Man, I love how you love you a man

February 8, 2010

At the pre-Berlin cast and crew screening of THE OWLS Friday night, I was talking with my friend, fellow filmmaker and Pitzer professor, Silas Howard, who has recently transitioned, and reports that he often now successfully passes. I asked him for some secrets he has learned as a newly-male among men, and his most interesting find was that they are all really gay together when women are not around. Glad to have this confirmed, but it was something I already knew: a founding principle of both my early queer and feminist educations. Eve Sedgwick was my professor of women and gender studies in a college that proved the very cradle of male-homosociality (Amherst—just gone co-ed—boo-yah!) teaching us co-eds about the ways that men used women to legitimize their more abiding desire to see and love each other.

Hey, I’ve always loved men, too—straight, gay, no matter—and I’m as open to stories of men-loving-men as the next gal…I’ve written elsewhere about Fight Club and South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut as feminist films (in their radical willingness to unmoor sex from gender), but I reasoned that the misogyny (and homophobia) underwriting their dystopic worlds-of-men under-cut any feminist gains allowed. I’d say that in our current cinema, for instance, I Love You Man, feminist-influenced gender play continues (for men, who can work on their “feminine” sides: Chocolat anyone?) and the hatred even seems softer (for women who are so dull, listless, boring, and benign how could you feel anything at all for them, least of all an emotion with political chops) but is ultimately of no less concern. I actually like many of the current spate of juvenile male homosocial bonding orgies as much as any person who likes men might: their boy-men-leads prove to be hot, funny, and complexly gendered humans on sophisticated quests for sex, comraderie, family, love, and identity; too bad this is best satisfied in a movie world where men greedily colonize for themselves all that is best in women, leaving females as unnecessary, unfunny, uninteresting half-humans any sane person would choose to disregard, at least in relation to loving a man.

6 Responses to “Man, I love how you love you a man”

  1. Ana Thorne Says:

    I’m so happy to see in print that all men are really gay at heart. I’ve been telling my girlfriends that for years, but no one believes me. I’m going to direct them all to this blog.

  2. Love this, thanks for articulating my sentiments exactly! Aren’t we all a little gay at heart, in one way or another? 🙂 There is so much focus on categorizations like homo, hetero, bi, trans, but what about “uni-sexual” (and I’m not referring to co-eds). One big happy sexual family…


  3. sender Says:

    Eh. I’ve heard that “all men are really gay at heart.” In the circumstances it was said, the woman saying it was using the word “gay” as a cudgel. Her husband was spending too much time with his friends; lol wut a fag.

    That’s actually exactly why the escapism implicit in these movies’ depiction of homosociality rings so true to me, even if I mostly don’t enjoy the movies. Hetero women often judge men in clueless and alienating ways. Of course, it’s hard to judge categorically and also fairly, and it’s harder still when you have various emotional interests vested; one cannot hold this fact against women, not even when it happens constantly and in toxic amounts. But the occasional, irrational expression of escapism? Healthy and normal.

  4. MP:me Says:

    I have nothing against men loving men as an escape, or anybody loving anybody. Need escape be at the expense of another is really my question (or THE other: women)?

  5. sender Says:

    Yes, the motivation to escape is necessarily to escape from something.

    Sometimes, people weary of the friction and imbroglio of sexuality seek out asexual environments in which to cool off. One can certainly make platonic friends with the opposite sex, but at the same time, few would blame a woman who relies on her girlfriends because she can’t always find that, or finds that it doesn’t suit the moment. Give us the benefit of the same doubt.

  6. […] of male friendship. Some feminists are frankly hostile on the topic of homosociality; others are anxious about its exclusionary implications. For my part, I have long detected what seemed like a […]

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