D’Lane Compton & Tristan Bridges:
Many aspects of masculinity are “comfortable.” And, men don’t need outdoor gear and lumberjack attire to be comfortable. Lumbersexual has less to do with comfort and more to do with masculinity. It is a practice of masculinization. It’s part of a collection of practices associated with “hybrid masculinities”—categories and identity work practices made available to young, white, heterosexual men that allow them to collect masculine status they might otherwise see themselves (or be seen by others) as lacking. Hybridization offers young, straight, class-privileged white men an avenue to negotiate, compensate, and attempt to control meanings attached to their identities as men. Hybrid configurations of masculinity, like the lumbersexual, accomplish two things at once. They enable young, straight, class-privileged, white men to discursively distance themselves from what they might perceive as something akin to the stigma of privilege. They simultaneously offer a way out of the “emptiness” a great deal of scholarship has discussed as associated with racially, sexually, class-privileged identities.
The lumbersexual highlights a series of rival binaries associated with masculinities: rural vs. urban, rugged vs. refined, tidy vs. unkempt. But the lumbersexual is so compelling precisely because, rather than “choosing sides,” this identity attempts to delicately walk the line between these binaries. It’s “delicate” precisely because this is a heteromasculine configuration—falling too far toward one side or the other could call him into question. But, a lumbersexual isn’t a lumberjack just like a metrosexual isn’t gay. Their identity work attempts to establish a connection with identities to which they have no authentic claim by flirting with stereotypes surrounding sets of interests and aesthetics associated with various marginalized and subordinated groups of men.
Lumbersexual masculinity is certainly an illustration that certain groups of young, straight, class-privileged, white men are playing with gender. In the process, however, systems of power and inequality are probably better understood as obscured than challenged. Like the phrase “no homo,” hybrid configurations of masculinity afford young straight men new kinds of flexibility in identities and practice, but don’t challenge relations of power and inequality in any meaningful way.
February 11, 2015 @ 3:30 pm
Should read, "But, a lumbersexual isn’t gay even though he looks twice as gay as a metrosexual."
February 11, 2015 @ 4:49 pm
I think we need to work for the collapse of western civilization so that we can return to an era in which MEN will be MEN.
Did anyone in Humungus' post apocalyptic biker gang doubt his masculinity? Although Humungus wsa gay (he had his Golden Boy which Mad Max killed), so even there the paradigms come into question!
I am SOOOOO confused. Maybe Ophelia or PZed can provide enlightenment?
February 11, 2015 @ 7:47 pm
There were no well-adjusted gay characters in popular movies when Mad Max came out. I was at first pleased that Humungus was gay and not only not effiminate, but a powerful character, if not exactly a role model. Then I realized that the only reason such a character was allowed to be in a movie was that he represented the degradation of morality post apocalypse. And therefore more piling on of the "homos are bad" message I got from all directions at the time (even liberals thought it was abnormal). There were no "civilized" gay characters.
February 11, 2015 @ 9:07 pm
True story: The Village People had a Lumbersexual, but they had to let him go for overuse of passive-aggressive sarcasm.
February 12, 2015 @ 1:47 am
noel: Never thought of Humungus as any kind of archetype for gay men, but that is an interesting analysis!
I always focused on him as an archetyoe for rabble-rousing demagogus (and politicians) 😛
February 11, 2015 @ 10:00 pm
Does this trim physique and magnificent beard make me look gay?
February 12, 2015 @ 3:36 pm
Over thirty and fit is pretty suspicious where I come from, but the beard has to be obsessively preened and no more than an inch long.
@Brian: I wouldn't say archtype, but the directer had to know it would surprise movie goers to see an aggressively masculine gay character.
February 12, 2015 @ 10:16 pm
Oh, I see how it is. Your people have claimed all the desirable physical characteristics for themselves, and herded the rest of us into the paunchy slob ghetto. It's gay totalitarianism, that's what it is!
You may laugh, but in 2006-ish, I saw this bit from Scrubs. I remember thinking, Really? Working out regularly is part of the gay stereotype? I honestly didn't know that.
In my defense, I had worked with several gay people in the newspaper business, and they were all, uh, working-class, I guess you could say. Rednecks, even. Dale was always unshaven, with a beer belly and a handlebar mustache. Donita had a mullet, always wore a baseball cap, and drove a jacked-up Toyota truck (her girlfriend was much more fastidious). And I was a heavy-metal kid, where the guys all dressed like drag queens but were total chick magnets. So I just never correlated sexuality with a particular "look".
February 13, 2015 @ 8:52 pm
"All the good ones are taken or gay."
Of course, generalizations…
And butch lesbians often try to look like straight men, so that doesn't count.
Jesus, I just noticed how I spelled director! Y'all stop snickering in there.
February 13, 2015 @ 9:50 pm
The "e" from "archetype" got lost and ended up over there, pushing the "o" out.
February 16, 2015 @ 4:09 pm
Yeah, yeah. Maybe I was talking about types of arches and I invented a new word to do so.
Not only is spelling not my forte, I have students pestering me about unexcused abscences and resonant frequencies and stuff here.
Hey, I have another true story about macho gays:
I used to do personals add dating in the early 90's and thereby met the most macho, blue collar, pickup truck driving dude I've ever seen this one time. He talked in gruffly barked, short sentences:
He: How ya doin'? I'm Mike; I work construction; Wha'do you do?
Me: (After talking to him a few minutes) Um, you know, you're like a really super-macho guy.
He: (Unfortunately sensing my amusement) Well I didn't come here to get psychoanalysed.
Me: Yeah, no, I just meant… you don't seem gay at all.
He: I'm not gay. (!)
Me: Uh, then why…
He: Well, I mean, I could be gay with the right guy.
Me: But your add said, "Looking for a long term relationship."
He: Oh, I just put that in 'cause I get more responses that way. (Again, WTF?)
Which is why I walked. Which was too bad because he was really good looking. But nuts. But my point was to shed a little light on the thinking of some of those macho gays.
February 16, 2015 @ 9:12 pm
I quoted something once about a similar sort of strange machismo.
"I'm not gay, but…" reminds me of something else I read in a biography of Jane's Addiction:
Inger Lorre: My boyfriend was always saying, "I'm not gay, but if there was any guy I'd like to be with, it would be Perry." One time, we were partying at my place with Perry. Perry was bugging me all night. A lot of girls think he's really hot, but he just wasn't my type, so I kind of threw my boyfriend at him instead…He just dropped jaw right there in front of me and gave Perry a blowjob on my couch. After the boyfriend did that, I broke up with him.
Perry Farrell: This guy gave me head. I'm not gay, I just wanted to see what it felt like. I thought, it's gonna be good because he's a guy. And he stunk. He went at it like he was eating corn on the cob.
February 17, 2015 @ 10:43 pm
Re: your quoted post.
We have been commenting here for well over THREE YEARS?
do we get some kind of door prize or somethin?
More relevantly, there is a blogger in Indiana I follow for a variety of reasons (especialy his scathing sarcasm toward unthinking liberal political tribalism-I think you would like his posts on those topics Damian! He is like a a more sarcastic Freddie!)
Anyway…he is an older gay male (suspicious of essentialism and tribalism there, too) who frequently discusses the self definition of sexual roles and genders.
February 18, 2015 @ 12:16 am
You first showed up in early 2009, but drifted away for a while. Shanna started commenting five years ago last month, and Noel wandered in a couple months after that.
Come on, you know full well participation here is its own prize!
February 19, 2015 @ 9:00 pm
@ Brian – Looks like we'll have to sue for a cut – what kind of money does an operation like this pull in?
Also, like your link – well written and thoughtful.
February 20, 2015 @ 12:36 am
Ha, I got nailed with $6700 in emergency car and furnace repairs last week, which was a brutal kick in the nads. You're lucky I don't put everything behind an expensive paywall!
February 22, 2015 @ 9:41 pm
So… no door prizes?
February 23, 2015 @ 4:29 pm
Sorry… unexpected expenses are a drag. Hope it's not zero degrees where you are.
My car's air-conditioner is out, and it might surprise you denizens of the north that I've missed having it a few times recently. (It was 80 and sunny yesterday.)
February 23, 2015 @ 9:49 pm
Eh, 'tis what 'tis. Of course, I wouldn't object right about now to one of my lurkers announcing hizzorher presence as a reclusive billionaire willing to be a patron for hizzorher favorite blog…
Actually, it has been hovering around zero the last week or so. Had a "real feel" of minus 22 one night late last week. We got snowed on all day Saturday, then yesterday was around 50. Now it's going back down to around 5 degrees tonight, and the rest of the week will be frigid. The furnace got fixed the night before all this hit.
February 24, 2015 @ 10:59 pm
Well, when we lack the water to shower more than weekly, you can snicker at us.
I got hit last month with a much smaller hit. The car key died. Turn the key and NOTHING. I have a decrepit elderly (2001) BMW, and BMW overengineers everything, so you can't just pop a new battery in. Of course, being the epitome of irresponsible, I have no AAA, so the towing was almost as bad as the diagnosis at the expensive mechanic and the new special key. 🙁
Noel: I'm in inland NorCal. Are you Cali or Arizona?
February 25, 2015 @ 1:35 pm
Houston. It's up and down here. Sunday, 80. Monday, 39 – yes, for the high. We haven't even had a real freeze here this winter, though, for the first time in I can't remember when.
February 26, 2015 @ 4:05 pm
@Damian: I'm afraid I have been very, very selfish by not parlaying my outstanding intelligence and comely appearance into the means to be a wealthy benefactor of improvident, day dreaming intellectuals.
February 27, 2015 @ 1:45 am
Wait, so you're saying you're willing to become a gigolo to raise the funds to allow me to be a full-time writer? *sniff* That's such a noble sacrifice! I…I need a moment.
February 27, 2015 @ 4:26 pm
When I said I'd been very selfish, I didn't mean to imply I was going to stop.