Pieter Tolsma and George K. Gramer, Jr. weigh in on this week’s question.
The media has a tough time portraying masculinity and femininity in ways that are not cliché. Part of this is due, perhaps, to insecurities around gender expression for all of us, regardless of orientation. Unfortunately, femininity seems to be written off as a bad thing because the media tends to be male-dominated and masculinity-obsessed. Femininity is considered a weakness by both heterosexual and homosexual males and gets parodied as such.
Presentations of femininity in modern media are limited to gay men in drag behaving badly and heterosexual women dressed to the nines only to cut each other down trying to get the last jab. It’s reduced to shows about gay men snapping and “throwing shade” and looking for femininity in model-hunting programs where the winner is validated according her looks with little consideration of her character content. Femininity, when viewed through modern media, seems just an excuse to look fabulous and be a bitch. Glamorizing this notion might be seen as empowering to some, but it only serves to make femininity a dysfunctional stereotype. If this continues, femininity will continue to be maligned and viewed as unnecessary weakness while masculinity will continue to be portrayed as the powerful norm.
Pieter Tolsma is program coordinator of Denver PIQUE, a sexual health and social support program for gay/bi men in Denver.
George K. Gramer, Jr.
ace it: The 2014 media in our country distorts almost every issue. They are focused on ratings, advertising revenue, sensationalism, and more than just occasionally, a political agenda.
There are thousands of beautiful, feminine lesbians in our world, yet to look at the media, you would think all lesbians are grossly overweight, have tattoos, cropped hair, and ride Harleys. And that is not to say that those women are not feminine or beautiful – they don’t fit the beautiful-feminine stereotype Americans hold. George Clooney is not engaged to a grossly overweight, tattooed, cropped hair, Harley-
All of us – regardless of our gender preference – were created by God as beautiful people. All of us – straight, gay, young, old, liberal, conservative, or whatever. We were created by God as beautiful people. I accept that as truth – important truth in my personal life.
Yet the media always seems to focus on the sensational and not the non-sensational. What do you think The Denver Post will use as photos on Pride Fest weekend? They – as all profit-making media – will focus on the fringes and not on the norms. Feminine women (and feminine men) deserve better.
Iowa native George Gramer, Jr. is the president of the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans.