Not about to get on my high-horse or spend more than fifteen minutes writing about this, but the whole dialogue inspired by this “Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends” meme is a gross and quite frankly, tired example about the normative discourse surrounding gender equality with regards to LGB rights, and how that dialogue is still, unsurprisingly, cis-heteropatriarchal, and white-washed.
Some media analysts and bloggers rightfully took issue with how the original video, “Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends” took a surprisingly regressive approach for gay men seeking ways to jokingly retort to being denied marriage equality by straight men. The original video did so by affirming classist and racist stereotypes about the behaviors of gay men and their superfluous, feminine culture, trying to subvert (although wildly ineffectively) those “norms” with the intention of using those stereotypes as catalysts for social change; the idea that denying straight men with what they want—what is theirs, their property—would incite straight men to mind their own business, and concern themselves with protecting what is already “theirs,” their women. The video failed to acknowledge how treating women as tokens of exchange in fighting for marriage equality A) treats women as objects, rather than people, B) ignores the complexity of the debate of marriage equality, barring lesbian women from being implicated in the struggle for equal rights, and C) maintain and supports a binary model of gender that has historically excluded trans and gender queer people from the marriage equality movement, only furthering the historical extent to which the T and Q in LGBTQ are almost never thoughtfully acknowledged by the dominant parties of their movements.
This retort, by “Straight Men,” only adds fuel to the fire in not only failing to actually assert a political stance on the issue of gay marriage itself, but also tackling the stereotypes asserted by the first video in surprisingly mean-spirited and aggressive ways. It too furthers the notion that women are objects to be bartered between men, that they have no agency or right to demand to be treated equally in their relationships, and goes even further to deny the legitimacy of their sexuality all together, with the claim “all women are secretly lesbians.” This perpetuates the objectifying rhetoric used in the first video, denying the declarative agency of straight women to define their own sexuality as well as gay women’s right to occupy their own unique space as women. Further, in not taking any stance on the issue of gay marriage itself, this video’s incendiary rhetoric simply bolsters the claims of detractors of gay rights, affirming the negative stereotypes they have already expressed while doing nothing by way of an actual platform to distance themselves from their deeply homophobic agenda. Additionally, in doing so it simultaneously affirms every simplistic and patriarchal understanding of heteronormative masculinity ever conceived, asserting that men can be nothing more than beer drinking, emotionally inattentive, strictly sexually concerned and not at all sensitive primates, uncaring, and uninterested in their female partner’s as equals in their relationship, let alone human beings deserving of attention and care.
In other words, do better. [Steps down off of ole’ Majesty]