13 April 2009

Unabashed Real Man: A Response from the Author of the Esquire Piece

Tom Chiarella
April 12 at 6:01pm
I'm not sure what you want me to say, but I don't really blame you for being angry. Wasn't my favorite assignment ever, I can tell you and there was much wrestling on the edits. The presumptive heterosexuality of the world must get a little maddening. Obviously it does, hence the website (The Unabashed Queer) I suppose.I liked my first draft of that piece a lot better than what ran, and what ran on yahoo, with those stupid categories just infuriated me. The piece says nothing about "real men" I promise. That's just some stupid headline yahoo made up.What can I say? It'd be a little two faced to apologize, since I can tell you I was sensitive to a lot of this stuff going in. I knew I would take my hits. I had no idea it would go up on yahoo. Personally I love the word snatch however-- why is that disgusting?-- and the word cock was edited out, which just pissed me off. So, what does that add up to? I don't know; I just want to say point taken, made, whatever. Sometimes love the idea of writing something complex in a short space, other times I think that job just sucks. Maybe the link is enough, and maybe you've said your piece but I'm happy to converse about it. Feel free to write me back.Tom

The Unabashed Queer
Today at 11:39am
Thank you for your thoughtful response, Tom.Yes, my website is a response to the mainstream, the heteronormative. I'm always eager to read something about the meaning of a man, or qualities a man should have, etc. Especially when it comes from a heterosexist source (such as Esquire). It's not two-faced to apologize. I understand writing a piece as a job--I guess it's akin to an attorney who represents a client she believes is guilty. My problem with the word "snatch," personally, is that it seems like a close cousin to cunt. Coming from a presumably straight white man makes it even more questionable. It doesn't sound like a term of endearment by any means. The kind of discourse in your piece adds fuel to an already raging fire of misogyny, one that looks at women as objects and encourages men to adhere to certain standards lest their manhood be threatened. I know it is never easy or pleasant to read a personal attack so I appreciate your understanding and sensitivity. To me, that kind of sensitivity, the ability to identify with those of varying identities is the true mark of a man (or woman or anything in between). Instead of what makes a man a man and what makes a woman a woman, aren't we really asking what makes us adults? When do we leave the ignorance and irresponsibility of childhood behind and step up to the plate?

No comments: