a blog with cultural bulimia.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Why Bear? Or: I, Bear.

 Andrew Sullivan writes about bears vs gay culture in general and, once again, dots are connected inside my head. It took me this article to fully understand what attracts me to the 'men of the eagle'. My most generic explanation was an evasive masculinity clause. Not able to fully understand what it represented I had to accept my friends jokes of 'my type' of man. I thought that maturity had made me free of the imposed beauty pattern from culture but what it did, in fact, was also make me rebel against the MUCH MORE strict beauty pattern imposed by my own peers. I hate synthetic beauty, anything that looks artificial: pierced eyebrows and huge biceps. And it makes no sense to me that my friends, most of them intelligent people, are attracted to it.

Following are some excerpts from his post, which makes for enjoyable reading in its totality:

"In the past, gay manifestations of masculinity have taken a somewhat extreme or caricatured form - from the leathermen to the huge bodybuilders. Bears, to my mind, represent a welcome calming down of this trend. They are unabashedly masculine but undemonstrative about it. They are attractive precisely because they don't try so hard. And they add to their outdoorsy gruffness an appealing interior softness. They have eschewed the rock-hard muscle torso for the round and soft and hairy belly."(...)

"Bears are simply saying that they're men first and unashamed of it. More, in fact. What they're saying is that central to the gay male experience is an actual love of men. And men are not 'boys,' they're not feminized, hairless, fatless icons on a dance floor."(...)

"In some ways, bears represent gay men's long delayed embrace of their own masculinity in its simplest and sexiest form. In other ways, they represent gay men's desire for normalcy, for a world in which their natural state of being men is neither constrained nor tortured nor contrived."

Via Andrew Sullivan I also find out this Guardian Unlimited article that asks: Is the potbelly the new gay ideal?

"But for boys? And boys involved in same-sex sexual activity? Homosexual males are traditionally the most preening, pouting, moisturised, eye-gelled, self-critical, fitted, kitted and spun-dry gym bunnies on the block. Even the ugly ones are aware that Clinique is not French for hospital. They are the only men in the western world for whom Botox has become the stuff of birthday presents. "