Fairy Godfathers in the Pink Collar Ghetto

Fairy Godfathers in the Pink Collar Ghetto

Have you noticed that the typical gay celebrity on television dispenses advice on weddings, hair styles, fashion, desserts, and home décor. What if gays instead dispensed advice on fishing, truck driving, auto repair, hunting, American football, home repair (not decorating), and tool and die techniques (and I'm not in anyway referring to the classic gay porn flick L.A. Tool and Die)? Would anyone listen, much believe that the above is even possible? That gay men do men things? Or would the straight experts in those fields allow a gay guy infringe on their traditionally masculine territory? But then, there are straight male hair stylists, fashion designers, and wedding planners. Or are there, or are they hiding in the closet, pun intended?


I'm not calling for an all-out war on gay stereotypes, but I do wonder if the prototype of this gay advice genre, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, only served to perpetuate, if not emphasize the stereotypes. Not that all the guys on that show were as “flamboyant” as Carson Kressley, but several Carson Kressley types have popped up on such reality TV/advice show fare such as My Fair Wedding and Clean House.


These gay “fairy godfathers” usually help straights clean up their messes, but what do they get out of it after they work their magic? I would love to know if there is any dick involved as gratitude for a makeover well done, but nobody's telling. The straight couple gets married, their house gets decluttered and redecorated, and the gay fairy godfather returns to his lover that he can't marry in most states or countries or to his beautifully decorated empty house and a cat (more stereotypes, perhaps?).


What I'm going to argue may enrage some readers, and some my argue my analogy doesn't follow, but these gay advice experts remind me of eunuchs in the harem. A eunuch worked in the harem because he was castrated, and thus literally a safe person to keep the straight male's women-property in line. And in today’s society, every woman supposedly needs a gay best friend—someone who gives it to her “straight” about life, clothes, sex, and relationships, and she can be safe with him in a way she can't with a straight male. Their friendship supposedly transcends the heterosexual male patriarchal socio-political structure. Or does it really, because the woman can't talk with a straight male about “gay” subjects such as footwear or fashion, or her straight male friend is then subject to questions about his sexuality? And if the straight woman ascends to a position of power, her sidekick becomes something of a pet (aka eunuch):


Vince's father: Must be a wonderful life, Hazel, all those boys. Never short of a joke, tremendous wit, all of them... always smiling, always laughing...

Hazel: Yes, and they make such good pets.

-- Queer as Folk


The above quote is supposed to be humorous, but if one places it in the historical/social context I suggested above, the implications are disturbing. Are gay men as clowns, with the smiles hiding the tears? Gay men laughing off their inferior place in the system by resorting to camp and stereotypes? What time period was we living in, the closeted 1960s?


I argue that the everyday stereotypical caste system that makes gay men pets places straight women and gay men together, not in a harem, but in a type of “pink collar ghetto,” where secretaries and receptionists wait hand and foot on the straight male athletes, lawyers and chief executive officers, is degrading and disrespectful. Again, I ask, what time period are we living in, the 1960s? The eunuchs and concubines in harems often wielded great power (I think of the Byzantine Empire, specifically), even toppling regimes, but that power ultimately derived from their masters and the system they set up, in which a eunuch's and concubine's social status was equivalent to that of a favorite pet. He/she was owned. Literally.


Let's keep that pet play in the bedroom, ladies and gentlemen. And in the meantime, I hope that gay men, so long powerless, would show their newfound knowledge and power equally in all areas of endeavor, and because they have experienced a history of oppression, not wield it oppressively. I await the day when a gay male American football player also proves to be an expert in home decorating on his own TV show on the Spike Channel. And on that day, no one will really cares whether he is gay or straight; he is judged, instead, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, by the “content of [his] character.”







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