The Renegade Rip

Column: We have image issues too

The Gay Agenda: Life and times of a modern gay man.

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley

J.R. Hensley, Reporter

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I am going to let you in on a little secret. A good bulk of the gay community is very image conscious. I know, shocker, but I am sure that there are those that will say, “But, Josh, all people are.” Which is very true, but not to the degree that I find comes with gay men.

We can be catty and cruel, and do not think for a moment that we have not analyzed every aspect of your image and picked it apart to fulfill our own selfish need to feel better about ourselves. Well, I can’t speak for all, this is just me. Is that not common?

I find much of my fellows to be very much superficial. I think it’s because in most cases I have ever encountered like-minded gentlemen is on a detached level, through gay social apps and websites. In most cases those are just means to fulfilling a fantasy and not so much on making life-long attachments or friendships (no matter what their profile says). However, my experience with those apps are limited, and my exposure to any kind of bar scene is minimal if non-existent.

What little I have experienced has been absolute body shame, resulting in ultimate self-loathing.

I am not afraid to say it, I hate my body. If I could change it I would be emaciated to the point of unhealthy, with a gaunt face, because thin is more attractive than any kind of weight.

This self-hatred is perpetuated by any semblance of a gay character in pop culture. Most are attractive and thin, more than likely ripped, and here I sit pudgy and mushy, glad that there is a character I can identify with, but hating myself for not being like them.

I am sure there have been other shows or movies not depicting a gay character in this fashion. The only example I can think of is a little gem named “Happy Endings.”

“Happy Endings” is one of my all-time favorite shows. It was well written and not given its due credit. If the opportunity arises, binge watch the heck out of it on Netflix or Hulu.

Other than the strong writing in the series, it offered something new that I had never seen: the anti-stereotypical token gay character, Max.

He was pudgy, didn’t have a lisp, he wasn’t obsessed with fashion or the usual tropes. He was, for lack of a better word, normal.

For once I saw my complete self-reflected in a fictional character.

There was one moment in the show where the characters were discussing Max’s weight and he described himself as “straight thin but gay fat,” which is so true.

The idea of body shame always seems to be for women, but in actuality we all have some aspect of ourselves we do not like and would change in an instant. I think woman are just more comfortable in discussing it than men.

Perhaps they think it will make them look like they care and that would destroy the “macho” facade.

Even though I want to not care, I do. I will diet until I die, chasing this fictitious ideal that I myself have concocted in my head.

In reality, no one cares how I look but me.

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Column: We have image issues too