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Owen Jones: I felt ashamed for flinching at Alan Carr’s charity fairy advert

  • Derek Northcote

    “… But Carr has a point: some anti-camp bashing is driven by the homophobia of gay men”

    Wrong word, given that homophobia is a fear of homosexuals.

    However I would suggest that it is an internalised desire not to be thought of as being seen to be like the camp caricature as portrayed by Mr Carr, as historically many people in general society equated being gay to being camp.

    As a kid of the 70’s I loathed seeing the “camp” depictions on TV by the likes of Larry Grayson and John Inman etc whilst knowing at the time that I was gay.

    I simply did not and still do not want to be equated to the stereotype, but I would certainly not call that “homophobia” or a desire for normalisation.

    • Rovex

      I cant upvote this enough. Camp does NOT equal gay, there are plenty of camp straight men, just like there are plenty of butch straight women.

      I didnt find Carrs ad offensive (apart from the fact that it was for the fascists at PETA), but it doesnt resonate with me at all.

      • Johnny

        I agree with your first sentence but don’t know enough about PETA to agree or disagree on that part.

        • Steven Gregory

          He’s anti PETA and obviously doesn’t know much about the organization himself, other than the well-publicized missteps of a few members in very benevolent and effective organization.

    • David H

      Very well put Derek. I do think Owen has hit the nail on the head with his observation that the media needs to do more in promoting gay men in a non-sterotypical way. I think they’re getting there slowly (the latest gay characters in Emmerdale and EastEnders vs Coronation Street; and Tom Daley and Clare Balding’s prominence), but still a long way to go.

      • Serkan M

        How do you promote non camp gay men?

        • Derek Northcote

          By showing all types of gay men, not just the camp ones.

          • Serkan M

            But they do. Except that when a camp man is shown, the gay community makes a hop has about it all. Self-loathers.

          • Derek Northcote

            Clearly you are not the type of person to engage in discussion.

            Only denigration.

          • http://www.pariss.info Pariss

            Exactly
            The many examples of non-camp guys on TV and in films are conveniently forgotten when the subject comes up

          • Steven Gregory

            Or even worse: gays complain that a non-camp gay or straight actor in a gay role is wrong. Could it be that gay men will complain ANYWAY?

          • Gary Graham

            Oh heaven forbid an actor doing this small thing called acting! :-p

          • Steven Gregory

            Acting? What do gays know about acting? {:•)

          • frank

            Steven is this you job commenting or do you actually have any sort of life separate from your own opinion. Its ok to be gay and not talk about it all the time. Just to reassure you love.

          • Steven Gregory

            Do you have a point pertinent to the discussion or is this your attempt at being condescending.

          • Jesus_Mohammed

            You say “But they do”, Serkan, but as someone who keeps a close eye on the mainstream media I would say that is definitely not the case. We have a good number of politicians and businessmen now who are known to be gay but of course the focus is, as it should be, upon their work. When it comes to dramas and comedies the gay man is generally something of a figure of some fun, his gayness being something that is visually perceivable, whereas in the cases of the majority of gay men their gayness is not visually perceivable. You only learn they are gay when they express their ideas, their beliefs, their likes, and so forth.

          • Serkan M

            Really? Do you not remember the gay couple in hollyoaks who were ‘masculine’. Or what about emmerdale? What about corry now with Tom and the other dude?

            They are all masculine gay types. I just think people pay more attention to the very camp men types.

        • David H

          Is that a serious question?

          • Serkan M

            Yes

          • David H

            As Derek answered in the interim. Simply by showing a wide range of men – demonstrate the fact that gay men come in all shapes, sizes and personalities – include the rugger types, the nerdy types etc as well.

          • Serkan M

            What about the fatter ones? As a fatter gay, Im sidelined more so by gays then str8s. Im simply seen of as unattractive. Can we have some more fat gays please.

          • David H

            Hopefully, I covered fat and thin in all shapes and sizes. I think larger people are poorly represented as a whole in the media (they’re either full of self-loathing or the overly happy Father Christmas sort) – but that’s a whole other debate.

          • lee

            Just go to show how shallow some people are Serkan

          • Steven Gregory

            Is PETA supposed to show a wide range of men all in the same ad? Just last year PETA selected a hot vegan who happened to be gay and the campaign was widely publicized. Now this appears and all the anti-camp whines.

    • Serkan M

      Why not just be yourself and stop thinking about what you should or should not act like? Sounds like the ‘homophobia’ is coming from within the gay community (again no surprises).

      • Derek Northcote

        How can you be yourself when the media depicts you as this “camp” caricature and the general public expects it.

        Try it for 50 years then get back to me.

        • Serkan M

          Then you are too insecure. Why do you care what the media portrays you as? If your such a masculine male you wouldn’t give a rats.

          • Derek Northcote

            Who says I’m masculine.

            That would certainly be a first.

          • Serkan M

            So your a feminine gay who has felt the pressure of being feminine and now your hating on camp men?

          • no

            *you’re

          • Serkan M

            your a loser

          • Jesus_Mohammed

            Hmmm. And you, Serkan, are a hater, aren’t you.

          • Serkan M

            Im a hater for telling gay men not to hate camp men? Ironic much.

      • Rovex

        Being yourself is fine, but in my experience most camp is fake. Its what is expected so people play up to it. The number of times ive seen gay men camping it up to hell in clubs and then later the voice drops and octave and they act normally, and naturally (to them).

        You’re still equating homophobia with anti-camp, you are still missing the point entirely.

        • Ed

          I’ve seen feminine gay men and drag queens barred from gay bars, because they didn’t want “flamers” inside. Pretty homophobic …

          • Rovex

            Still not homophobic. Disliking a gay man doesn’t make you homophobic, disliking because they are gay does, and thats not whats happening.

            How many times does it need repeating, gay does not equal camp, you can dislike one without disliking the other.

          • Jesus_Mohammed

            No, not homophobic at all. You can’t cry “homophobia!” every time a homosexual person is not permitted to behave in a loud and, actually, in an anti-social manner. Those “flamers” you refer to wish to perform and be the very loud and unavoidable centre of attention. They are not conducive to the drinking atmosphere that most people like.

        • Mr.Pink

          “The number of times ive seen gay men camping it up to hell in clubs and then later the voice drops and octave and they act normally, and naturally (to them)”

          Nothing compared to the number of times I’ve seen gay men “butch it up” and lower their voice and then later act normally and naturally

      • Jesus_Mohammed

        Serkan, you sound homophobic to me. It sounds like you’ve got it in for the gay community.

        • Serkan M

          What? How am i homophobic?

    • Ed

      I think it is internalized homophobia, as why would gay men prefer gay men that are “straight acting”? The problem is in the word …

      • Jesus_Mohammed

        Your statement suggests that gay men who don’t like camp behaviour are homophobes. And that’s ridiculous. Isn’t it.

        I’m a gay man and I don’t like camp behaviour, regardless of whether it’s issuing from a gay man or woman, or a straight man or woman. However, if I go to the theatre and watch a musical comedy or a comedy turn in a serious drama I can enjoy the entertainment value of the shallow camp over-the-top character. I remember a boss in charge of about 50 people suddenly launching into a camp act at a Christmas party one year. Even though most people forgave him his drunken carry-on that night, it didn’t assist his reputation. You can have a good time without carrying on like a cheap whorish stereotype.

        • Psychologist

          Hi Jesus_Mohammed – I have ready many of your comments on here, and agreed with almost all of what you’ve said – and endorsed your comments too, – up to now.
          However, on this one, I have to somewhat disagree, respectfully.
          Here’s why – Even openly gay men can (and do) suffer from a form of homophobia (sort of) which they have “internalised” (bought into, adapted to, absorbed) from the massive amount of abuse, homophobia, anti-gay negativity, discrimination, hostility from society for years. It is actually quite hard NOT to internalise SOME of it, as we are all exposed to this negativity and “hetero-normity” every single day.
          When a gay man has internalised a substantial “chunk” of homophobic/anti-gay views from society, it can make him feel the need to “conform” (to some degree) to what he perceives society expects men to be and behave.
          Just as “not every smile we give is real” so too can some of our mannerisms be real (authentic) or “acted”.
          It is true to say that it can be EITHER ! Someone may well feel more masculine, and less “camp” than others “authentically” , which is fine – however there are also those who conform to “acting more straight” in order to conform to the “perceived norm”. (as a result of “internalised homophobia”), which is also true.

          • rapture

            Well said , so true.

      • Psychologist

        Indeed it is !

    • Rehan

      Yes, very well said Derek.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      Well said, Derek. Let us make a clear differentiation between homophobia and dislike of camp behaviour. (I wouldn’t use the term “campophobia” because I don’t think camp behaviour engenders hatred, as knowledge that a person engages in sex with a person of the same gender unfortunately does.)

  • Serkan M

    Why are gay men so self-loathing? As a gay man who isn’t very camp, I love a bit of camp. I think it’s funny.

    Are we saying that as long as your a str8 acting (whatever that is) football loving beer drinker its ok? There is room in this world for camp ones too.

    • Rehan

      “Self-loathing”? You may believe that camp and homosexuality are inevitably and inextricably combined; not everyone else does.

    • Cal

      Serkan, you are taking a very simplistic view on this. Of course all kinds of Gay people should be accepted. The article lucidly explained the double standards many of us have – and it’s is easy to see why. For many years the ONLY representation on TV was camp, double-entendre speaking mincers. I admire Carr and Norton. In their honesty they are worlds apart from the old-fashioned Gay personality as still seen in Dale Winton. Good luck to them all, I say – and to the “straight-acting” ones in the soaps.
      Many Gay men struggle to be less camp than is natural for them, with varying degrees of success. Carr has legitimised the use of the word fairy for himself by calling his show Tooth Fairy. Its a clever title. But the ad is different somehow. It’s not his vehicle. Arguably, it’s an ad agency’s manipulation of him into an offensive stereotype. There is more than one side to this and we Gays moving through from the world of John Inman into a new era of acceptance are understandably conflicted.

    • Rovex

      They arent self loathing. The simple answer is many of us find camp shallow, fake and extremely tiresome. Beyond all that, to me, its intensely unattractive.

      When people find out im gay they say they didnt know because im not camp, dont like fashion or Lady gaga, its gets very boring, very fast. I have even been accused of being a ‘crap gay’ because im not interested in celeb gossip or fashion trend.

      • Serkan M

        I get what you saying. Honestly I do. I am not fond of drag queens, super sisters (don’t ask), supreme o.t.t campness etc, but I accept that they are apart of our society, and if Alan Carr is using it to his advantage, then good luck to him. Why shouldn’t he grab the stereotype and run with it? p.s I hate celeb gossip too, but I accept that a lot of gays don’t.

        • Jesus_Mohammed

          Well done, Serkan! You have put your finger on the fundamental question: “Why shouldn’t he grab the stereotype and run with it?” Alter that question a little to bring in the ethical dimension.

          Should any person “grab” any stereotype and “run with it”?

          Think about that.

          Think about stereotypes.

          Consider whether Alan Carr, and people like him, are being at all original.

          You know the answer is they’re not. Doing “camp” is actually the easiest thing in the world. That’s why quite a lot of people suddenly start doing it after they’ve had rather too many drinks.

          • Serkan M

            So what are you so afraid of?

    • Steven Gregory

      Irish drag queen Panti Bliss put it best: OPPRESSION makes many of us check ourselves and sometimes a person’s camp behavior dredges up all the fear, apprehension and disapproval that’s been pounded into us.

      • Rovex

        Or we arent camp and find it annoying and tiresome. Usually the simplest solution is the right one.

  • colonelkira

    Very well written and extremely accurate.

    I most certainly agree that there should always be public displays of gay men with all facets of personality, however that does not excuse victimising a group of gay men who exist and are happy with being portrayed the way they are.

    Self loathing, straight acting gay men should be more comfortable in their own skin the same as camp gay men are.

    As for the guy eho wrote “try it for 50years and get back to me”……….I have, and I am quite happy and comfortable with who I am and how I am “portrayed”. Your cringing says a great deal more about you than it does me.

    • Derek Northcote

      I have no self loathing whatsoever.

      Do not make assumptions.

      • Johnny

        I think it was supposed to be more of an accusation than an assumption. Perhaps it makes the gay fundies feel better about themselves to label people as such.

    • David H

      I agree wholeheartedly with the first part of your comment; but not the second – it’s that kind of “internal bickering” that the article is highlighting an identity problem that we seem to have as gay men (that perhaps I was blissfully, and now somehat ashamedly, unaware of).

    • no

      ‘Straight-acting’, yeah, cool way to demean gay men who aren’t camp.

      • Rovex

        Acting as in having the actions of, not as in pretending.

        • Steven Gregory

          Are you splitting hairs?

          • Rovex

            Actually its a very important distinction. One implys faking, the other does not. Many fem guys like to claim non camp gay men are straight acting as in pretending to behave like straight men, when really they are just being average men, and just being themselves. This is why the distinction is important.

      • Steven Gregory

        “Straight acting” is demeaning to the person who is pretending to be something they aren’t.

        • Psychologist

          Indeed Steven. The very word “ACTING” reveals this.
          Why ACT ?

          • Steven Gregory

            I’ve been accused of being “straight acting.” I reply that I do gay things with gay men, nothing straight about it, no acting involved.

            Then a friend pointed out that I do “straight stuff” like changing my own oil or tuning up my car. I told him I had plenty of time, but not plenty of money, so I used my time instead of my money to get things done.

            Since we are economically similar, I taught him to change his oil and showed him where in the library to find the care manual for his car. He turned into a MONSTER of DIY, replacing all kinds of things on his car, including the busted seats and seat belts.

            I phoned and his roommate said he was installing a range hood he got from a friend. All this from a guy who wouldn’t even attempt a cheesecake, because he had no confidence. Changing tail lights or furnace filters or broken tiles on the roof: it’s all about confidence in yourself and your abilities.

            I’m convinced that genuine confidence, as well as the honesty to say “I don’t know” attracts gay men (and women) more than anything.

          • Psychologist

            My word Steven, you do say some very open, honest and quite profound things !
            When we get “right down to what it’s really all about” …. for me, it’s really more about contentment, feeling safe and secure, feeling OK about ourselves, feeling that we’re being honest with ourselves and who we REALLY are etc etc. All of those things add to our self-confidence, self-worth, and our sense of self-respect too. We are NOT all ONE person, we are all different, so in that respect, some of us may be more feminised in our brains, whilst others may feel more masculine in the way we naturally feel. Most of us fall somewhere between the extremes, probably more “somewhere in the middle”.
            But it’s really not about WHERE we might be on a “masculine/feminine” scale – it’s really far more about being our real authentic selves, no matter WHERE on that scale we might be.
            As you rightly say Steven, honesty and openness (even admitting that we “don’t know”) can be a VERY attractive quality to have. But at the same time have self-belief (confidence) in ourselves. This can be a difficult balance to achieve for people sometimes.
            Bottom line is …. just be our authentic selves – whoever that is.

    • Rehan

      You seem to imply that gay men who aren’t camp are ‘self-loathing, straight acting’. Can it only be one extreme or the other? Why is not possible to express dislike of Carr’s extreme mannerisms without being accused of being ‘self-loathing’? It’s really tiresome.

  • Dame Berta

    for heavens sake, hes a gay man, it takes all sorts to make a world, tolerance, for all, camp men in a gay world has always been frowned upon, people are what they are, The one thing you can say about they outrageous camp man is, they make the world sit up and take notice of the word GAY and in my eyes thats a dam good thing. So, put your dull jeans and dark tops in the fire put on a loud bright top, dye or hair pink, flounce down the road, arms in the air, screaming, stand out, be proud, enjoy yourself but above all, be tolerant.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      I’m afraid that if those you encourage to “put on a loud bright top, dye your hair pink, flounce down the road, arms
      in the air, screaming, stand out, be proud, enjoy yourself but above all” dared to do so past my home, ruining my peace and tranquillity, and the serenity and dignity of my neighbourhood, I will not be “best pleased”. May they confine themselves elsewhere: to the stage, to the cabaret club, or within their own homes.

      • Mr.Pink

        Wow, how very inclusive and in keeping with the spirit of equality and tolerance of those who are different to you !

      • rapture

        wow , next you’ll be demanding they are carted off to some ghetto/detention centre. What a hateful, homophobic bigot you are.

  • si

    Camp is the old stereotype that those of us old enough to grow up in the 70’s and 80’s tried so desperately to steer away from for fear of being ostracised and worse beaten up by family, peers and strangers. Because of this I can understand I flinch when my really camp friend and I are on the bus, not because of him but because of the reaction of others. Its gone on for so long that its ingrained.
    I hope that there is a better acceptance of camp guys from those who are growing up and living in a better (and by no means perfect) place to be gay.

  • Roger

    Why would Owen feel ashamed? The Carr thing is embarrassing not because he’s camp but because he’s demeaning himself as a cliche for the entertainment of straight people. Its not camp phobia, it’s a phobia of people demeaning themselves for others entertainment.

    • Serkan M

      Could it not be, that the very camp that ‘demeans’ him, he is now claiming? Much like Madonna did with her sexuality. Or black people with the ‘n’ word?

      • Rehan

        I don’t think women who find Madonna’s posturings vulgar, tasteless and boring are immediately labelled ‘self-loathing’ though.

        • Jesus_Mohammed

          Carr’s posturings are generally “vulgar, tasteless and boring” and I agree that one might hesitate to thus say he is “self-loathing”. One might say he’s just being shallow. On the other hand, Carr could be improving himself. (But then he wouldn’t be the jester making piles from the jesting.)

          • Rehan

            No no, I was referring to the way gay men who dislike Carr are promptly labelled ‘self-loathing’ (that label flung around thoughtlessly and inaccurately whenever anyone disagrees with someone opinionated).

        • Johnny

          Well said Rehan.

    • Steven Gregory

      Does Carr “demean” himself, really?
      Carr’s stunt helps draw attention to PETA, but unfortunately the reflection from gays bounces off a million puddles of self-loathing.

      • Jesus_Mohammed

        Steven, have you watched a “good” amount of Carr? Perhaps you can find him on YouTube. He doesn’t inspire me!

        • Steven Gregory

          I’ve watched a few things and he just doesn’t invite guests in whom I’m interested. I go for 2 out of 3 Graham Norton shows, and he’s quite camp.

  • knork

    I was more troubled he was promoting PETA!

    • Steven Gregory

      Did someone throw paint on your fur?

      • Rovex

        Maybe they just realised PETA is a vile organisation.

  • http://www.pariss.info Pariss

    “Gay men have a big problem with camp”
    I think that this is because most of us have grown up trying not to draw attention to ourselves (Not me, obviously!), trying to blend in with the crowd. Camp guys do the opposite. They stand out from the crowd. Therefore they make the non-camp guys defensive and wanting to distance themselves.

    • Rovex

      Not in the least. Ive heard this argument before, that somehow camp men are so brave for being visible and obvious. It doesnt wash at all.

      • Mr.Pink

        Of course they are brave – they face the risk of abuse or attack because they are easily identifiable. When you can “pass” for “straight” and wear jeans and a t-shirt you have a much lower risk of being identified or targeted.

        • Rovex

          Oh please, just about anyone that stands out is a target for any reason. Kids especially will pick on absolutely any trivial detail and use it against you.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      If we want to we can all “stand out from the crowd” by adopting loud and anti-social behaviour.

    • rapture

      I find gay men who are vehemently anti camp quite unnerving. I feel uncomfortable round them as they seem very uncomfortable with themselves and are so busy spitting and hissing about camp guys, they are delusional to how petty and perceivably camp they actually are. The irony.

      • Steven Gregory

        I live in a mid-size city (Denver) surrounded by farm and ranching states. Large numbers of gays and lesbians come here and are perfectly happy to be in the closet by day and nuts in the bars at night. They disapprove of anyone who might expose them. They’re tiring and terrified.

  • Steven Gregory

    I wasn’t offended by Carr’s campaign, but what does offend me is when people think it is a complement to tell me they didn’t think I was gay or I don’t look or act or talk gay. I am not complemented and I want people to know I’m gay and do gay things.

    I just happen to not have long eyelashes or an enchanting laugh — it sounds like a gorilla coughing. I own a white tuxedo with a pink ruffled shirt and Pat Boone white patent leather boots, and I wear the ensemble whenever possible because it sorts out fun people from non-fun.

    Why are gay men shamed by Alan Carr’s campaign? An out gay celebrity endorsing PETA would fetch plenty of derision in general. The sputtering indignity from gays is pitiful.

    The Irish drag queen Panti Bliss delivers an amazing speech on OPPRESSION. She talks about having something thrown at her by a carload of lads as they yelled “FAG!” and how she checked herself to figure out what tipped them off. She talks about being next to a friend on public transport who is excessively gay in his expression, while she’s trying to “butch up” and change the subject. She head-on addresses gays living with internalized shame and self-hatred.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      I think we need to recognise the difference between natural effeminacy and camp behaviour. The man who is naturally effeminate will probably be as naturally effeminate as the average woman, but does the average woman involve herself in camp? No. Only very occasionally do we find a woman in real life who continually indulges in the kind of outlandishness that is camp. And when we do meet her, we know it, don’t we. And I usually think, “Sweetheart, why are you carrying on like some stereotype you’ve seen in some cheap movie?”

      • Steven Gregory

        To be fair, quite high budget movies feature camp behavior.
        It is part of Carr’s trademark, which you’ve previously stated is not your cup of tea. I don’t know for sure, but am willing to bet money Carr isn’t camp 24/7. This is the last I have to say about it, because I don’t care if he’s camp. I’m moving on.

    • rapture

      Panti is a lot more self aware than some of the shower on here and also someone I would much prefer to be associated with gay, than a weak, submissive , passive , non-camp(in his mind anyhow) victim of some internalised shame and despite too under the radar. It’s like ,their embarrassed in their own skin on someone else’s behalf, when they bleat on about camp guys.

      • Steven Gregory

        That embarrassment is self loathing.
        One of my favorite bumper stickers might apply here:
        “Confidence is Sexier than Compensation”

        • rapture

          I agree, some gay men are very repressed and controlled in their insecurity about appearing or been seen as gay/camp/effeminate in public , hence emulating badly perceived notions of traditional machismo mannerisms/behaviour(although heterosexual males are enjoying the liberation of metrosexuality) , but their exaggerated behaviourisms are obvious . It explains why there is the overwhelming stench of transphobia in the gay scene .

          • Steven Gregory

            Sadly, in any group there are plenty of people who seek to elevate themselves and do it by standing on the necks of others.

            Transphobia, sexism, ageism, racism are all rampant in the G/L community. When I worked for a newspaper with a predominantly African-American readership, I was stunned at the level of blatant, open racism and economic bias.

          • Rovex

            Or some people are just not camp and find it extremely irritating. On no level is it insecurity, internalised homophobia or any other buzz term invented by the camp men that think they own gayness.

          • Psychologist

            Actually … you are HALF correct ….. because in reality, it can be BOTH !
            I agree that, It may well be that a gay man may well feel somewhat more masculine in his “authentic self”, so his behaviour and mannerisms will naturally outwardly reflect that. I agree with you on that concept.
            However, especially during therapy sessions, I’ve seen many men “adapt” to a highly masculine form of presenting themselves, as that is what they perceive is expected of them (conditioning to be masculine) ! However, if that is NOT what is REALLY being felt inside, then they have created an inner-conflict between the real feelings, and the “false self” being outwardly presented to others. “Internalised homophobia” is what often causes this (in openly gay men, and especially in gay men who are in denial) where the general homophobia, anti-gay negativity, bigotry, and hostility from society in general, “conditions” the men to “act” more masculine (perhaps perceived to be “more straight”) in order to “conform” (fit in, be more accepted) by society, their family or social group.
            Underlying this, is a primeval need to conform in order to be accepted (to avoid rejection) which leads to a “Locus of Evaluation” being too EXTERNALLY based. i.e. we value the views of how we perceive OTHERS want us to be, rather than simply being our “authentic selves” by validating our OWN feelings.

          • Rovex

            Spare me the psychobabble please, besides the reverse is also true of men faking camp to fit in to what they consider is normal gay society.

          • Psychologist

            Rovex, despite your obvious insult of accusing me of “psychobabble”, when all I was doing was explaining my day to day experiences of how internalised homophobia can manifest itself – I actually AGREE with your new comment here. YES, the reverse can also be true too. It is true to say that sometimes, gay men may well “act more camp” (than they really feel inside) in order to (once again) fit in (conform) to the perceived behaviour of the social group they happen to be in.
            And that’s EXACTLY my point ! We ALL tend to adapt, to a greater or lesser degree to “perceived social norms” in whatever setting we come across them.
            It’s also true to say that – the less secure a person is in themselves, the MORE likely they will be to conform (as their need to fit in will be higher). The more emotionally secure someone is, the LESS they are willing to adapt to social norms, so a lower degree of conformity will be found.

        • Psychologist

          Love the bumper sticker Steven, – how true it is !

          • Steven Gregory

            Compensation is so easy to spot, it makes me wonder what people are hiding or who they’re trying to impress. I was invited to the HRC dinner a few years ago. I picked up my date and we arrived in my old rusty Subaru, skipped the valet and parked a couple of blocks away. I saw car after car disgorging people I knew, but it wasn’t their vehicle — they had sprung for rental cars, shiny and new.

          • Psychologist

            Yes, indeed Steven. We refer to it as “conformity” in general. The need to be highly conformist stems from a primeval need to be accepted by our family/tribe/society/social group etc.
            As you point out, it’s really quite easy to spot – “people pleasers” is often a layman’s term to describe it. Having a “locus of evaluation” which is TOO externally based, leads to leading one’s life by how we PERCIEVE others wish us too.
            This, by definition, leads to having to INVALIDATE/deny some part of ourselves. (Not healthy !)

    • Psychologist

      Yes, Steven, I agree. “Internalised homophobia” as we refer to it, is commonly found in even openly gay men (but much more so found in men who are totally or partially in denial). It is brought about by a person “internalising” (buying into/absorbing) the general “social homophobia” (anti-gay negativity in society, especially from religions) and then acting MORE on those internalisations, than their OWN real feelings. This is a form of CONFORMITY (appeasement as you referred to it) in order to be/feel “accepted”.
      In therapy, we refer to this situation as “Locus of Evaluation” – where the place from which one evaluates themselves is TOO EXTERNALLY based. ie Listening too much to what OTHERS expect us to be, instead of being self-empowered sufficiently to just be ourselves, and who we really are.
      The pathway to contentment and happiness is based on being our true selves – NOT conforming to external pressures or expectations of others.
      I should also add that this is NOT a criticism in any way. When one stops to consider the MASSIVE amount of anti-gay negativity, homophobia, and general bigotry, discrimination and abuse that LGBT people have had to endure for decades, it’s really quite easy to see why so many people have “internalised” some of that bad stuff, without even knowing that they have.
      I often have to undo the anti-gay/homophobic conditioning during therapy, in order to reduce the negative effect on the client (which can often lead to depression etc). This often involves challenging the homophobic conditioning from religion which began the process of “internalisation”.
      My conclusion over many years of this … religions do more damage to people that practically any other organisation. They should be banned from the planet !

      • Steven Gregory

        I’ve learned to have calm, respectful conversations with people about religion; but when they begin to feel ill-equipped to discuss or defend their beliefs they become angry. Thoroughly pitiful.

        I have had a few friends who stayed in the conversation, took mental notes, approached religious friends or leaders, and on many occasions were told to accept it by “faith” and stay away from me.

        A couple didn’t and are glad. I told them that they needed to get answers from the people who were trying to guide their lives. Just that little nudge was all they needed to take action, stop being absorbent without question, and figure out WHY answers weren’t forthcoming. They made their own decisions and took charge.

        I would often love for religion to make sense so I could glide along like a baby in a pram.

        • Psychologist

          What you say here resonates a great deal with me. I see this regularly in therapy, where a religion is running someone’s life, INSTEAD of the person themselves. This puts them in the “agentic” state, were in the extreme, they feel themselves to be nothing more than an AGENT of the “conditioned” perceived higher power, they call GOD !
          If someone tried to invent religion today, as a concept, they would end up being referred into therapy !

  • Andy

    Who cares about what a self publicist like Owen Jones feels. How about we all make our own minds up about the Alan Carr ad and not rely on somebody to tell us what to think.
    It surely cannot have escaped people’s notice that Carr has a camp personality on TV – like it or not. I personally don ‘t.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      I agree with you that the time has come to take a fresh look at Owen Jones. Up until now I’ve admired almost his every move and statement. Now I see that he appears to have succumbed to the thirst for publicity. He’s getting to like being in the spotlight.

  • Jesus_Mohammed

    All this brouhaha was started by a camp simpleton (Alan Carr) who tossed out the statement “The most homophobia I get is from gays” and people like Owen Jones have failed to consider the circumstances of the statement carefully enough, namely that what Carr really meant was that a lot of gay men object to his pathetically camp behaviour. And so we may! Carr’s behaviour is not an intrinsic part of homosexuality, and Car, like Grayson, and Inman, and Norton, is doing us little service. Objecting to his carry-on is not to be homophobic. Obviously.

    Thank goodness we now have a good range of sound and reputable gay and lesbian role models, and young gay men can see that shallow theatricals are not the only well-known gay men in society.

    • Serkan M

      Can I ask you, do you make a distinction between ‘camp’ and ‘feminine’ behaviour?

  • David Greensmith

    If someone is naturally camp, then they are who they are. There is nothing “wrong” or funny about that. I’ve heard people complain that Gay Pride is all about blokes with moustaches wearing drag and that not every gay man wants to prance around in a pink tutu. I feel that somewhat misses the point of Pride – that you should be free to be who you are. That said, I find Carr’s “campness” insulting in the same way that John Inman and Larry Grayson were insulting. Their campness is simply a prop – a device for getting cheap laughs at their expense and at the expense of every other camp gay man. They are clowns who are funny only because of their campness and that is as insulting as the “wide eyed” black stereotypes from early cinema. Carr can claim that the negative reaction he gets from gay people is “homophobia”. It isn’t. It’s a response to HIS homophobic portrayal of himself.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      No one is “naturally camp”, David. But some people have become “high skilled” at doing camp. And some of them have merged into their entire behaviour, so they do it 24/7. Look at them and their history closely and you’ll find the points at which they began to act in that way. Then you can ask why they chose to do so? One thing is for sure. It’s an easy way of expressing oneself, of “sounding off”.

      • David Greensmith

        What evidence do you have that no one is “naturally camp”? I would counter that I have known more than one straight man who are naturally camp. I’m not sure that is a learned behaviour. Since I don’t have access to the histories of the people I do know who are camp, I can’t find the point they began to act that way. For some people it happens very, very early in life.

      • rapture

        You sound like one of the anti gay mob saying that gay is not natural. Where is your proof that “no one is naturally cap”

  • Johnny

    The religious fundamentalists think there is something intrinsically wrong with gay men because we dont think or behave as they believe we should and consider all of us to be paedophiles. The gay fundamentalists think there is something intrinsically wrong with gay men who are not camp because we do not think or behave as they believe we should and consider all of us to be self loathers.

    Just goes to show all fundamentalists are tarred with the same brush regardless of what side of the fence they are on.

  • Mr.Pink

    A large part of the problem is many gay men feel their gayness undermines their masculinity by default,so they try to over-compensate by being as stereotypically “macho” in every other way. It is interesting how they adopt heterosexual stereotypes in an effort to avoid homosexual stereotypes!

    Then of course when you’re out, people often want to distance themselves from the “camp” guys in order to get the approval of heterosexual people because they know heterosexual people often don’t like “camp” guys but prefer guys who look/talk/dress/act exactly like heterosexual people.

    Of course this is down to rigid gender roles, 1950s definitions of masculinity, insecurity and sexism; not so much internalized homophobia although that often does factor into it.

    I’m as “straight acting” as you get but can’t stand it when people degenerate camp guys like Alan Carr and say they make them look bad – ironically, it makes them seem like very insecure “fags” !

  • Steven Gregory

    Owen, it’s okay.
    You’re welcome to rest your head on my shoulder as we pass the advert and I will shield your view with my hand.

    Seriously, we have a lot of internalized emotion to overcome. Before we started becoming our selves, many of us heard ugly things and tried to hide our true nature. I know for me that “Appeasement Mode” kicked in and lasted several years. What is Appeasement Mode? It was me trying to be the best queer ever, so people wouldn’t think I was like “them.”

    What happened? Queers like “them” became my friends, or I observed them doing wonderful things both small and heroic. I also saw queers like me outperforming “them” when it came to behaviors both regrettable and reprehensible.

    I kept asking not to be judged as part of a group, but I was judging by much of the same criteria. An awful lot of queers go through life avoiding FUN because it might be objectionable to someone.

  • Darzan

    …having to say this again and again is annoying because society simply does not recognise straight men can actually be gay and in the closet! People should start realising that many men who act straight aren’t necessarily straight. It’s no surprise that closet gays get scared of any camp or effeminate behaviour from other men as they feel threatened that they might get their covers blown.

    • Rovex

      Or many of us openly gay men just aren’t camp. This notion that we must have a sign on our heads saying we are gay in big pink letters is offensive.

      Sure its easier to hide, it doesnt mean we do. I certainly dont.

  • Guest

    No, I’ve had it with being fed up of stereotypes. Camp gays exist, get over it!

  • Dex Bracewell

    No, I’m fed up with slamming stereotypes, especially with other gay men I can connect with. Camp gays exist, get over it!

    • Rovex

      Far more gay men are not camp than are camp, but the camp ones are given the air time because they are cartoonish and loud.

      • Dex Bracewell

        And I’ve seen plenty of gay men on TV and online who act just as manly as you do. I don’t give a damn who acts like what.

        • Rovex

          Well you dont know me so cant make that assessment. Personally I see very very few.

  • Edgar Carpenter

    Alan Carr is often amusing. He’s also an unusually kind man in real life, something few of his critics can claim about themselves.

    And he’s lovely in wings.

    Alan doesn’t nag you about your obsession with butching it up, why should you nag him about his enjoyment of wearing fairy wings and acting silly?

    I’d much rather be Alan than some poor sod who’s constantly worried that his wrists might be too relaxed, or his voice might be pitched too high, or his clothes might be too coordinated.

    • Rovex

      The fact is that few of us condemn Carr for being like he is. I actually find him amusing most of the time. The issue is purely about him claiming he got homohobia from other gays for being camp, when he did not.

  • Guest

    A middle class boy who dumped his middle class accent in order to give himself credibility in championing the rights of chavs posing as white working class. What next? Becoming camp to champion gay rights?

  • http://www.derekwilliams.net Derek Williams

    Camp men had nowhere to hide in the Stonewall days and so they copped
    all the homophobic abuse, much of it coming from closeted gay men, but
    it was they who laid the way for the freedoms we enjoy today. It takes
    all kinds to make a world. Live and let live, and show by example that
    there’s room for everyone, even you.

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