than our current one and I’ve definitely got scars from it. But I also believe that it’s OK to encourage everyone to think about this stuff and talk openly about it without attacking each other or getting overly defensive.
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