Page 268 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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248                                     Jack Fritscher, Ph.D.
            prefix from the Greek meaning “the same” and not from the Latin noun
              meaning “man.” (Priests began teaching me Latin and Greek as a fresh-
            man in high school, and what happens to a boy when he is fourteen marks
            him forever.) Homomasculinity, therefore, is as Williams mentions of the
            words he examined, one of those words that forces itself on our attention,
            because the problems of its meaning seem “inextricably bound up with
            the problems it was being used to discuss.” This linguistic bondage of
            meaning and problem is the “good cholesterol” and the “bad cholesterol”
            of keywords.
               Homomasculinity and its sibling words leather and bear (which are
            categories more than synonyms) were detached from macho and butch
            even before macho went straight and butch went lesbian. In the pop-cul-
            ture genesis and use of homomasculinity, the word is an apolitical identity
            category of non-hegemonic masculinity that allows men’s bodies to shape
            esthetic, erotic, and social vocabulary, delving behind the “Number One
            Keyword” used in gay personals ads to apply to the advertiser and to his
            quarry: straight-acting. Like it or not, the statistical truth — revealed by
            marketing and personals ads that do not lie — is that straight-acting is the
            main unit of erotic measure for many millions of gay men.
               Homomasculinity, leather, and bear (all of which led to the Insta-
            matic flash coinages of daddy and boy in Drummer) actually “flesh out”
            the masculine-identified diversity behind this enormous gay demand for
            “straight-acting” and “straight-appearing.” Not to pull back the Wizard’s
            emerald curtain, but it might be a revelation to point out that most bears
            are middle-class gay men who travel in packs to conventions and resorts,
            and that their middle-class “bear lust” romanticizing blue-collar work-
            ing men is the same as the lust that the upper-crust has always had for
            working-class sexuality. (See the “T. S. Eliot” drawings of homomasculine
            artists Domino and Rex who celebrate “restless nights in one-night cheap
            hotels,” toilets, and filling stations.)
               Homomasculinity  seeks the pure heart of the archetypal best that
            males do, not the stereotypical worst. Homomasculinity taken to extremes
            is hyper-masculinity. Once embodied in right-wing Hollywood cowboy
            John Wayne, that hyper-masculine exaggeration of an actual cowboy is
            the affected bowlegged walk, sneering southern drawl, and fetish gear of
            George W. Bush cloned like a “Gay Bill Doll” action figure in cowboy
            hats and flight suits on the deck of an aircraft carrier with his keywords
            “Mission Accomplished” painted on a banner three stories tall.
               Homomasculinity, leather, and bear, firstly, are apolitical and arche-
            typal expressions of the embodied masculine realities of gay men keyed
            to how male bodies have emerged within homosexuality — our bodies,
            our selves, our destiny — to celebrate (that is, fetishize) male secondary

          ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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