25 February 2014

The Pervert Mentality (Part One)

Queer Affair

What is the Pervert Mentality? It’s something that my friend, Rev. Jerry Maneker and I often discuss when we exchange emails. Jerry describes it as "a counter-revolutionary mindset that reflects and projects selfish hedonism". I describe it as a regressive mindset that reflects and projects internalized shame. We both agree that it fetishizes Gay people as "queers" or sex perverts, much in the same way a racist mentality fetishizes Black people as primitive and subhuman. The main difference is that the Pervert Mentality is as prevalent among its victims (LGBT folk) as it is among their oppressors!

I could go into further detail, but rather than try to abstractly describe this phenomenon, let me show you what it is instead. Jerry recently sent me a perfect (and perfectly disgusting) example. Check out the following excerpts from a syndicated column that appeared in the May 15th edition of LA Weekly; it's called “Ladies Love Gay Male Porn”. With a title like that, you’d expect a column to be provocative, right? You wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be offensive, though.  Well, there’s a way to offend with excessive provocation. Author, lecturer, columnist and pornographic film producer Tristan Taormino shows you how it’s done!

I just got back from a weekend at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where I attended "Console-ing Passions: An International Conference on Television, Audio, Video, New Media, and Feminism". . . it was three days of geeking out with academics about TV, the Internet, and various kinds of media studies . . . naturally, the first panel I went to was all about porn, with four scholars presenting papers on Lesbian identity politics and pornography . . . a bunch of women stuck around afterwards to continue the discussion that the panel had, um, stimulated, and we began talking about the kind of porn we all watched . . . (someone) chimed in: "Do you like f*g porn? All my queer (sic) female friends do." Hers wasn't a surprising question. I know Lesbians who dig it more than any other kind of hardcore fare.

Somehow, I don’t think she’s talking about average, every day, garden-variety Lesbians!

I briefly dated a genderqueer (sic) d*ke who just loved Gay male porn . . . (especially films) which feature young, hairless European lads (think the boy-on-boy version of the Straight barely-legal genre). The boys are very pretty and androgynous, and some of them could definitely be mistaken for d*kes with their clothes on. But other girl-loving girls love über-butch men, leather daddies, and big hairy bears, so it's not always about androgyny. By now, I think it's commonplace to accept that queer (sic) women love queer (sic) male porn . . .

"Commonplace?" “By now?” Methinks the lady doth exaggerate! I patronized adult video stores for many years, and never did I see so much as half a Lesbian couple browsing Gay or Straight titles! Granted, Ms. Taormino could be referring to mail order business, but her claim that all homosexual women consume pornography is ludicrous! Historically, Lesbian feminists have taken a dim view of X-rated films.

. . . some d*kes can get their fix of queerness (sic), both the lust and the cultural aesthetics, via Gay porn, even though it features people of a different gender . . . queer (sic) is often attracted to queer (sic) first and foremost, like when the guy I lusted after in high school turned out to be Gay . . .

Hot damn! That’s ironclad scientific reasoning she’s using there.

. . . plenty of Lesbians identify with various forms of masculinity . . . they may like to fantasize and play with gender and sex. Gay porn gives them a range of masculine desires to relate to or lust after. For those d*kes who themselves identify as f*g, or who like butch/butch, boi/boi (sic), or Transman/Transman sex, they can see a hyper-masculine version of their own sex lives and/or fantasies performed on the small screen.

So, except for the genders involved, Gay male sexuality is identical to Gay female sexuality? Really? Where's a Kinsey Institute staffer when you need one? This woman desperately needs a reality check!

The phenomenon of Straight women who love Gay male porn has been documented, and was discussed plenty when flocks of females gushed over Brokeback Mountain.

I didn’t know Brokeback Mountain was a pornographic film? I’d have sworn the sex scenes were as fake as the acting was!

When women came out of their f*g-loving (sic) closet, it illustrated the flip side of a common theory: Plenty of Straight men love girl/girl porn because they want to see lots of who they lust after. The same is true for het (sic) women: They like to look at hot naked men (having sex), and it doesn't really matter that they're (having sex with) each other . . .

Excuse me, but engaging in voyeurism doesn't necessarily translate into "love" for the subject of said voyeurism! Some White slavemasters bred their Black slaves like animals, and they would watch while they copulated. I'm sure more than a few of those racists enjoyed the sight, too. Did that prurient enjoyment constitute "love"? I don't think Ms. Taormino would want to go there. I certainly wouldn't!

. . . journalist Kera Bolonik admits that she gets off with men on-screen, but not in real life: "Nothing makes me hotter than watching two men going at it. There is something really admirable about Gay male porn, at least in principle: It's egalitarian. Everyone gets a turn at the top as well as at the bottom. Everyone comes, and often they do it together." I'm not sure this concept of equality is attractive to everyone (I personally like a hefty dose of power dynamics with my sex), but it supports the notion of seeing some kind of sameness, something non-heterosexual represented.

. . . and naturally, that "sameness" provides the slumming Lesbian with a kinky, vicarious thrill, even if the thought of being with men "in real life" turns her stomach a little. OK, that’s quite enough of that! So much giddy fetishization turns my stomach a little!

Tristan Taormino loads her copy with sexual slurs like some people load their food with salt! They ignore the risk to physical health. She's ignoring a risk to societal health! I'll explain what I mean by that after the jump.

"The Pervert Mentality" continues with Part Two.

The Pervert Mentality (Part Two)


Now, there’s nothing wrong with expressing your opinion in print about adult films. I recently did so myself in a post called “The Big Nasty”. However, Ms. Taormino is doing more than just sharing her feelings about pornography. She’s also revealing how she feels about LGBT folk, and that revelation is most disturbing! The objectifying tone and denigrating vocabulary she favors scream out the presence of a depraved Pervert Mentality! Let me direct your attention to:

1) Her eagerness to disparage Gay identity. Pervert Mentality sufferers consider so-called political correctness (otherwise known as respect for another person's dignity!) a crime akin to aiming a pistol at someone and shooting him down. Yet they see no problem in aiming murderous epithets at a minority group! Since they claim membership in the same group, wouldn't that qualify as murder/suicide? Pervs ridicule those of us who object to slurs, disregard the damage they do to Gay self-esteem, and refuse to consider what impression their (dare I say it?) queer acts of verbal self-annihilation leave on heterosexual Americans. At best, Straight folk are confused about who and what we are; normalization of sex and gender insults only worsens that state of confusion!

2) Her eagerness to identify with oppressors via use of the aforementioned ugly pejoratives. When Pervs cut loose on LGBT folk with filthy labels, they come across as either mischievously ignorant or arrogantly ignorant. I would definitely characterize Ms. Taormino’s demeanor as the latter; her brandishing of sexual slurs has a decided swagger to it. Reading her copy, it was hard not to think of a leering, foul-mouthed male chauvinist pig! In fact, I'd like to have filed a sexual harassment complaint against her. That she'd crave unequal power dynamics in her erotic encounters comes as no surprise to me: Her love of heterosexist language suggests an inner desire to subjugate Gay people!

3) Her eagerness to fetishize Lesbians and Gay men. She and her “f*g-loving” lady friends objectify us to the point where we almost seem less than human! She describes our “culture” as orgasm-based. If you judged Gay people solely by her characterizations, you’d never guess that we we eat, sleep, go to school, earn a living, care for loved ones or do anything but have sex! This is so typical! Pervs define LGBT folk exclusively in sexual terms, which, of course, is no different from what uninformed Straight people do! They take our image and narrow it down to a crude, pornographic stereotype. The parallels to racial objectification are very strong.

4) Her characterization of homosexual orientation as a “sexually fluid” identity. Pervs scoff at the idea of LGBT folk having unique sexual orientations. No, we merely "play with gender and sex", and when we do that, it's called "queerness"! They insist that, dammit, despite their inborn attraction to women, Lesbians do lust after men! Especially men “who could be mistaken for ‘d*kes’ with their clothes on” . . . never mind that the context here is porn flicks, where clothes invariably come off. Pervs are notorious for deliberately confusing homosexuality with bisexuality; it jibes with their omni-sexual worldview! Unfortunately, it also feeds into the myth that Gay people just need the "right" opposite sex partner to jump-start their dormant heterosexual attraction. Claims of homosexual "fluidity” are even more alarming when they include lechery for “barely legal” boys! Holy potential pedophilia, Batman! Approval of underage sex often forms part of the Pervert Mentality (see my earlier series of posts titled “The Pleasure Seekers”).

5) Her idealization of Gay porn to the point of making misleading statements about it, or in this case, allowing such statements to pass without correction. It has never been true that all Gay porn actors are sexually versatile! Anybody as familiar with the porn industry as Ms. Taormino claims to be should know as much! A good many of those actors identify as Straight (and no, I'm not bullsh*tting you). Others consider themselves Gay macho men, and these "traditional" males refuse to perform passive sex acts on film. In fact, the Straight-acting credo is so pervasive, pornographic film critics make a huge fuss whenever a reputed “top” appears on screen, shall we say . . . out of character? When macho actor Victor Ríos shot a "bottom" scene for the 2005 Titan film Drill, reviewers at XXX Showcase Magazine all but heralded the event with trumpets!

6) Her apparent ignorance of the fact that LGBT folk are an oppressed minority. You wouldn’t know we were in the midst of an equality struggle from the way Tristan Taormino talks about us, would you? However, I’m sure she does know. I give most perverts the benefit of doubt! They’re hardly uninformed about the struggle. They just couldn’t care less about it! Hedonism is always at the top of their agenda. LGBT equality is so far down on a Pervert Mentality sufferer's list of priorities, you practically have to send out a hunting party to find it!

Tristan Taormino talks feminism, so it's a good bet she doesn’t think of herself as heterosexist. All the same, she comes across that way in this column! In the interest of penning a racy tidbit for sensation-hungry readers to gobble, she reinforced ugly and harmful stereotypes. Did Ms. Taormino do so on purpose? I’d rather think she didn’t, but either way, the damage was done! Nobody who harbors anti-Gay prejudice had his or her bigotry challenged by reading TT's assessment of Gay pornography. The only thing she challenged was the idea that Lesbians and Gay men are normal human beings deserving of respect! Sure, you and I understand that LGBT folk aren't the equivalent of porn actors, but does most of the world's heterosexual population understand that? Seeing as how they're afraid to shower with us, I seriously doubt it!

Jerry Maneker was highly upset that this column appeared just prior to the California Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-gender marriage. "If the author was seeking to sabotage the fate of same-sex marriage in California,” he told me, “(it) couldn't have appeared at a more propitious time!" I know where he’s coming from, but its appearance would’ve been upsetting at any time. Would any columnist writing about pornography that featured members of racial minorities call the performers “n*ggers” or “sp*cs” or “ch*nks” in print? No! Would any columnist claim that ethnic or racial identity was changeable? No! Would any columnist dare define minority group cultures by their sexual habits? Hell, no! Imagine the firestorm of protest a newspaper would trigger by publishing such racist trash! Yet the only comment Ms. Taormino’s column generated for days was one praising her spicy subject matter. Until I posted a response yesterday, her distorted characterizations had prompted no outrage at all.

While I’m disappointed, I can’t say I’m surprised. Whenever I surf the 'Net, turn on radio or TV, open a magazine or newspaper, or attend a movie or play, I brace myself. I know from experience that if the subject matter touches on Gay identity in any way, I'm liable to see LGBT folk depicted as cartoonish freaks and/or sex-addicted anarchists! I know I'm liable to hear us called every vulgar, misogynist name you can think of. I know this will be done, and it's nearly always done without reproach! LGBT folk are usually the worst offenders, too, but rest assured that our enemies on the Right Wing are still doing their part. Regardless of whether it comes from friend or foe, the message is the same: Gay = Queer! With so many people in the media so determined to marginalize us, what else could we be but marginalized?

Ms. Taormino is part of that marginalizing conspiracy! She'd no doubt defend herself by accusing me of taking her remarks out of context. I think she's the one who's got a problem with context! Where in her column does she acknowledge the reality of anti-Gay bigotry? She can’t pretend that reality doesn't exist, especially not when she’s using the very language of bigotry! When people are struggling to climb a hill, you don't send boulders rolling down on them: That's just plain malicious! If you unleash those rocks in a spirit of playfulness, that makes your act even more twisted and contemptible. Contemptible is surely the word for her demeaning ruminations on Lesbians, Gay men and their sexuality!

It’s bad enough that an allegedly LGBT woman would write such an insulting piece, but it’s infuriating that mainstream periodicals would be so insensitive as to run it as an entertainment feature! This is just another heartbreaking example of how the press, the general public, and we ourselves welcome defamation of our kind, discourage intelligent discussion about our kind, and support a status quo that excludes and stigmatizes us! It's an intolerable situation that will change only when a significant number of us (especially those of us with media platforms) realize that it's intolerable! But that kind of realization will never, ever dawn on people who suffer from the Pervert Mentality.

Originally published in June of 2008.
The six vintage cover images accompanying this post are among hundreds you can see at this website . . .
. . . an archive of Lesbian paperback art from the 1950s and ‘60s. While the artwork is often quite striking, the lurid copy speaks of an era when Lesbian and Gay existence was totally defined by the Pervert Mentality! Life was a living Hell for us back then, far worse than today. Please, let’s leave hurtful, ignorant perceptions in the past where they belong!