One attack men today find themselves under is their sexuality. Like so much else today, men are confused as to what is supposedly acceptable so far as showing affection to another man, and what isn’t. Needless to say, this is fodder for feminists who attack men.
For example, under the whole “Masculinity so fragile” movement, I came across this tidbit:
For those of you unfamiliar with this–because it’s not as common as this tweeter pretends–is if two guys hug or something, they allegedly have to declare “no homo” or else one of them is clearly gay.
To be honest, from my limited experience with this, it’s a freaking joke. It’s nothing more than guys finding a new way to horse around and possibly trip up their buddy and have something new to rag him about. That’s it.
However, I don’t know every man that has ever said “no homo” and therefore it is possible that the term has a different purpose. I do know that many men are worried about showing affection to other men because they are afraid of being labeled as gay.
Can’t imagine why they would be concerned about that.
Oh, maybe because there are people who see homoeroticism in everything. For example, in Captain America: Civil War, one of the themes of the film is brotherly love, particularly between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. The two are lifelong friends, after all. Oh, and there are people complaining they weren’t gay.
So while Marvel was likely never going to make the homoerotic subtext of Cap and Bucky into text, would it really have hurt to keep their relationship more ambiguous? As if to put the nail in the coffin of speculation, Bucky and Cap paused for a moment in the middle of snowy Siberia to reminisce about their days chasing skirts in pre-War Brooklyn. It’s a sweet, human bonding moment but one that also bristles with heterosexual virility. If Disney isn’t inclined to give audiences a gay superhero, couldn’t they have at least left us the dream of Bucky and Cap?
This. This right here is why “no homo” exists. Let’s be clear, there’s no subtext except what some fans try to will into existence.
Captain America isn’t the only place this argument comes into play, either.
Top Gun, the 80’s film about elite Navy fighter pilots starring Tom Cruise, is supposedly filled with gay stuff. Others have argued it exists in TV shows like Sherlock, Supernatural, Star Trek, and others. Probably the most famous example is Batman, however.
However, at no point have the creators of these characters ever agreed that any homoerotic subtext was included. None. That means these characters were intended to have heterosexual relationships with other men because they were heterosexual.
By taking genuine affection between two straight male characters and arguing it is really signs of latent homosexuality, these people–many of whom are women, I might add–create an environment where men fear being perceived as gay for showing any affection for another man.
Now, being gay doesn’t make you any less of a man than if you’re straight. It’s my opinion that if you’re gay and you act like a man, then you’re a man. Period.
However, the point is still there that on one hand men are told we’re too stoic, too robotic, and we should be free to show affection for one another. On the other, once we do, we legitimately are concerned that we’ll be perceived as gay based on many people’s reaction to “bro love”.
So, some men throw “no homo” in there to protect themselves. They use it as a shield against the “Oh, they’re hugging…I knew they were gay” comments they’re sure will come otherwise. From women.
“But if they’re not gay, why should they worry?” some might ask.
Well, the answer is simple. They worry because the perception of being gay can cause awkward situations with women, among other things. Women who view a guy as gay send the wrong signals to the guys, then feel betrayed when it turns out her new BFF is attracted to her.
Guys don’t want that, so they do what they can for impression management.
Like so many other things, this represents part of the minefield men have to navigate in today’s world, and we shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to worry about our every move being criticized because someone–usually a woman–sees fit to misinterpret something and file it under “gay” without any cause except their own vivid imagination.
While there is nothing wrong with being gay, there’s also no reason straight men should have to defend themselves as being straight any more than women who turn down men for sex should have to defend themselves from being lesbians.