Yesterday I wrote a post about a gay rights ad created to increase awareness during the Olympics. I was kind of sad to see so many people didn't seem to understand the inherent homophobia in the reaction to the ad by the American two-man luge team. I think an important point has been missed and I would like to expand on it.
It's important to note that there are two concepts at play here. First is the culture that strips gays men of their masculinity, relegates them to woman status and then uses that premise to chastise other men for not being 'manly' enough. Example conversations:
Guy 1: (does/says something not stereotypically masculine)
Guy 2 : Hurr Hurr, you're so gay!
Guy 1: Am not! Fuck you! No homo!
Both of these guys are expressing homophobia here. Sexism too. I think we can all agree on that.
That's very different though, from the message the ad sends. The ad is pointing out the inherent homo-eroticism in some aspects of sports and states that the games have always been a little bit gay based on that fact. Which is true, it's just a fact. Gay men and women are going to see the inherently sexual aspects of some sports and find that sexy. Pointing that out is not at all the same as saying what Guy 2 says in the above example.
I originally thought to myself that straight people might understand this better if there were such a thing as mixed gender sports but I quickly realized that there are tons of examples of straight people noticing the inherent sexiness on display in many sports. Straight women talking about the bodies of professional athletes is such a thing. Jezebel used to have an entire feature called 'Thighlights' for instance. I have never once heard anyone claiming that the feature made soccer players feel 'picked on'. They complained that it was sexist, sure, and that perhaps women shouldn't be mimicking male objectification behavior, but not that it made athletes feel picked on or that it was mean. No one has ever argued that as far as I have ever heard.
It's a well known trope that straight men find many women's sports sexy. Of course they do, I do too, I'm a gay woman, I get turned on by women and I see the inherent eroticism. Is women's wrestling only homo-erotic when I watch it? Otherwise it's just erotic and that's fine by straight society?
Complaining that people find sports sexy is not a thing that happens. Only complaining that gay people find a sports sexy is a thing that happens. Once gay people are involved suddenly people feel 'picked on'. That is where I see the homophobia in the lugers reaction and complaints. It is as if they think the ad is Guy 2 and they are Guy 1, and that's just a homophobic way to look at it. I have a very hard time believing that if some straight women started a blog with the same kind of sexy videos of lugers we would be hearing any complaints.