Will and Grace, Project Runway, Extreme Makeover, Ugly Betty, Glee, and any show on HGTV. What do all these shows have in common? Flamers!
For years now the media outlets have been flooded with the stereotyped gay man: flamboyant, knows all about fashion, is a decorating expert, talks with a lisp, knows musicals by heart, and loves to go shopping and do other girly girl activities.
In reality, not many gay men even follow this persona. While it is true that most of us know a bit more about fashion and home decorating (probably because unlike straight men we don’t have wives to do it all for us), most of us certainly don’t come anywhere near the stereotype. Most gay men I’ve met, including myself, are regular guys doing guy things. They enjoy sports, working out, watching manly movies (although I must admit I do like a chic flick now and then), and shopping or doing someone’s hair is certainly not on their agenda.
So why is it that the media is so persistent on keeping this faux image alive?
What’s ironic is that my parents don’t suspect me of being gay because of this gay stereotype broadcasted daily on TV. They probably pass a dozen gay guys throughout the day and think nothing of it because they don’t fall into that faux bracket.
And for someone from a Middle Eastern family, it’s really important for me that this stereotype is broken, for it is because of this flamboyant image that my parents are so homophobic. They think that its’ shameful and unnatural for a man to act like a woman. They want their sons to be just that, sons, and be solid bodies for their families.
While I personally don’t have anything against flamers, I certainly don’t date them and I’m not too keen on befriending them either, simply because we have nothing in common. As a gay man, I’m interested in dating MEN, not men who act like women. Otherwise I’d just date a woman! I know many men who feel the same way, and if you take a peek at most online dating profiles, you’d witness the same thing.
So isn’t it high time that the media put the flame out on flamers? They clearly don’t represent the majority of gay men and as entertaining as they can be, they are as disastrous to our image as the Taliban to Arabs, or Sarah Palin to Americans everywhere.
With rising shows that showcase regular gay guys, such as “Happy Endings” on ABC, there might still be hope for our image.