We hear a lot of complaints about the mainstream media stereotyping gay men and lesbians. But in the last week I've seen much of the gay community go out of its way to reinforce the stereotype that we're all just a bunch of nancy queens who don't know a football from a basketball...and yes, listen to Madonna.
Stereotypes just don't bug me much. Some people fall into them, others don't. Heck, I certainly fall into some. I prefer a fruity martini over beer. I'd rather watch 'Real Housewives' than 'The Sopranos.' And then there's that whole prefers-sex-with-men thing.
But boy did we gay-gay-gay it up last week. From Chelsea to West Hollywood, you'd have thought 115 million people were actually tuning into a Madonna concert with a football game as the side show, not the other way around.
The picture above is from a promotion I found last Thursday at Revolver in West Hollywood. "MADONNA HALFTIME SHOW! (also, it's superbowl sunday)." That pretty much sums up the thoughts I heard and the Facebook messages I read over the last couple weeks...
- "You mean those men throwing the ball around sandwiching the Madonna concert?"
- "another amazing party for the Madonna concert, errr, Super Bowl!"
Gay comedian Billy Eichner did a horribly un-original piece for Conan O'Brien (below) in which he ran around Indianapolis wanting to talk to people only about Madonna. He must have dug to the depths of his creativity for that one.
To be sure, Madonna was part of the Super Bowl story. Our headline at Outsports referenced both the Giants and Madonna "winning" on Sunday. Plenty of mainstream outlets talked about Madonna's halftime show and propped it up alongside the game. Often the halftime shows are part of the game. Last week I watched a replay of the Rams-Patriots Super Bowl; They included U2's halftime performance in the condensed replay. I get that.
But this "who cares about the game when there are commercials and Madonna" mantra is just kind of...tired. We get it, we get it, gays aren't supposed to like sports. We're supposed to think of "Like a Prayer" when Tim Tebows. Images of "Greta Garbo and Monroe, Dietrich and DiMaggio" should dance in our heads as athletes perform touchdown celebrations. We get it, and there's some validity to it.
Most stereotypes are rooted somewhere. As Jim noted in his post-game column, about 60% of the (mostly gay) people at our Super Bowl party watched most of the game; 100% of them watched the halftime show (conversely, I watched 100% of the game and talked to my brother on the phone about the first half through most of Madonna's set; I later watched it, she was awesome).
I don't care if people love Madonna. I had my moments with her (somehow she lost it for me after Evita). And I embrace the stereotypes of our community.
But I'd just love a little more room for sports fans and athletes. When I came out in 1996, I was met with lots of dismissive "oh that's so butch" comments when I said I played football or love the NFL. It wasn't surprising back then. But in 2012, it's a little surprising to me; And I still get that "oh that's so butch" reaction from time to time (though much less frequently than 16 years ago).
I got into some heat a couple years ago when I took Jesse Tyler Ferguson to task for feeling the need to demonstrably show just how little about sports gay men know. People said I was inconsistent, and maybe I am. I just don't like the continual perpetuation of this "what gay man watches sports?" mantra. I remember being a kid struggling with that; Today we still hear from young athletes and sports fans who struggle with it.
I want those kids to feel they can celebrate who they are, even if they're a Buffalo Bills fan. I want the people who are Madonna maniacs to celebrate who they are too. I'd just love to see them stop diminishing each other. It's not particularly funny or original in 2012.