Category Archives: homophobia

Michael Kimmel and ‘No Homo’

I spent some time last semester talking about the phrase “no homo” as gender policing.  My argument is that it verbalized patterns of behavior that were not generally sexualized.  Quite often bringing sexual attention to something that was previously mundane. Consider rap intellectual Dallas Penn’s use of “no homo” to ensure heterosexuality is mapped when getting a compliment about his Polo scarf.

He didn’t introduce himself as a rapper, a graff artist or anything spectacular. All he did was compliment me on the ‘Lo scarf I was rocking. No homo, of course.

via dallaspenn.com » Blog Archive » MEYHEM LAUREN IS REALITY….

I have traditionally argued that “no homo” is simply gender policing.  Making sure that people around you know that it is not acceptable for your version of a man to compliment another man on a scarf for instance.  It seems like this is an extension of pathological homophobia.  Not just fear of gay sex, but fear that non-sexual acts would be read as the precursor for gay attraction.

It seems like an interesting subject because it makes an easy map to see the boundary lines for modern masculinity.  The rules for men-to-be-real-men are seldom as explicitly verbalized as with “no homo.”

I’m a fan of Michael Kimmel.  I think he is a smart man who gets a lot of the power dynamics of gender. In the case of “no homo” he argues that this is a kind of linguistic development which marks a loosening of the boundaries of new heterosexual masculinity.

I think we’re a little less homophobic. There’s good evidence that young men are less homophobic than older men are. And I illustrate this often by the difference between “that’s so gay” and “no homo.” Because “that’s so gay” is a way of policing other guys, saying don’t do that, that’s gay. But “no homo” says “you can do it, no homo.” Or “I love you, no homo.” It gives us permission to say something but then back away from it. That’s really different than not being able to do it at all. It’s a small step. The next step is to be able to say it and then not back away from it at all. I think it’s a little bit progressive, not a lot bit progressive.

via An Interview with Michael Kimmel | fbomb.

I think this is quite interesting.  It seems as though the “permission-with-commentary” may come with substantial linguistic homophobic baggage.

 

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Filed under communication, feminism, homophobia, representation

Juxtaposition on transgender discrimination: Action Bronson and Feministing

Artifact one:

Recent wins don’t undermine these tragedies in any way. In fact, it’s all that much harder to see the most marginalized in our community facing violence at the same time that we’re winning victories. Changes in our laws don’t mean people automatically stop hating us. Sometimes increased visibility can mean increased violence. We have to continue working to change people’s minds while we also work to change the laws. Trans women of color continue to face the worst transphobic violence. So we have to continue working deliberately to lift up the voices of trans women of color, to make sure the community most impacted can speak for themselves and humanize themselves.

via A sea change in transgender rights.

Artifact two:

 

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Filed under communication, feminism, hip hop, homophobia, human rights, juxtaposition, representation

Pusha T vs. Lil Wayne: thinking about homophobia and sexual assault

Last week a simmering dislike erupted into a battle of words between Pusha T and Lil Wayne.  Pusha T is fifty percent of the Clipse, a Virginia Beach rap group whose hallmark is ridiculously hard lyrics and a cozy relationship with hit-maker Pharrell.  Lil’ Wayne is the impish high energy pop rapper with a legendary work ethic who sells a lot of ring tones.

The themes of this “beef” could have been foretold.  Pusha T was likely to argue that he was more real, having sold crack more recently than Lil Wayne (and since his former manager Anthony Gonzales, was recently sent to prison for 32 years for drug trafficking).  Wayne is likely to argue that his sales numbers put him out of the reach of a little guy like Pusha T.  Pusha was going to have some exceptionally clever jokes about neon fashion.  Both of the rappers would insult each other’s masculinity, intelligence, and strength.  They would both go after the other emcees they are affiliated with. (In fact they had almost this exact beef seven years ago.)

Here is Lil Wayne following the insult script including calling Pusha T “softer than a motherfucking nerf ball.”

The topic of this conflict that I would have forgotten about is the kiss.  In 2006 Birdman, the CEO of Cash Money Records and Lil’ Wayne smooched.

Turns out they’ve been doing it for years!  (There is no way to read sarcasm through the internet, so I’ll just tell you – I’m not bothered by two men kissing. )  Here is a video from years back of the Big Tymers, Mannie Fresh and Birdman on Rap City.  When Wayne shows up he drops a quick kiss on Birdman’s lips.

Birdman explains that he basically raised Wayne from the age of a young kid and considers him his actual child. In family relationships kissing each other isn’t uncommon.

In a recent interview, Baby, who calls Wayne his son, discusses/justifies the kiss. “That’s my son, ya heard me,” he explains. “If he was right here, I’d kiss him again. I kiss my daughter, my other son, I mean, you have children? Well, if you did you’d understand what I meant with it. I just think people took that too far man. That’s my son. I’ll do it again tomorrow, I’ll kill for him. Ride and die for him.”

via Birdman Defends Lil Wayne Kiss, Says He’d Do It Again – The Boombox.

I don’t think that Birdman and Lil’ Wayne have to justify kissing each other.  The framing that Birdman has used to help viewers interpret the kisses have been particularly masculine and patriarchal.  One spin has been that the kiss is a mafia symbol of closeness.  Another positions Birdman as a literal father of Wayne.

We need to be really careful here because Birdman is not Wayne’s parent or guardian.  Birdman AKA Bryan Williams was a rap star and label head when Wayne was onstage in grade school plays.

Lil Wayne was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. and grew up in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana.[3] Carter was born when his mother, a chef, was 19 years old. His parents were divorced when he was 2, and his father permanently abandoned the family. Carter enrolled in the gifted program of Lafayette Elementary School and in the drama club of Eleanor McMain Secondary School.[4]

He wrote his first rap song at age eight.[5] In the summer of 1991, he met Bryan Williams, rapper and owner of Cash Money Records. Carter recorded freestyle raps on Williams’s answering machine, leading him to mentor the young Carter and include him in Cash Money-distributed songs. He also recorded his first ever collaboration album True Story with rapper B.G.. At the time, Carter was 11, and B.G. was 14, and was billed as “The B.G.’z”.[6] When he was 12, he played the part of the Tin Man in his middle school drama club’s production of The Wiz.[7] At age 13, he accidentally shot himself with a 9 mm handgun, and off-duty police officer Robert Hoobler drove him to the hospital.[8] At McMain Magnet School, Carter was an honor student, but he dropped out at the age of 14 to focus on a musical career.[9]

via Lil Wayne – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

If you’ve seen The Carter documentary on Lil Wayne then you’ve seen the disturbing scene where Wayne describes being raped as a kid.

In the middle of The Carter, an obviously high Lil Wayne jokes openly about being raped at the age of 11 with the encouragement of his surrogate father, Baby—and informs Lil Twist, a 15-year-old member of Wayne’s record label Young Money, that Wayne is going to help him get raped, too.

via Lil Wayne Jokes About His Own Rape – The Sexist.

This gives some insight into the relationship between Wayne and Baby Birdman.  I’ve been thinking about using parts of this clip and the Jimmy Kimmel interview referenced in Amanda Hess’s Washington City Paper essay to talk about male sexual assault.  In particular the idea that because men are socialized to be sexual all-the-time, then any predatory sexual attacks against men are okay.  This terrible notion is essentially the idea that anyone who says “no” is really saying “yes,” and that men are saying “yes” all the time.

I wonder if kissing Birdman isn’t a power thing?  A move of control?  A sign of closeness?  I don’t think it quite counts as parental given the exploitative sexual history between the two.   The kisses don’t seem particularly sexual or erotic.  Perhaps Wayne and Birdman are lovers.  I don’t know and honestly it seems a little bit junior-high for a person with a Ph.D. to spend so much time writing about two grown ups kissing.

But then again, I’m not the only person fixated on this kiss.

The song Exodus 23:1, Pusha T’s diss track is actually fairly generic.  Pusha T had to explain that the song was about Lil Wayne.  Wayne confirmed it by tweeting: “Fuk pusha T and anyone who love em.”

This morning No Malice, the non-violent, higher road-taking, reinvigorated Christian half of the Clipse tweeted his opinion about the Pusha T/Lil Wayne beef.

“Well I LOVE Pusha! That’s my blood and I ain’t never kiss em.”

Obviously beef sells records, but I think that Pusha T chose Lil Wayne because he thinks that the kiss gives him some annihilating ammunition against him.   You might call it a Ronald Reagan electoral strategy of fear.  Making your arguments based on the assumption of prejudice in the general population.   At the heart of the attacks on Lil Wayne so far is simply homophobia — and a particularly twisted desire to police male sexuality.

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Filed under hip hop, homophobia, music, representation, Surveillance

Coming out day props

Props to everyone who is cool on national coming out day.  I don’t love the idea of an “ally,” but I’m enjoying the discussion about the Harvard wrestling team’s collective support for a gay teammate on national coming out day.

Wearing a shirt that said, “Some Dudes Marry Dudes. Get Over It,” Anthony J. Buxton ’13, a varsity wrestler, said he had received smiles from people on the street.

“There is a much larger community of allies who are willing and ready–even eager–to stand with their LGBT peers,” McCarthy said.

via On National Coming Out Day, Athletes Come Out as Allies | News | The Harvard Crimson.

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Al Franken vs. Focus on the Family

It’s a good think there are comedians in Congress, or else the place would be ripe with the smell of bullshit.

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Eli Porter documentary

Eli Porter is a disabled emcee whose high school battle video has become a key hip hop trope.   Here is the documentary about the actual footage.  Complete with commentary from the internets celebrities.

 

 

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Filed under academics, disability, documentary, hip hop, homophobia, learning, media

Nothing excuses ignorance

I’m enjoying Sparky‘s posts over at womanist musings.  Here is the kick off of the most recent post:

So it’s time for me to settle some accounts here I think. So, to straight, cis people who support GBLT rights – what do I owe you?

A) Gratitude

B) Patronage of your business

C) My vote for your party

D) My buying your products

E) My reading and linking to your site

F) My contributing to your endeavors

G) The benefit of the doubt in all future privileged fails

H) Not a bloody thing

Of course the correct answer is H, not a bloody thing, because I don’t owe people for recognising my humanity or for recognising that society’s refusal to treat me as a full person.

via Womanist Musings: So, to straight, cis people who support GBLT rights – what do I owe you?.

Heck yeah!

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