Monday, February 22, 2010

Johnny Weir Elicits Mysogynist Comments from Canadian Journalists:---A Monday Journal

A couple of days ago, I found an article about two sportscasters in Montreal who made what could kindly be called politically incorrect statements about American Olympic Figure skater Johnny Weir.  You can read the brief article by clicking this link.  Below is a brief excerpt:

The remarks came during an RDS (a Montreal French-language sports channel) Olympic broadcast of the men's figure skating competition.

(Veteran sportscaster) Claude Mailhot, a former provincial assistant deputy minister, and (veteran sportscaster) Alain Goldberg, were discussing the skating of Johnny Weir, the flamboyant 23-year-old and three -time U.S. champion .
"This may not be politically correct," Mailhot said during the segment, in which Weir, who is known for his extravagant performances and fashion flair, was shown sporting a semi-sheer, pink-and-black costume he designed himself.
"But do you think he lost points due to his costume and his body language?"

Goldberg replied that Weir's feminine style may reflect badly on other male figure skaters.

"They'll think all the boys who skate will end up like him," he said. "It sets a bad example."

Homophobic, yes.  But at the root of it is, I think, an even more troubling attitude that is so ingrained in many cultures that it would seem impossible to eradicate it even after generations: sexism.

Gender roles and behaviors are so ingrained into a culture...the reasons why many are uncomfortable with effeminate men are complex. In essence it involves long-held biases against women... and the things that a culture holds in high esteem.
If we lived in a matriarchal society it might be different. As it is, we instinctively react with distaste to feminine men because we don't value so-called feminine qualities, preferring traditionally "masculine" characteristics, like strength. (That's why men typically are not so offended by women who behave in more acceptably masculine fashion.)
Maybe these are based on some kind of instinct for survival...I need to read more....
We automatically expect a certain mode of speech, movement, dress, etc., and resent those that breach the "unspoken" social contract. In some cultures, anyway, it is especially difficult on those for whom "gentle" characteristics come naturally....
On the other hand, there is a reaction against affectation, too, which is easier to understand.... in other words, a studied attempt by some gay men to assume the characteristics of the opposite gender as a signal of one's sexual preference, meant as an affront, or a show of some kind of superiority, and that raises people's ire. Often that is the point... Often it is a defense mechanism, which is misinterpreted by the mainstream.
It is complicated, and tangled.  It's also a little pathetic and laughable, the idea that young males can be "influenced" into a sexual preference.  Like Harvey Milk had once said during a public discussion of whether gay teachers could "turn" students gay, if teachers had that kind of influence, then Catholic schools would be churning out a whole lot more nuns.
I have simplified all of this.  But it makes sense to me that aversion to effeminacy is a cultural aversion to female characteristics.  Maybe by looking deep into oneself and acknowledging this possibility, it might be easier to see a photo like this without having an instictive uncomfortable reaction.  Then it becomes easier to accept others openly and without resentment, fear, or malice.

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