Hey, everybody! I’m baaaack! If you’re like me and have taken an accidentally long break from blogging but have still spent lots of time on the internet (ooooops), then you may have also noticed the recent trend of YouTube videos detailing various threats of retaliation if marriage is not legalized federally for same-sex couples. And by threats of retaliation I mean…threats of marriage.
In these reckless displays of stereotypes which have dominated our understanding of men and women since the beginning of time, we can see clearly that for every couple laughs one generalization may bring, several cringes are sure to follow. Apparently it’s hilaaaarious when gay men and women obediently fit the mold of their gender-bending stereotypes (Sassy Gay Friend, anybody?), but as soon as straight men and women lash out with their own classic stereotypes…major buzz-kill.
The story goes that somebody in a CollegeHumor board meeting had this silly idea that threatening to marry straight men’s girlfriends would make a funny equal rights video, which it did, however nauseatingly stereotypical. After all, everybody knows a gay man is a straight woman’s best friend, so why not be her husband too, right? Right? Sigh. More on that later.
First, check out the video that started it all from CollegeHumor!
But it very quickly spiraled out of control when the straight men took it VERY personally. Oh, dudes. Calm your shit. The only threat to your masculinity is your own insecurity. In an effort to “get back at” the gay guys by showing how cool and un-phased they are, the straight men ultimately succeeded only in pissing off all the straight women. And I’m sure gay guys everywhere were laughing their heads off.
Not to be left out, the lesbians then banded together to remind homophobic women with their own lesbian stereotypes that they would make much better wives for straight men. Interestingly, I couldn’t find any straight women reacting to this suggestion or showing anything other than appreciation for the support of same-sex marriage, which was obviously not a legitimate threat. Instead, they got mad at the straight men for being piss-ants and letting a harmless joke wound their pampered egos, which is understandable, because look what douches they were in their video!
Check out all these angry responses from straight women! Looks like somebody’s in the dog house…
This quickly became a Facebook argument in YouTube videos, where everybody has to throw in their two cents and it escalates way too quickly. People say things they don’t mean and get carried away by frustration over one comment and suddenly you’re left with a bunch of straight men and women who don’t even want to marry each other in the first place but instead urge gay men and lesbians to please marry each other. The irony is just too much!
I hope we can all agree that the reason this went from being funny to maddening is because people were using stereotypes about men and women as weapons to demoralize and insult them. And while some of the stereotypes are true for a few people (as is the case with all stereotypes), the rest only see ignorance and insensitivity.
The truth is, the most serious threat to the “sanctity of marriage” is the wide array of global misunderstandings about gender and the mindless abuse of gender roles and expectations. This video series just proves that. The heterosexual divorce rate is high because men have certain expectations of women and women have certain expectations of men, and that means they each have to fight against a set of gender “rules” that don’t necessarily correlate with their human identities if they want to get along with the opposite sex. The trouble is, these rules are so ingrained in our psychology that most are believed to be true, and people don’t actually fight against them. Just see how straight men and women embrace, preach, and perpetuate their own stereotypes in these videos, even as it becomes clear that the assumptions do not serve them in a positive way.
The stereotypes of men and women innately conflict with each other. Basically, the generally understood concept is that men and women have entirely incompatible mannerisms and interests but are so irresistibly attracted to each other that they can’t stay away! Opposites attract, so they say. Over the years we have spun this “romantic” tale of the classic man and the classic woman who begin by hating each others guts and wanting nothing to do with each other, but then, due to a series of conveniently dramatic situations where each are given the opportunity to display their respective feminine and masculine sides, they are drawn to each other like magnets. After a huge blow-up fight over something that is often tragically trivial and unimportant, they remember their innate incompatibility and go their separate ways, but shortly thereafter have an epiphany and return to show, usually in a few seconds and often via dramatic apology, that they are caring people deep inside. Finally, the spell of hatred is overlooked—not absolved, but overlooked—and they realize that even though it will take misery and hard work to withstand the perpetual torture of dealing with each other for the rest of their lives, it will be so worth the pain because they are madly in love. And there you have your typical romantic comedy!
This is what tears heterosexual couples apart. Not gay marriage, but the constant struggle against rules and expectations that are incompatible with harmony and loving understanding.
In Part 2 of this post, I will discuss the stereotypes that have been handed to gay men and lesbians as they begin to develop a place in society, how real homosexuals respond to those stereotypes, and the ways in which expectations affect homosexual relationships.
Until then, it’s great to be back! Sorry about the wait. I look forward to reading your comments and thoughts on these videos!