‘At Least I’m Not Gay”… but you just kissed and had a three-some with that other girl!

Luis Ramos

The fact that sexuality is a delicate topic to discuss in public, it is interesting to see and read over studies that have been done on relevant issues regarding sexuality. This week’s readings reflected on two different ideas:

In Froyum’s “’At Least I’m Not Gay’: Heterosexual Identity Making among Poor Black Teens” study, American low-income Black teenagers construct affirming identities through heterosexuality. They find ways to create and protect their heterosexual identities in order to frame themselves as moral, legitimate, superior, and even more masculine than others. By “conflating heterosexuality with gender nonconformity, disassociating from gay-coded behaviors, and threatening nonconformists,” they police gender as a way to affirm heterosexuality and their own heterosexual identity (603).

On the other hand, “Queer Women in the Hookup Scene: Beyond the Closet?” focuses on how the college hookup scene, along with the party and bar scene, can at times foster “the practice of women kissing other women in public, generally to the enjoyment of male onlookers, and sometimes facilitates threesomes involving same-sex sexual behavior between women” (1). Because the college hookup scene is often gendered and considered a heteronormative sexual field, society ignores the fact that non-normative gender and sexual people can partake in such an environment, but often do it “behind closed-doors”.

I found it interesting and somewhat surprising to see that 12-17 year olds were well-informed on sexual and gender norms, enough to distinguish the different identities that exist. But it was more of a surprise to see how they found ways to police gender in order to protect their heterosexuality to not feel oppressed. How does being non-heterosexual make you inferior and less masculine than others? Youth are aware of the reality, and in order to come off as superior and masculine, they perform acts that are not acceptable. They base everything off the traditional gender ideologies and anti-gay ideologies in order to get their message across.

In high school, people assumed I was “gay” because I wasn’t masculine, I didn’t play sports, I often hung out with girls, and I enjoyed color-coordinating my clothes and shoes. Their label wasn’t based off any same-sex behaviors, but on these ideologies that our society views as gender norms. The thought of being “gay” has never occurred to me, especially now when college is presumably the place to “experiment”. I’ve dealt with this assumption for many years, and I’ve attempted to fix people’s assumption of me by trying to find ways to create/protect my heterosexual identity, but I’ve realized that I shouldn’t care what others think about me as long as I know and I’m comfortable with my own sexuality. It’s sad to read about the different ways teens are oppressed and forced to protect themselves in order to be considered dominant and a part of society’s norm.

When reading about queer women in the hookup scene, the thought that if queer men were to do the same thing, they would constantly be identified as “gay”. Regardless of what you are – bisexual, pansexual, trans, or queer – society will immediately label you as “gay.” Through this reading, it seems as if women can easily get away with performing a same-sex behavior, and are less to be judged for it because they can cover it up and say that it was done “in the interests of men” (3). Little things such as a man holding hands with another man is directly labeled as a “gay” behavior, while if a woman has sex with another woman, people will take it into account as experimentation. It’s disturbing to see the inequality between men and women, even more when society seems to condemn men more for same-sex behaviors.

It shouldn’t be problematic for just men to hookup and perform same-sex behaviors. I mean, it shouldn’t really be problematic for anyone to perform same-sex behavior. If you want to experiment, then you should be given the right to experiment without being judged or labeled. But the fact that same-sex behavior between women is fantasized by men, while same-sex behavior between men is disgusting and wrong, that’s totally unfair. Experimentation should be encouraged. It shouldn’t be seen as repulsive or appalling. A question my friends often bring up in regards to people’s sexuality and sexual orientation is: “How do you know you’re (straight/gay) if you’ve never done anything with another person of the same sex?” This question often results unanswered… This shows the uncertainty people have towards experimentation, but also towards the idea that they could potentially turn out to be gay if they actually tried to experiment.

Talking about sexuality can be overwhelming and awkward, but it definitely shouldn’t be. Our society needs to find a way to be more accepting, rather than continuing to be particularly ignorant.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “‘At Least I’m Not Gay”… but you just kissed and had a three-some with that other girl!

  1. Brittany Juliano

    While reading your post, I could not help but think of my other sociology class. We recently discussed one of the few studies that have looked at children of same-sex couples. What I found most interesting about this study (and not so surprising) was that children of homosexual couples are just as well adjusted as children of heterosexual couples. One of the only differences, were that they were more open to experimentation when it came to their sexuality, because they have a non-normative example that they are already comfortable with. They are not more or less likely to identify as gay or straight, but they are open to exploring their identities. I personally think that everyone should think this way, but like you said, most people are hesitant to experiment because they are afraid of social repercussions and labeling. This fear is not unjustified because, as we have seen within both Rupp et al and Froyum’s articles, there is a serious problem with over-labeling sexuality.

  2. Sophie Sharps

    I also thought it was very interesting to read about the ways in which adolescents and teens found ways to police gender (both of themselves and others). To me, this really proves the extent to which these issues are sociological and extend beyond individual preferences and ideas and into the systemic realm. This “reality” has been socially constructed as the only option and as you mention, adolescents will go to great extremes to ensure avoid labels of “gay” and “feminine.” It is situations like these that show us how important it is to expose people to different realities and to educate people on differences that foster a more inclusive and accepting environment.

  3. Bianca Scofield

    I agree with your statement that women have more freedom to experiment with their sexuality without judgement or being labeled a lesbian immediately. Men walk a fine line and are constantly being examined for anything that even remotely resembles homosexual behavior. However, when women are preforming homosexual behavior that is not for the pleasure of male viewers, they are criticized as well. Also, their behavior may be seen as freedom but because of our male dominated society a lot of those actions are actually extremely calculated. Women are restricted constantly be beauty standards and their desire to be attractive to males. Although women have more freedom to “experiment” it isn’t exactly a untampered freedom. Not to say women don’t have choices! Have sex with whoever you want however you want, just do it for yourself not someone else.

  4. Something that I have found somewhat disturbing is that, while walking around Conn, I have heard multiple men say something like “Sexuality is fluid.” But while there is nothing, in particular, wrong with this statement, I don’t see men actually being fluid in their sexualities. I usually hear this sentence when overhearing a straight male talking to a gay or transsexual male–kind of giving his sympathy. It’s like saying “Hey dude, I’m okay with you doing your thing but I’m just going to keep doing my thing, okay?” I, personally, have had some difficulties being fluid with my sexuality, but if more people realized that their OWN sexualities are fluid, and not just those of the LTGTQ+ crowd, I might have an easier time figuring out my own.

    Patrick Gallagher Landes

  5. Olivia Rabbitt

    Patrick brings up a great point about the use of words like pan and fluid in describing sexuality. While our society accepts these words as a distancing mechanism or tool for sympathy, we are hardly accepting of the practices these words encompass. The option to experiment with fluidity simply does not exist in the “typical” college hookup culture. Many women can proclaim that they have experimented with another woman with minimal judgement — accept in the cases of falsely leading on other women when only hooking up for the male gaze — and without immediately needing to label their sexuality. Men do not have this freedom. If they experiment, they are pressured to immediately conform to some labeled role.

  6. Gina Pol

    I also agree with your statement in regards to women having more freedom in experimenting with their sexuality. Like “Queer Women in the Hookup Scene” discussed, there are many men who are attracted and turned on by women making out with other women, but this cannot be said about men making out with other men as being attractive for a women. Due to these different judgments, women are given more freedom to experiment with their sexuality since they are not being criticized as harshly as men are. While I understand that the research was done in two very progressive universities and may not possibly be true in other campuses, I feel that this type of hookup culture is emerging in several colleges and becoming acceptable.

  7. Sophie Furman

    I was intrigued when you mentioned the fact about people “assuming” things about your personal sexual identity even without knowing you, because that’s a very common thing in our society. Often people will jump to put a title on a person or scenario because they can’t imagine it being undefinable or not having control over it. The fact that you have a lot of girls as friends shouldn’t have to lead to the assumption that you’re gay. Not that it’s the same idea but it reminds me of when people think that I’m dating a friend just because they’ll see me hanging out with a guy friend often. It’s not the same idea but it’s the fact that people jump to conclusions because it’s what we’re so use to seeing, the stereotypical side of things I guess which shouldn’t be the way we choose to perceive things.

  8. Karen Cardona
    I really liked the point that you highlighted regarding the “Queer Women in the Hookup Scene” and how women in this case at times are able to take part in certain activities without being referred to or considered lesbians. This however has a fine line when it comes to males taking part of the same activities , this is something that is experienced at not only throughout high school but also at Connecticut College. Women are able to express certain emotions that when man express they get presented as gay. For this the hookup scene allows women to make out to please the man because it is seen as “hot” or “sexy” that embraces and highlights the male’s masculinity. This sort of interaction can be seen in shows such as Girls Gone Wild.

  9. Sarah Wills

    I agree with Luis that women definitely have more freedom to public displays of affection with one another than men have. There have been plenty of times when I have seen girls who are friends just hold hands when walking somewhere just to be goofy or because they just wanted too. However, I don’t think I have ever really seen men hold hands for fun unless it was poking fun at something. Women, especially in college, have more opportunities to experiment with their sexuality than men. If a female were to make out with a girl at a party, no one would take it seriously. Whereas if two guys were to do this, people would probably think they were gay and it wouldn’t be taken as lighty

  10. Jihmmy N. Sanchez

    Luis you make a very good point about our society. Society should be willing to talk about sexuality so that things like this don’t happen. Where a certain group who wants to deviate from a societal norm ir looked down on. I think our society is to scared to talk about these things because we live in a place where individualism is sponsored and people grow up believing that things are meant to be kept inside because you’re an individual, your are not allowed to speak out about something that is very private like sexuality. This has to be addressed before anything also can get better, so that both men and women who want t experiment can do so freely and not be judged by people.

  11. Gracie Hall:

    I think that the point Luis makes about women having more freedom then men do to express not only a more fluid sexuality is evident. What’s interesting of course is that this expression is only accepted when it is for the benefit of men. On page 3 of “Queer Women in the Hookup Scene: Beyond the Closet?” the authors make this exact point stating: “women’s same-sex behaviors, as long as they are perceived as in the interests of men, are permitted and even encouraged creates space for shifts in desire, behavior, and identity.” This freedom (or lack thereof for men) is also emphasized in the other article as well, as those (especially men) who exhibit sexual preferences for the same sex are not only ridiculed by the other students but by the staff and administration as well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s