So I laughed my ass off at this blog post by this pretty lady. Her name is Tricia and she said this funny thing and I totes lol’d. In this post, I’m going to say a lot of culturally critical things. If you want to just skip the explanation and cut to the chase, ignore the next two paragraphs and start reading beneath the FedEx symbol.
Cultural criticism is defined by Wikipedia as “knowledge via interpretation to understand the meaning of human texts and symbolic expressions—including the interpretation of texts which are themselves implicitly or explicitly the interpretation of other texts. Critical social theory is, in contrast, a form of self-reflective knowledge involving both understanding and theoretical explanation to reduce entrapment in systems of domination or dependence, obeying the emancipatory interest in expanding the scope of autonomy and reducing the scope of domination.” Basically, cultural critics look at a text (advertisement, literature, picture, movie, etc.—any type of cultural product) and interprets it at its rawest, most basic form. It’s sometimes called Marxian analysis, but many cultural critics/theorists are actually not Marxist. Go figure. Also, I would like to thank feminist analysis (a distinct branch of cultural/Marxian analysis) for the particular point of view this post takes.
Bromo Say What?! knows that the bromo is intelligent and worldly and is totally fierce to boot. But bromos differ from each other widely and some may be more in tune with our culture’s ways than others. That said, BSW?! is not responsible for any words or ideas which may turn your world upside down, tear asunder your illusions, and send the sanctuary of your own ignorance crashing down around you. Initiate, you have been warned. Once your eyes have been opened, they cannot be closed… Like how when you see the arrow in the FedEx logo between the second E and the X.
So now, the blog post, which comes from Confessions of a Recovering Cynic:
I’m now accepting applications for a BFF.
The position doesn’t pay a salary, but I’ll feed you salacious bites of sexual information about my fiancé, who is hot, ripped and heavily tattooed. Pictures are a possibility.
In exchange, I’ll expect you to suggest I wear fishnet shirts and squeal with me when we gossip. If you wear plaid pants and a campy hat, that would be marvelous.
I mean, it’s satire, so all you critical analysis scholars shouldn’t take it too seriously. (Seriously, Tricia’s cool–check out her stuff.) Anyway, Tricia plays on the heteronormative hierarchy that places heterosexuality in the position of agent and the bromo as child or pet. Women, who are in the societal hierarchy beneath men, are above gay men in this hierarchy on the basis of sexual orientation (I won’t get into race/ethnicity/etc. but you get the idea). In this instance, Tricia takes on the role of a human looking to replace a pet because it ran away. She fondly remembers her last gay BFF’s affection and wants to replace it with another’s just like it. And like I emphasized, it’s a role, meaning that the world is a stage and we play different parts in whatever production of society we find ourselves in at any given moment.
Bromos, I daresay, enjoy playing the role of gay pet from time to time. This isn’t always true, and sometimes the bromo, claiming his position as a man, is the dominant force in the gay man/straight woman relationship, and then you have, in direct contrast to the gay pet relation, the fag hag or fruit fly relationship. BSW?! wouldn’t be complete without an entry on that relationship, so I’ll hop right to it soon, but in a nut shell, the gay man is the one who keeps the straight woman around as an auxiliary who isn’t a part of the gay pack. I point this out to ask bromos to remain gentle and not be so high and mighty in case this post incites ideological violence against the straight woman/gay pet relationship. It’s not harmful if both people gain mutual benefit.
My theory, especially for effeminate men (upcoming post: Why Bromos Support Effeminate Men and the Reason Straight Men Can’t Live Without Them) is that they are drawn to strong women who exude confidence and authority (read: that’s why we love us some divas). Not falling into the abusive dichotomous relationship in society of being mandated to play the masculine role and denying ourselves the ability to explore the feminine, bromos dare to admire and lift the heterosexual woman in society by
selflessly helping her choose clothes for the party giving proper respect where it is due—and respect for women in society is long overdue.
It is this respect for women, sometimes to the point of imitation, which I think many young boys who don’t play sports or engage in traditionally male activities turn to suicide to correct. As they are unable to cope with the pressure and ultimately find peace in death—something BSW desires to fight with all its being—they deny the world their light, creativity and beauty. Yes, I do think American society, for all the freedom it preaches (operative word, preaches) is the number one killer behind lgbt individuals, behind discrimination and hate crimes—both of which are bountiful in American culture. (Upcoming post: The Challenges Transgendered People Face; possibly an interview—SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL OR LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE FOR UPDATES! Both options are on the sidebar to the right of this page!!)
Another theory I have about the straight female/pet gay comes straight (lmao) from the societal hierarchy and the recognition of it. The straight woman and bromo are both aware that there is a ladder and that neither of them are privileged enough to be at the top because they are not heterosexual males (upper class and white/European descent being excluded from the example due to the fact that I do not know the specific class status or race/ethnicity of the reader and I seek to reach a broad audience while some of these markers only apply to the West and then to the United States; this exclusion, I recognize, marginalizes the experiences of people of color—another culturally disenfranchised group). That said, because they recognize their lower status, they find comfort and belonging in their similarities as being parts of marginalized groups and band together to withstand the waves of cultural appropriation that demand them see things from the point of view of the heterosexual male.
Below I’ve put two images that show what the gay BFF is expected to be. I’m just going to take it critic style for a second to explain these images (I haven’t done this since first semester of Junior year! So much fun!)
In this image depicting Jack and Karen from TV’s Will & Grace, Karen displays power by sitting upright and showing control over her emotions. Her straight back and upright position exudes confidence and self reliance and, by extension, control over her surroundings (Jack included). Jack, on the other hand, reclines in a leisurely fashion and responds to Karen with a some sort of positive emotion (joy? humor?) and points, as if to pay homage. He is in a position that is less powerful, in that if someone attacked right then, he would be less able to protect himself than Karen would be. Even their clothing suggest dominance and submissiveness, for Karen is in formal attire that allows her to travel freely through the public sphere, as opposed to Jack, who wears pajams. It would appear that he is sick, for he’s got a blanket covering him and a bowl of what I presume to be soup at his side, but even his supposed illness is less priveleged than Karen’s healthy disposition.
And those earrings are fierce! The earrings she wears also point to a position of wealth (and she is extremely wealthy) over Jack’s unadorned ears (or anything else). She is bisexual, but I honestly feel that in the show, that is an auxiliary part of her identity.
In this image depicting Wilhelmina Slater and Marc St. James from Ugly Betty, the same tropes from the Jack/Karen image apply more or less. It goes to say that Will & Grace helped to pave the way for gay characters to appear favorably in the medium of television, and the Jack/Karen way of portraying straight women and gay mean is extremely popular and profitable. Anyawy, in the image, Wilhelmina is showing more constraint, and more poise. Even though she is wearing clothing made for women and Marc wears clothing meant for men (read: women’s clothing is seen to show inferiority while the men’s suit stereotypically exudes authority) the solid color of the garments versus Marc’s slew of color speaks volumes in how it appears. They both look into the distance over the camera, but Marc holds himself as if anything in the environment can affect him whereas Wilhelmina’s body posture, though leaning forward (not slouched), is predatory in nature, as if she can take on any threat that came her way head on.
This image differs from Jack/Karen in that Wilhelmina is African-American (you couldn’t tell). It puts the hierarchy into limbo considering whiteness is more privileged than blackness, and yet, heterosexuality is more privileged than homosexuality. If they were equal in terms of power and up for a promotion, who’s merit would account for more if their ethnicities and sexualities were examined? An Afro-American heterosxual woman or a white homosexual man? Oppression Olympic judges might note that Wilhelmina has two strikes against her (race and gender) whereas Marc only has one (sexual orientation). Which leads to the question: Are they in a place like Atlanta, Georgia (with a Black majority and a fair amount of Black influence) or Seattle, Washington?
Another post you can check out is Betches Love This: #52 The Gay BFF.
The most amazing trait of the gay bestie is that they LOVE drama and always have way more scandalous stories than you, which makes [the betch] feel like less of a slut. You suddenly feel better about having sex with three different guys last weekend when your gay bestie informs you he just had a threesome in the Equinox bathroom this morning.
This site, in a way stronger than Tricia, cultivates the bromo as a pet gay, but also allows him the agency to do what he wants. The reason for this is because the betch, as described on the blog, is a fiercely independent and slightly amoral individual, and expects the same of all of the associates the she does not keep around for the sake of manipulation. The betch, they posit, is always going to be on top and is always going to win at everything (because they’re competitive as shit), but the bromo has the ability to rise to glory in the same way—if he’s betchy enough, that is.
Also, please note that THAT ENTIRE SITE IS SATIRICAL, so don’t be heckling the betches who run it about how they’re so misguided and whatnot. Or do, I suppose, if you are not a fan of ironic cultural criticism or the negative media effects that satire inevitably produces.
To conclude the post after all of this, I don’t think it’s wrong to take a submissive role. If a bromo has a strong-willed gal pal and he feels more at ease cuddling up to her and letting her make decisions as he admire her strength, it does not mean the bromo is being abused or dehumanized. It becomes a problem when the woman legitimately believes that all gay men are the same, or are only good for giving compliments or choosing her spring color palate.
Also, don’t not enjoy a wall of text, picture, movie, etc. because you recognize the trope being played out. It happens in real life and sometimes the text is merely making an observation, not pigeonholing all gays into a singular type. But bromos do reserve the right to criticize the hell out of it—after all, gays are catty bitches, right? 😉 Maybe, for the sake of empowerment, I’ll write a post about how we can use the way straight society sees us as a power play.
NOTE: This post was NOT supposed to become a thesis. I meant to just talk up this blog post I read and enjoyed the other day. You guys know I like to keep things light, but I guess even I get hot and heavy at times. I’ve got needs too damnit!
You can’t just come over, take me, and expect me to be happy with the arrangement! On that note, have a great day! 😀
Also, once again, don’t be hatin’ on Tricia! Her post amused me, I hope it entertains you as well. Oh, and she’s awesome! She’s at www.tershbango.blogspot.com and I hope you find something you like there!