All queers have experienced Homophobia in one form or the other. Whether it be from microaggressions, the energy created by someone making our sexuality a joke for others, or just blatant homophobia right in front of our faces. This is the truth of the world we live in, though many of us have learned to not let it define us or determine how we perceive ourselves when we look in the “mirror.”
The reason I mention homophobia to start this article off is that it will be something important to remember as we continue.
Growing up, I was surrounded by women, so I am more than familiar with feminine energy and almost all of what it embodies. As I grew up and reached the age I’m at now, I’ve not only learned how to identify my femininity but to embrace it. Whether that be incorporated in my clothes, my energy, or my physical appearance; I am more than comfortable with showing my feminine side though that wasn’t always the case because of society and how it influenced the adults and teens around me growing up. I was constantly told I had to act a certain way, to dress a certain way, to talk a certain way. It changed my mindset to a point where I despise being told what to do when it comes to myself or my life. And I can only hope that anyone who is having a difficult time embracing themselves and their true energy, will read this and find a bit of hope that will encourage them to continue their journey of self-discovery.
Fast forward to the year 2021, and now everything is so “easy,” and NOBODY in the whole world faces discrimination because apparently homophobia and other -isms don’t exist and we all just want something to be mad at….
If you take a look at social media for a good hour, you can just barely get to see what it’s like being a teen in today’s society.
Something that I’ve noticed when it comes to social media is the increase in praise for the bare minimum. It’s so weird and sometimes even disappointing. Someone will post a video and will just do something as decent as not say a slur or they’ll not disrespect women and they will get enormous amounts of praise for it, some are fully aware of this and use that to gain attention and praise.
What I really want to talk about right now is the recent spike in “femininity” in straight men. To give a basic overview of what I mean when I say, “femininity in straight men,” there has been a handful of trends, and videos, where a straight man will dress up in feminine clothes such as skirts, dresses, maid costumes, etc and, will slap on a caption that says, “f*ck toxic masculinity.” I can see how from the outside this can look like an attempt at normalizing femininity in men and can also be seen as praise for queer feminine men but in fact, it’s actually quite harmful to us.
You see, men dressing in skirts, dresses, and other feminine clothing has been going on for AGES, and it’s the queer men that have been doing it. It’s the queer men that have been expressing their femininity on the streets and in their everyday life. And it’s the same queer men that have been bullied, beaten, harassed, murdered, and ridiculed for doing so. Now, the problem that arises with these trends that straight men participate in, is that they are just putting on a show.
Yes, they may have bought that piece of clothing and worn it online for people to see and received a small amount of backlash, but the fact that the majority of these men are the same ones who would bully queer boys at school or make fun of how they’d dress, just shows that they aren’t doing this to raise a middle finger to toxic masculinity but they are just doing it for praise and comments that say “you’re so brave,” and “this must have taken a lot of courage.”
And it’s almost funny that I see comments like that on the videos made by straight men because I never see that for genuine queer men. I never see them being praised for doing it in their everyday life. One of the main problems with straight men participating in these trends is that they don’t wear these clothes in their everyday life, they don’t walk out of their house and wear these skirts and dresses that they flaunt online to get praise like queer men are. What they are doing is walking right in front of queer men and pushing them out of the spotlight and stealing their praise and recognition when they haven’t done half of the hard work that queer men have, they haven’t gone through the taunting, harassment, and hate that queer men have received to be able to receive the praise they’re getting.
I am in no way saying that you have to be a part of the LGBTQIA+ community in order to wear feminine clothes, I am simply saying that if you were to not wear these clothes in your everyday life and face the same discrimination that queer men do for expressing themselves then don’t wear it online pretending to someone you’re not just to receive the praise and attention that others deserve.
That being said, I am fully aware that social media is an outlet for many people and is the only place that they can fully express their confidence in the comfort of their own homes. And that is fully understandable considering the many things that the LGBTQIA+ community experience outside in the world. While that is understood, the problem is heterosexual men using something so personal and empowering for queer people as something to play with and then toss away once the camera is off.