A big problem in society today is the constant use of the word gay in a negative fashion. This seems to have become pervasive in younger people. You would think that the older generations who are more traditional and conservative for the most part would be the sole sources of these negative remarks. However the younger generation considered more liberal and forward thinking, is the one that uses gay as a derogatory word the most. It seems that our youth is split into various groups. Those that constantly use gay in the derogatory way because they truly feel this sense of hate towards gays and feel they are lesser than those that are heterosexual. Then there is the group that simply doesn’t consider the meaning of the words they choose. They use gay because it’s the thing to do and they are accustomed to insulting others through the word gay. Some of the people that may fit into this group too are those that do not want to constantly use gay in that damaging way but feel extreme pressure from their peers to do so. Finally we have the group that escapes the pressures felt by others and does not use the term gay in that way and advocates others not to as well. The group examined in the Froyum reading would fit into the category of those who have some amount of real hate towards gays and therefore use the term in a derogatory way. The rest of the people in these cultures must conform and feel a real pressure to do so from those around them. A major frustration is the group that really doesn’t think about what they are saying and says what they believe is cool and therefore correct as well. While these people may not have anything against homosexuality they can’t take a step back and realize what they are saying. They simply move forward with the norms and what is popular and almost natural.
For those who are gay life can become difficult in certain neighborhoods, if these young people do not push themselves as far away from their homosexuality and prove their straightness they will be immediately ridiculed for the slightest signs of being gay, clothing, talk, posture, the way they carry themselves in general and what activities they participate in. Carissa Froyum the author of this piece gives the example of Trenton claiming to feel threatened by cross dressers. Irrationally fear the gay man. Fear of not knowing what gender the person is scared by this confusion of someone acting out of the norms society has created with two concrete genders. Men dress a certain way suit and tie, women wear dresses. Men are tough, women are sensitive, and women wear makeup while men do not. The people who step out of these boundaries of gender alarm certain people because they think it is incorrect to do so, that its not allowed but it is a natural occurrence. Not all people men are the same and not all women are either. Trenton and others turn this unusual behavior where people don’t conform exactly to their gender, into a fear that they will act out inappropriately as they act inappropriately.
The reason for gay being negative is not necessarily religion but may be guy culture. As we have learned in viewing Tough Guise the importance of acting tough is crucial in guy culture and as a male our society. Part of acting tough and being a proper man is not being gay. Guy culture endorses being strong, emotionless, and violent. These are not descriptions that are generally associated with gay men, who are considered to be clean, sensitive, weaker, and more feminine overall. To be gay or to be called gay by another man is to be considered feminine and far from manly, which is not acceptable in guy culture. I feel as though this has been a larger influence over the bashing of homosexuals and has created the negative association with the word gay. This therefore rings especially true in the areas similar to the one at Urban Youth Network in the D.C. area. In rough neighborhoods that may feature gangs and violence the idea of being gay is far from acceptable because the importance of being a “real man” is far too important. It is a tough tone to break especially when adults such as the staff of the UYN are also anti gay. Froyum brings up Jerod a gay teen, who is harassed by his peers but then also by the staff at UYN. She says, “They teased and ostracized gender gender benders as gay or lesbian, and they humiliated gay boys and lesbian girls by drawing attention to their gendered behaviors.”(Froyum 615) With examples such as this it is apparent that there is a deep-seated problem with many communities in our society, and the acceptance of homosexuality could be hard to reach quickly in these places.
In Queer Women in the Hookup Scene we see a different aspect of the hookup culture. The aspect of girls hooking up with girls is explored. Many of the same elements applied to these encounters as did with Grinding on the Dance Floor. Firstly there is the clear element of the male being in charge again. Many times when a two girls hookup it is because of the pressure they feel to please the males that surround them just like the pressure they feel on the dance floor to not hurt the man’s feelings and please him. Here again the role of alcohol consumption is considered very important and can be used as an excuse for however the girl behaves. However while it seems that most quickly assume that girls just make out for the guys enjoyment there are some girls who discover some joy on their end as well and do it for themselves not the guys.
Experimentation can lead in different directions. Multiple women discover their true sexual inclination by experimenting with other women. So really this can be a great way to explore yourself. Through the aid and protection of alcohol and the acceptable setting for these explorations girls feel comfortable exploring themselves. Finally the ways in which women would approach parents presented another interesting aspect of the story. More than one girl admitted that is was much easier to tell their parents that they were bisexual rather than lesbian because this would soften the blow. This reading brought out many facets of this experimentation culture in many colleges and more positives than I would have expected.