Wednesday, June 27, 2007

gay eyes!!!

ok the hiatus is over. transitioning from "college" to "hobo" was a little rough, so i had to take a break from internet. now i'm back, and i'm ready to talk about one of the most fascinating topics ever written about: gay eyes.

but before i go into that, the inspiration for this post: stephen colbert's guest tonight on the colbert report was david france, author of a recent article in the new york magazine entitled "the science of gaydar." now i got excited because i heard the word "gaydar," but i was rather disappointed. clearly he never took a wgs class. well, i've only taken one so maybe i shouldn't talk, but i still managed to see several huge problems in his "argument." according to france, there are certain physical characteristics that statistically belong to gay people. and what he actually means by that is that there are certain physical characteristics we associate with masculinity, and certain female characteristics we associate with femininity. straight females and gay males are feminine. straight males and lesbians are masculine. except he takes seven pages to say it. he talks about the length of your index finger, the direction your hair "whorls," and other such fascinating physical characteristics. i found it, needless to say, problematic. he seems to be missing several entire points. the most obvious of those being that gender and sexual preference are not the same thing. a woman can be "more masculine" and be attracted to men. shocking, i know. it also seems like a fairly obvious research gap that he clearly did not run any tests on the billions upon billions (and that's an exact number) of gay and possibly gay people who either can't, won't, or haven't admitted their gayness yet.

"some of the work has been derided as modern-day phrenology," france writes. really? i wonder why.

his intentions are what i guess one could qualify as "good." he's using this "science" to prove that homosexuality is genetic, not a choice, because he thinks that with the power of science behind it, gay people can gain a solid defense against the "lifestyle choice" argument. aside from the fact that it's nothing but a reaction to conservative rhetoric, i guess its an alright idea. except that i shouldn't need to prove that i was born gay to have rights. but that's a minor detail, right?

i won't go into all the various problematic things said in the piece (lesbians really are a lot like men, but wait, female sexuality is just a myth anyways), but i will say that it reminded me how ridiculously idiotic our society can be when it comes to gender. this man talks about androgyny as if he can spell it. i'm not even sure i can spell it. but i'm pretty sure he's confused. and he's not the only one. our society seems to conflate gender and sexuality on a regular basis, and in very problematic ways. i mean i'll be the first to admit that i love watching people on the street and picking out the androgynous ones as potential gays (i like to call that the gay face). i notice girls on the street who dress more boyish and take a second look to decide if i think they're gay. yes. in our society a lot of gay people perform their identity through playing with traditional gender roles. but that's not biology. and its dangerous to think of it like that. sure i notice people on the street who "seem gay" because of the way they choose to perform their gender. but that's not how you actually tell if someone IS gay. if you must know the secret, it's all in the eyes. although i think i'll save that for a later lesson. you've got to have a reason to come back, after all.

anyways, the basic point in case you skimmed is this: that dude david france is a bit of an idiot. i'm not going to come out (no pun intended?) on either side of the whole "its a choice" "you're born with it" debate here because the point is that if you're just going to argue one side or the other for a political reason, you're going to end up doing a lot more harm than good. i hardly think being able to yell "i didn't choose to be gay" at a homophobic politician is worth the damage of telling the whole world that lesbianism=masculinity and that gay men have more feelings than straight men. but what do i know? i'm gay. i should stop writing on this blog and go buy some power tools.


kidbonita said...

i really want to know about this whole thing with the eyes....and what power tools are you going to buy? i could really use a dremel grinder for my sculpture.

Brittany said...

you are hilarious, this is why I love you.

wannatakethisoutside said...

Dear Kaya,

I love you.

Lori said...

brilliance!! you're so on point. keep writing and ill keep reading :-)

icarus said...

icarus said...

(did that work?)
if not, Google "gay straight walks lights" and it's the second hit.

icarus said...

ps. i want a power tool too. a pink one. with sparkles.