Sniffing bottled you again

[Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown On A Bad Bet (Does Your Husband Know?) – Fall Out Boy]

So here’s an unpopular opinion that I only recently came to start mulling over: why bother fighting for gay marriage?

Aaaaand elaboration.

Most of my arguments here will be based on reading of Michael Warner’s The Trouble With Normal (The Free Press, 1999), especially Chapter 3: ‘Beyond Gay Marriage’. Yes, it came as a result of my paper for Sex and the Screen, and I might be reiterating many of my arguments from the paper, but at least here I’m not restricted from rambling.

To very much summarize Warner’s points, the crux of the argument is that marriage itself is an exclusive and discriminatory institution – that it exists purely because it needs something to be compared against. By having a “married” status, there is automatically a “not married” status, because otherwise what separates a married couple from an unmarried? So, right now there is much campaigning for equal rights, such as the right to marry for gays, but Warner points out that if these campaigns were ever met, another group of “unmarried” would appear to contrast the new “gay and married”.

And then we’d go through it all over again. Equal rights for the “new gay”! Maybe they’re sexual dissidents; standing outside of whatever the new sexual norm is – maybe they like tying each other up. And why does that make them illegible for marriage? They can tie each other up in the privacy of their own home, they’re consenting, right? It’s not like they’re tying you up or teaching your kids how to tie each other up. Every year they’ll have a pride march where all these people who are tied up roll down the street, and they’ll pass by the front lawn of this lovely and upstanding lesbian couple, who would subtly try to cover their sperm-donor kid’s eyes because they’re secretly ashamed of what society has become these days. Ugh, can you believe that my child’s teacher was caught with bondage equipment in the trunk of his car? Parked in the very carpark that Jimmy walks through! The nerve!

So right now we’re all fighting for equality – to be equal, or the same, as all these lucky heterosexual people. We’re trying so freaking hard to clamber onto that same step so that we can see the same view and have the same tax breaks, but boy is that step small; boy is that step a fragile and, well, intangible ideal. The very institution of that little step will be destroyed if we let too many people step on it, so we can’t possibly let everyone step on it – someone has to be left on a lower landing so that we can look down at them and say, hey, you should probably try to reach where we are because up here it’s so much better.

Is it really better up there? You look down at your feet and realize that you’re not actually standing on a step, you’re standing on the expense of someone else.

Wow, you’re wearing a ring on your left ring-finger, when did you get married?
Oh, no, I just like wearing a ring on this finger.
Hmm, maybe you should change fingers, after all, we don’t want someone to think you’ve achieved a right when really you haven’t.
But I just like wearing this ring on this finger, my girlfriend gave it to me and I like it.
Oh, so you’re gay? You really shouldn’t wear the ring there, then, lest someone mistakes you for being straight and married. Only they get to wear the ring like that, you know.

So what is my ultimate point? That gays should stop wanting to get married and get equal rights? Kind of, but not really. Call me crazy, and I’m sure I won’t be able to stand my ground should floods of critical comments pour in, but I feel like the whole idea of marriage should just be demolished with a jackhammer and chalked up as a really bad phase that humanity went through. Lots of people say that the reason they choose to get married is because they love each other – and that’s perfectly fine and romantic, but do you really need a piece of paper to remind you that it’s true? You love each other so love each other together, ceremony or not. Oh, right, but you need it to be official and permanent, because if it’s not, the law doesn’t see you as one entity. That’s why I say scrap the whole marriage thing – if two people actually love each other enough to not want anyone else, they should just start loving each other together whenever they feel like it, and banks and courts and schools and hospitals should just say “oh, cool, good for you”.

Oh my, look how I’ve simplified this argument. But where is the religion in all this mix? Marriage is an institution based on the fundamental beliefs of…that’s great, I’m slightly envious that you can have so much faith in something you cannot perceive. If you believe so firmly that a ceremony is the way to officiate your love for each other, then by all means get a bunch of your family and friends together, dress up, say a few words, and have a mad party afterwards where everyone makes speeches. But let’s not make that ceremony the necessity for two people to be recognized as a legitimate couple, okay?

I think I’ve been sufficiently sarcastic and condescending. I’ll stop now.

Alex.

Pretty, witty, and…bright?

A Sex and the Screen post after a long while!

Just a quick note: in the part where I said “who outside of this topic knows the difference” between “gay” and “queer”, it’s referring to the fact that Queer Theory in many ways completely contradict the (perhaps accidental yet inevitable) ideas of “Gay Pride”.

I think I may have mentioned something similar to this post in a previous post, so forgiveness please if this is a bit of a repeat.

But yesterday I was having lunch with a few friends when one of them left to buy food, leaving behind her mobile phone. As all immature friends do, I found the name of her closest (and therefore, by theory, the most tolerant of strange antics) friend, and wrote something along the immature lines of “hey baby I miss you and your funny laughs”. This other friend is also female, by the way.

So if we’re looking at this scenario in a heteronormative way, we’d see that both of my friends, being straight, would find the sudden flouting of the codes by the first friend (let’s use names because I’m confusing me: First friend whose phone I used is called T, second friend is called B) would put her outside of the heterosexual group, but because B knows that T is straight, it would thus become an amusing and perhaps ironic mess with tradition, calling more attention to that friends are sometimes allowed to break convention with each other, rather than T actually would call B “baby” in a slightly sexual way.

And, I have to say, in any other circumstance with any other pairing of friends, this text may have been milked for all the immature humor it contained, with B replying in a similarly suggestive fashion, T then taking it a bit too far, and B laughing it off and they all giggle later on about how weird they were (and how platonically close and comfortable with each other they felt).

Yet somehow, in this instance, the humor of the breaking of codes seemed to have completely escaped B. B knows that I’m friends with T, therefore she might have been able to guess that T’s phone was used by someone else, but instead of replying with the “lol haha give T her phone back”, B replied with “um WTF what are you talking about?”

And it was in this instance of denying the humor (I’m not saying that being gay is funny or whatever, but it seems that the general idea is if you’re something other than straight, that’s lulz) that suddenly made the text incredibly awkward. Suddenly being suggestively un-straight made things uncomfortable and it took a lot of careful wording for me to inform B that T didn’t write the message but at the same time continued the line of joking.

The really sigh-worthy part of this is, B and T have both on previous occassions professed their “okayness” with gay people (because it’s something you just end up tolerating isn’t it), but on more than one occassion they’ve proven that any activities considered outside of the Charmed Circle (bar the, you know, heterosexual promiscuity and infidelity or whatever), so sexually deviant actions and thought, etc etc, render them very uncomfortable to the point of them saying “ewwww!”

And this very long example brings me back to Warner’s point – that it’s become unfashionable to critique the gay movement or pride. It’s become unfashionable but it’s not not a fashion, much like flare jeans are now looked upon with distaste but everyone still has an old battered pair in the back of the closet (haha closet).

And regardless of whether you actually secretly (or not so secretly) still wear those flare jeans around your house, and maybe to a friend’s, or just when you duck down to the shops where no one you know will see you, or if you actually burned those flare jeans because they’re FLARED FFS, there is still that memory of those flared jeans (btw, in case you lost it, the flared jeans is a metaphor for criticism of gay pride – which is viewed synonymously with queer, because I mean how many people outside of this topic actually know the difference?) being worn and being liked at some point. You just no longer want to admit out loud that you like flared jeans.

B and T wear skinny jeans these days, but I still remember the days when they used to wear flared ones, and not realize that one day they’d have to deny ever liking it. I think they secretly still like it.

Alex.

Since blogging is meant to end on Friday and I have an essay to write today, that will be the last one.

Alex