Aug. 20th, 2010


Aug. 20th, 2010 09:42 pm
scottahill: (Default)
I was reading a conservative editorial about Gay Pride events-- he thought it was illogical to be proud about something like homosexuality which is inborn (give him credit for acknowledging that bit): you can be proud of something you've written or something you've done or something you've said, but it seemed silly to him to express pride for something you had nothing to do with. And I have to admit that I had similar reactions myself to such events at Williams. But because the argument was coming from someone I wanted to disagree with, I finally figured it out: it's the wrong definition of pride. The "pride" in Gay Pride, I think, is not the pride of accomplishment so much as just the opposite of shame. When a group of people is told that they should feel ashamed for who they are or what they need, it is good to counter that shame with its opposite, and shout to the world that what I am is good. This puts an entirely new spin on this for me: for example, if I express pride in my skill as a teacher, I am suggesting that being a good teacher is better than being a bad teacher. But a Gay Pride event does not imply that being gay is better than not; simply that it is a good thing to be.

So for any past disparaging remarks I've made, particularly about Women's Pride events which particularly got to me: I apologize. I get it now. :)

Now, this author went on to wonder why we don't have Heterosexual Pride days as well (tongue-in-cheek on his part, because he thinks the whole thing is absurd). From my reasoning above, I'd say that being straight is a good thing and one should certainly not be ashamed of it. But I'd say that Pride events are only really appropriate when there has been some public shaming going on. Straight people, as far as I know, are never made to feel ashamed of their heterosexuality, and so no event is needed to counter such shame.

But how about men? I would argue that men have to face a lot of shame for being men: we are often seen as potential rapists, potentially violent, potential child abusers. Men's gender roles are, I would say, more proscribed than women's these days, which means lots of room for shame. Boys, who tend to be more rambunctious in class, are told they should behave more like the girls who are listening nicely. (I'm assuming that stereotype still holds true.) So being male is not quite like being straight: yes, both are privileged positions, but at the same time there is some stigma attached to being male, and so I'd say that one can and should talk about Men's Pride in the same spirit as Women's Pride: not that being male or female is better, but that being male or female* is good. (Or if you're in between, that's good too.)


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