One of the problems of the Left in the US is that they can’t get past the rhetoric of hating on Bush. So without being able to articulate a poltical/social/economic agenda that extends beyond just being opposed to Bush or Republicans(which suggests that the Left (liberals in particular), don’t really disagree with Bush doctrine, they just don’t liike the fact that he (and his administration) is disinterested in engaging them in the performance of “negotiation.”
But since I blogged a last week about the racial/sexual/poltical dynamics of touching, in that case Barbara Walters tugging at R&B star Brandy’s hair while asking “is it real?” I saw this news story about Bush that I thought was appropriate to blog about.
Bush recently came under fire for massaging German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She looked completely horrified, so there was no doubt it was unwanted. What’s interesting this video, is that it gives you a window into the modus operandi of someone who is normally so guarded in front of media. It’s quite skeevy, because it appears (to me, anyhow) that this is how he always comports himself around women. It makes me feel like exactly how she looks to react to it…”ICK!!!!” I don’t think that most men understand how it feels to be groped by someone you have not given consent to be groped by.
But gay men I think experience that to some extent. Sometimes it happens with other gay men in gay establishments. For me, as a Black gay man, I am almost always groped by white men. A few years ago, I used to love going to the Wonder Bar, in New York’s East Village. It was racially mixed space for the most part, but I went primarily because I loved DJ Sharee, who was the resident weekend DJ for many years. She, in a nutshell, seemed to show up for work with my music collection in tow.
In any case, I remember once complaining to a white gay friend that men there always grabbed my crotch, or squeezed my ass. He replied, “That never happens to me.”
It wasn’t that he wasn’t approached be men interested in him sexually, but they didn’t feel empowered to fondle him the way they would me, or likely dozens of other men of color who frequented the bar. It was shortly after this point that I realized the racial/sexual dynamics of this space. It dawned on me that after nearly 5 years of being a regular at this bar, that of the scores of men that approached me, only two were men of color (both Black) ever approached me. By the same token, only one or two ever repsonded to me, while the rest looked on with indifference or outright indignance. If the space existed, or had come to exist, to be a place where white (mostly European) men could pick up artsy/bohemian Black, Latino, Asian men (if they wanted “homothugs” or whatnot, they were to be found in The Warehouse, Escuelita, or The Hangar). Therefore, it was perfectly acceptable for them to grope me. If that was the name of the game, I was supposed to be honored they wanted to play it.
But gay men also get groped during childhood. If we are perceived to be gay as children or move through the world in ways that are gendered “feminine” we are often subjected to groping, fondling, and sometimes sexual assault that women and girls are subjected to, as a tool of domination.
One would think that these dynamics would change how many gay men, of whatever race, then respond to women and women’s bodies. I have seen many gay men grope women’s breasts or ass (and had women friend complain of this this behavior from gay men.) as if because they (supposedly) aren’t sexually aroused by women’s bodies, that that makes it OK for them to grope women in ways that are inappropriate for a man who is sexually attracted to, and/or sexually active with, women.
Whether at the gay bar, on an entertainment talk show (which accrding to reports, was essentially Barbara interviewing Brandy for Star Jones’ job. Can you imagine a potential employer putting their hands on you, in your hair, on a job interview!?) , or at an international meeting of heads of state, dominator culture–and subjugation via physical/sexual contact based on race & gender, is ever present, and ever at play.