Unpacking is a column I hope to write regularly-ish where I unpack all the bullshit in a post line by line. As I pull things out of the backpack, I may overlook a few items in the corners, please point them out! I may also fail to realize that what I thought was a point on its own, turns out to be a second tiny backpack which needs its own unpacking.
Let’s talk about this post from a few days ago. I wanted to go into it then, but as you can see, it required far more than a little comment of overall disgust:
So, let’s see what these feminists have in their backpack today!
“The two people in question are self-identified feminists.”
Let’s begin here shall we? These people are confused about feminism. And sometimes I wish there was an entrance exam and a card to carry because people who don’t get it self-identifying as feminists does more harm than good.
Moving on, let’s look at some of the harm these ‘feminists’ are doing right now!
“So they invite me to something called "Gay Night". What is this night of gays, I ask?
Well, it was explained, Gay Night is where people sit around and watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy…”
No, see, you’re thinking of straight night. That’s the night where a bunch of straight women watch a show where gay men are used to entertain straight women. If they had said “Queer as Folk’, I could get behind that. A critically acclaimed series about the real lives of real gay people written by gay people would have been A-okay and a potential learning experience. Gay people are not here for your amusement, though.
Queer eye for the Straight Guy is the minstrelsy of gay sexuality. It is gay men performing for the straight gaze so women can get together and dream of the ‘gay best friends’ they don’t have who would totally whip their shaggy boyfriends into shape. There is nothing gay about it except that it has gay people in it. Next!
“…and then some woman, the host, brings out her BDSM toys and informs them what a violet wand is”
Sigh, it just goes on and on! Gay people are not sexed up freaks. Yes, we have a tendency overall to be more open sexually and have fewer hang-ups, but that’s just a side effect of having your whole sexual identity seen as deviant to a segment of the population. You tend to get over that kind of sexual embarrassment quickly for your own self-esteem.
This does not translate into BDSM = gay. In fact, most of the gays I know are pretty vanilla and monogamous. Most of us just want our normal everyday relationships to count. I have never heard of the ‘violet wand’ - whatever the fuck that is - and I really don’t care.
Does this mean these girls (having learned about violet wands at an event) are now more queer than me? Fuck no! That’s fucking stupid. Violet wands are not gay.
Our relationships are just like yours – varied. Has no one noticed the huge amount of straight swingers and BDSM enthusiasts out there?
“I ask, "Are there any actual gays at this?" I am bisexual, and I suspect I'd be the closest to that.
"Oh, hahaha. No. We're too embarrassed to ask our gay friends."”
If you are having an event ‘celebrating’ a specific minority and you are too embarrassed by your behavior to run it by someone in that group, there is your first sign that you are being offensive and should just stop. There is nothing more to this point. Just stop.
“I then also ask "Well, what else happens?"
"Last week we all had a make-out session".”
None of these poeple identify as gay or bisexual. They are literally just straight women making out. Let’s ignore the obvious questions this brings up like, for instance: “To what endgame do you make out with each other?” and get right to what’s so wrong with this.
Gay women and bisexual women have a well-known issue with each other. Gay women are (rightfully) wary of women who also sleep with men. Many of us have been in a relationship with a woman who ‘decides’ she isn’t gay one day or thinks that the relationships they have with gay women do not ‘count’ so they hold boyfriends on the side. Some of us (me for example) have had some gigantic misogynist asshole attempt to physically fight us over it. Of course both of these views are a pretty big indicator that these women are only gay for male gaze or because they think it makes them look open and cool.
Bisexual women feel (rightfully) that they are getting a bad rap and they are hurt that many gay women refuse to date them.
Both of these issues are due to one group of people. The straight women who think they can ‘try on’ gayness whenever they feel like it.
Now, I understand that people have to explore to determine their sexuality and where they fall in that. Lots of gay women began by calling themselves bisexual. I did. It’s an easier way to ease into being gay when you are too young and still have too much internalized homophobia to admit what you already know – you’re gay. These feelings eventually pass with enough support and maturity and the bisexual label is dropped in favor of gay (not that you slept with men anyway, it was just a semantic crutch all along).
Trust me though, if you think you might be gay, you will know. You don’t need to kiss a bunch of girls at a bar to figure it out. You know damn well there is something wrong with you. And if you have no sexual hang-ups or homophobia, you wouldn’t feel the need to go through the ‘experimentation’, ‘not quite bisexual’ phase at all. Just go be gay and kiss women.
The experimentation phase is a painful time. It shows itself when someone knows they are gay or bisexual, but isn’t ready to admit it due to internalized or externalized homophobia. People who feel like their own gayness is fine and accepted in their social groups do not tend to go through the ‘experimentation’ phase in the first place. A true experimentation phase is a painful, not fun time.
A good test is to ask yourself a few questions. If you are experimenting, do you feel any conflict? Do you feel like you are not expressing your full self? Do you think you will ever have to tell your family? Does that concern you? Do you hide your experimentation from anyone or is it a badge of honor to you?
If you answer ‘no’ to these questions or if you have ever bragged to anyone about your experimentation, it’s a very good sign that you are appropriating gay culture and gayness itself. Do I have to explain appropriation to you? No? Good.
Putting on gayness does not make you cool or sexy. Being gay may look fun to you, but being a minority is not all a basket of roses when you can’t take it off at the end of the night. When you have to listen to a family member who you thought was cool, blurt out “well at least I’m not in a gay relationship!” in the middle of an unrelated argument, it ceases to be so fun and sexy.
TL:DR If your experimentation with gayness is a fun good time for you, just fucking stop it. You are appropriating.