This week, someone that I love very much said the following to me: “I’m not saying that I don’t like gays, I’m just saying that I’m tired of them rubbing their sexuality in our faces with their gay music, movies, shows and books.’’ This person is actually someone who tries really hard to understand and who cares, but it was still frustrating to hear them say something so blatantly wrong. However, I thought this was a nice opportunity to explain to my straight readers why this idea is incorrect.
We live in a world where heteronormativity reigns. It is everywhere in the media. Being straight is the “default’’. Look at all your favorite romances; chances are that at least 90% of them are straight couples. If not all of them. Now, think about the few gay ones out there. Are they any different from the straight ones? Well, yes, usually the main character has to come out as gay. There is that whole struggle and then, instead of it being a boy and a girl, it's a boy and a boy or a girl and a girl. But, other than that, it's pretty much the same story. Person A meets Person B, they fall in love and live happily ever after. So, why should you care if it’s gay or straight?
Do you remember a while back when people were saying the only black characters in the media were always poorly portrayed or the ones who got shot? Well, it's kind of the same with LGBTQ+ characters. They are often the side characters that no one cares about. Look back at Harry Potter. Did you know that J.K. Rowling considered Dumbledore as gay? No? Well, no big surprise there because there was nothing there to show that he was. This is just one example of thousands that shows that there is no real representation in the media for queer people. What we do have is often queerbaiting and tragic stories. Let us have main characters and happy endings for a change! It’s 2018, for fuck’s sake! Not 1950.
There isn't all that much representation for the LGBTQ+ community out there.Yes, there is more and more, but seriously we are not rubbing our sexuality in people’s faces, we are embracing who we are. And if you think that that is what we are trying to do, then look at all the representation straight people have in the media. Now think of this: Who is really trying to shove their sexuality in who’s face?
Once I was riding the metro to meet up with some of my friends and I saw this straight couple kissing and practically eating each other’s faces off. Right beside them were two girls lightly pecking, whispering in each other’s ears and giggling. Now, I hate public displays of affection (PDA). It makes me feel very uncomfortable and so, under my breath, I said: “ugh get a room.” The lady sitting beside me heard and added: “I know, right. It's like they’re trying to rub the fact that they’re gay right in our faces. We don’t care! Leave us alone, for fuck’s sake!” I was so insulted. I looked at her and told her the following: “You think they are rubbing their sexuality in our faces, but they are being discreet. No, I'm not happy with it because I dislike PDA, but at least they don’t look like Romeo and Juliet over there who are groping each other while eating their faces off. If you ask me, they are really the ones who are rubbing their sexuality in our faces!” I don't think I had ever been this mad, but I can tell you both couples heard me, the PDA stopped and the lady left.
Now, I'm not saying being straight is wrong and that there should be no representation of them, I’m just saying that heteronormativity is not a good thing. I believe there should be no default. You should grow up without anyone assuming if you are straight or gay, and when you figure out who you like, you would then tell people. That way everyone, no matter their gender or sexuality, would have to come out.
I want to talk about St-Valentine's day, which is a day for love and friendship… And bullshit.
“Oh! but Jess, you’re single. Of course you don't like St-Valentine's day!” Well, have I got news for everyone who has ever said that to me: I've always loved St-Valentine's day. I hate the concept, but I love the evil genius work that is put into it.
Think about it: St-Valentine's day is great for companies. It allows them to thrive in a period that would normally be low on sales. People and wallets are still recuperating from the holidays. And... Bam! Time for us to remind lovers that they have to need to show each other that they really do love each other: Buy her a chocolate and some roses! Buy some nice lingerie and show them off to him tonight! And if you’re single, well don't worry! Ice cream and booze are on sale too, so you can hate yourself until all these hearts are gone!
It's genius, and maybe it does suck for all us single people, but it gives the store where I work money and it gives me a job. I can't complain on that part.
Furthermore, although this holiday is getting slowly more LGBTQ+ friendly, I do still believe it's purely straight at its core - just look at all the advertising. Don't get me wrong, I love my straight friends, but I'm getting tired of the lack of representation.
The other week, I was scrolling through my tumblr page with my friend Gay Wolf and she rephrased a post she had seen: “Why don’t wedding dress shops use lesbians in their advertisements? It would be an opportunity to show off two dresses instead of just one.” This is brilliant. I've heard of people getting married on that day just for the romantic aspect of it, so why not advertise more LGBTQ+ things on that day and increase your target audience? Did you know they run chick flicks on at least 10 different channels all day on St-Valentine's day? So why not throw a few gay ones in there? And not just a sidekick. Wouldn't that be great?
I have studied in graphic design, so everything to do with advertising has always appealed to me. This is one of the reasons I love St-Valentine's day. It is simply designed to get money in the pockets businessmen. The whole day is one big ad. But we really need to try and make this day way more gay, or I might just go insane when my mom turns on the TV and plays chick flick after chick flick after chick flick...
Even though it's not the gayest of holidays (yet), have a great St-Valentine's Day!
Leaving you with cute slideshow of gay weddings... Enjoy :)