Friday, 3 February 2012

Campy Little Queen...

Campy Little Queen...

Picture it, if you will, 1964, Sicily... No, that's an opening line from another drama, I couldn't never dare attempt to copy. But let's try this again.
A few days back whilst on my lunch, in a lovely cafe, serving super lovely food, by super lovely looking waiters - one to be exact, upon which my eye was focused, I had an interesting thought.

Now let's not immediately let our minds wander directly to the gutter, but rather a rather fascinating place of self discovery - (I did say we would try stay out of the gutter).
After allowing myself a moment of visual dessert and letting my eye appreciate his wonder, I happened on noticing his body language.

One hand on hip, hip slightly cocked, the other hand - wrist flailing, posturing for the 'perfect' camp position, when I thought - Wow, he's a camp little queen. And then it dawned on me. Not in a rapturous, angels singing kinda way, but rather a 'hang on you little hyprocrite' let's be careful with what label's we're throwing about, we never know what may stick' kinda way. It lead me to think - Is this young man merely perpetuating a stereotype, or is it an identity he's been forced to adopt, by societal expectations in order to fit in.

Stereotypes - Self defined, or societally inflicted?

A stereotype, as defined by the Oracle, which is Wikipedia (yeah - we believe everything right?) is:
A popular belief about a group of individuals - Stereotypes are standardised and simplified conceptions of groups based on some prior assumptions.

So, if a stereotype is based on thoughts derived from previous assumptions, who is making these previous assumptions, and how is it being manifested or internalised?

We could all probably list a few stereotype examples right off the bat, if asked. Like, oh all white guys can't dance, and all black men are hung like donkeys - (leave the gutter people, leave the gutter)And for those of you, not in the know - A few popular gay stereotypes are exist, things like 'All gays love Kylie (well they should...), gay men are all effeminate, gay men are all promiscuous, gay men are all into beauty products (really, they should be) etc etc. The lists goes on, and in the end, it looks like all gay men listen to Kylie, whilst applying their product, before their 3rd date for the night, matching their glitter with their pearls.
Blah - Wrong.

But, it lead me to start thinking, and as the example of the lovely waiter suggested, that perhaps gay men have some how internalised these stereotypes, and perhaps unknowingly (or knowingly) have purposely started perpetuating them for a greater ease in their lives. Was this young man a campy little queen, or was he merely acting like one because it felt comfortable, and easy in a 'camp surrounding?'
The wheels in my brain just kept on a ticking.... tick tick tick tick tick - pay bill, leave, be late back to work.

Are stereotypes real? - This depends on how we are interpreting 'real' - real as in do they exist? Yes, they do. Are they correct - not necessarily.
As a young gay man, as much as I may not like to admit this - I do fall into some pretty broad gay stereotypical terms
I am: 'into beauty products - gotta pay the bills honey'
A Kylie. Madonna. And Gaga fan - Jesus, the mind fight is still on going, onto who is queen
A lil bit sassy/bitchy when I gotta be - Yes I fully acknowledge this one, dear friends that are reading/laughing/smirking.
Effeminate - when I switch it on, and turn the 'camp dial' from 'Off  - OMG, can you say QUEEEEN'

But as much as I admit to these, the vast majority of strangers fail to recognise my homosexuality immediately (stop laughing friends) - which then leads to start thinking, so I'm 'straight acting'- But why am I 'straight acting' - is it because I don't want to be judged and its easier to 'blend in'?

I do feel like I have a tendency to ask alot of questions? LOL

So as a gay collective, have we internalised stereotypical thinking because it's been put out there by 'straight society' which controls the media etc, or are these stereotypes around because they're true, and we've made them a part of who we are - perhaps a self defence mechanism?
Its a very difficult question to answer - and I'm not sure if I am at a definitive place on this one yet?

Speaking to friends/colleagues/family, the general consensus seems to be that we hate stereotypes, but that they are very easily being perpetuated and continued. This is for a variety of factors - acceptance, acting, misunderstanding, poor choices etc. But on the whole, there seems to be a negative connotation with stereotypical living - but perhaps that in its own right is a stereotypical thought process by a group of people struggling with self identity?

Was it fair to label this young man a campy little queen? Probably not.
Do I still think he is a queen - absolutely.
Is this wrong? - Most definitely.
Does it change my thought process? - No.

Can I answer this broader thought process? Not right now.
What are your thoughts?

What I am however, trying to do is to limit the way I accept stereotypes and to look further and perhaps deeper at an individual to understand who they really are.
Sure as hell, does make people watching fascinating.

Leave me thoughts/comments/etc on this matter.

I'd love to know what you think?

New Stereotype: Craig is pretty damn fabulous, but asks to many questions and has too few answers :)

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