Monday, October 24, 2011


In the '50s and even '60s, it was still fun to be a heterosexual. You were part of a group. The guys watched football and maintained a double standard in which they worshipped or defiled the opposite sex depending on whether they were courting their ideal or preying upon unreciprocated love. On the distaff side there were a complementary set of affects, not so much having to do with the dichotomy between romance and lust as with the notions of beauty and femininity. Two of JFK’s love objects were thus Jackie, a lady, and Marilyn, a siren. Then the pendulum shifted and it became more fun to be gay. After Stonewall, gay people came out of the closet in droves and wreaked vengeance against their  tormentors. Now it was not only fun to flaunt and turn images of what it meant to be male or female upside down, it was a cause. Sexuality was not merely a matter of desire, but of rights, and so a whole class of gay and lesbian people who’d had to hide their inclinations fought for the right to be legally married (and call their male partner “wife” or their female partner “husband”) and join the military. Male heterosexuals were literally left walking away with their tails, or penises, between their legs, for masculinity, at least in its heterosexual form, was troubled and impotence was on the rise. If only impotence and loss of desire were a cause, some guys might have been able to walk away with shit-eating grins. But now the troubled heterosexual was in the position of the still-closeted homosexual of the '50s. Our new all-American male had something to hide. And how did  the post feminist heterosexual female fit into the picture? (To be continued.)

[This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.]

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