And yes, I said people, not liberals.
Everyone likes to be a victim. It makes it so much easier to live life if we can blame someone else for all our failings.
It’s never my fault. It’s sexism or homophobia or racism. I’m a victim here!
It’s the reason why people in my generation have started to consider just about anything that inconveniences them (or simply annoys them) as an “ism”.
Sexism, racism, classism, ableism, ageism, fat shaming, slut shaming, virgin shaming, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia…I could continue, but you get my point.
And everyone that has accomplished anything in life hasn’t done it because they worked hard and did their best…it happened because of “privilege”. An insidious little word that is also there to allow people to feel like a victim of some sort of societal schema, while simultaneously feeling better about themselves when they fail.
And for some the victimhood provides them a sense of solidarity (the gay community, filled with people who literally only have/had two things definitely in common…the fact that they are attracted to the same sex and the fact that they were not all allowed to marry in all states) and purpose (see all those 3rd wave feminists, desperately seeking the next “oppression” they can fight). Victimhood is an automatic membership card to a club and everyone likes to be part of an exclusive club.
Of course it’s not just the liberal groups that like to do this. They are just the ones with the veritable cornucopia of names and definitions set up to identify all the reasons their failures aren’t their fault…so it’s so much more fun to mock them for it.
Nothing is so humorous or disturbing as when a previously “marginalized” group wins a victory, such as last week’s Supreme Court case that legalized gay marriage in the United States, and you find that some members of that group are waxing nostalgic for the “good old days” when they were more marginalized.
That’s, oddly enough, what an article from the New York Times on the 26th of June was all about.
Historic Day for Gays, but Twinge of Loss for an Outsider Culture
This popped up in my newsfeed the other day, probably thanks to Drudge Report as I can assure you that I don’t actually follow the NYT’s RSS feed outside of peak election season.
But the article, as much as it pains me to admit it, isn’t bad actually. It’s well researched, with a lot of quotes from interviewed subjects.
The problem isn’t the New York Times, this time, it’s the people they interviewed.
“The thing I miss is the specialness of being gay,” said Lisa Kron, who wrote the book and lyrics for “Fun Home,” a Broadway musical with a showstopping number sung by a young girl captivated by her first glimpse of a butch woman. “Because the traditional paths were closed, there was a consciousness to our lives, a necessary invention to the way we were going to celebrate and mark family and mark connection. That felt magical and beautiful.”
Ms. Kron is 54, and her sentiments seem to resonate among gay people of her generation and older. “People are missing a sense of community, a sense of sharing,” said Eric Marcus, 56, the author of “Making Gay History.”
“There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community,” Mr. Marcus said.
This is, for the sake of hyperbolic comparison, like an African American bemoaning the lack of slavery in the United States because, “sure it sucked, but we had such a great community because we all had that slavery thing in common”.
This idea that things were “better” in some way when you had oppression to blame for your troubles and victimhood to create bonds of brotherhood is both troubling and hilarious.
Also not particularly new.
In 2011 I wrote an article* (more a response to an article that was, in turn, a response to a book) in which I tried to puzzle my way through way a gay activist would write a book that essentially told all gay people that being marginalized was better for them.
This is a topic I’ve addressed before in my blog, in fact I wrote a blog about it rather recently where I compared the fight for gay rights to the fight for mutant rights in the X-Men universe.
In that article I made it clear that I want to normalize, I don’t want to marginalize, because being gay is not my identity and I don’t feel that I have a social obligation “to challenge how gender and sexuality are viewed in normative culture” as Bronski believes.
To be marginalized is to allow your identity to be shoved into a tiny box based on some characteristic…Bronski is essentially begging us to uphold the stereotype that the religious right holds against homosexuals, that we are “inherently subversive and revolutionary, longing for the basic institutions of the heterosexual world to be torn down” and we don’t want to be normal. This is the stereotype that has hurt our fight for equal rights for so long.
Now to be sure I think that Michael Bronski and Lisa Kron are in the extreme minority of the gay community. In fact, to finish quoting Eric Marcus in the NYT article up top:
“There is something wonderful about being part of an oppressed community,” Mr. Marcus said. But he warned against too much nostalgia. The most vocal gay rights activists may have celebrated being outsiders, but the vast majority of gay people just wanted “what everyone else had,” he said — the ability to fall in love, have families, pursue their careers and “just live their lives.”
I’m sure he’s completely right. That’s all I want from my life. I have no interest in bullying those who don’t accept my sexual orientation and definitely no interest in challenging gender roles or general societal conventions, accept those that are detrimental to freedom. I’m sure that’s the same as 99% of other gay people in this country.
But it’s curious and disturbing to me that even 1% of gay people might be looking back in some nostalgic way at the days when we all knew what it was like to hide in the closet for years, to not be open to live our lives openly and honestly or form family units of our own. All out of some misplaced political agenda (in Bronski’s case) or some nostalgic view of how the “gay community” functioned as a unit.
Despite all my ethical issues with the possible violation of the 10th amendment in this Supreme Court decision (and with all the times I will undoubtedly have to call out the liberal gay community because they start some halfwitted attack on the 1st amendment), and the fact that I would have much preferred a solution that removed government from marriage entirely…I still prefer a world in which I can marry if I choose too, to a world where I have to live my whole life in a closet just because some of the gay community is too agoraphobic to deal with a world where the gay community doesn’t band together like a group of freshman sorority girls at their first kegger.
*So forgive the quality, I was pretty new to this blogging thing back then