Dead Horse? Beat Away: Exgay Lobbyist’s Fixation on the Formerly Fab Five
There is much that one might find wrong with the fashion industry — superficiality, materialism, runaway consumption, impractical and overpriced designs, and overrepresentation of New York and LA cultural influences. A sensible critique of the industry’s ethics by a social conservative would be most welcome.
Exodus lobbyist Randy Thomas isn’t bothered by ethics, however — except when the fashionistas are gay. Only then does he see something awry. And instead of looking for current problems with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Thomas still imagines the same stereotypes that plagued his review of the show two years ago:
Thomas blames Fab Five homosexuality, of all things, for the fashion industry’s values; Thomas then proceeds (without substantiation) to accuse the apolitical Fab Five of “gay ideology” and gender-role confusion. Thomas falsely assumes the Five aren’t Christian simply because they’re not outspoken evangelicals. He assumes the Five are sissies; in fact, all but Carson Kressley are conventionally masculine. And, most important, Thomas overlooks the central theme of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘s current season: Affirmation and support for heterosexual marriages.
The Fab Five’s defense of traditional values seems beyond Thomas’ comprehension. He is impaired in his ability to perceive people and ideas that might disprove his stereotypes. He criticizes the Five for half-joking correctness toward heterosexual men when Thomas, by comparison, exhibits all-too-serious correctness in his finger-wagging at homosexual and bisexual men.
While the Fab Five can be patronizing, their affirmations of marriage, and of the couple undergoing each week’s makeover, give hope to audiences that the mass media can still offer positive portrayals of marriage.
This affirmation is the central theme of the show, but Thomas does not see it. He has a plank in his eye: superficiality. With his own vision obstructed by superficiality, it is little wonder, then, why he perceives so many other people to be superficial.
If Thomas is truly concerned about superficiality in society, then after he removes the plank from his eye, he might consider reviewing a TV program that really does obsess over image rather than family. That program: Project Runway.
While QESG matured with its hosts and settled down to help straight couples marry, Runway portrays young designers aggressively chasing industry values that are determined, not by homosexuals, but by image-conscious women whose values are shaped by Mattel’s Barbie doll, who grow up to buy luxury fashions, and who — as a collective market — control Madison Avenue.
Thomas warns that “the world is learning how self-identified gay men would remake society into their image.” But what would that remade society consist of, according to the current season of QESG? The answer: Traditional marriage. Thomas’s warning is not prophetic; it is Chicken Little.
Thomas concludes, “[O]thers of us will seek to allow God to liberate us into His image which bypasses the exterior and satiates the heart.” A nice thought, but Thomas’ perception remains consumed by the exterior. Thomas has not allowed God to liberate him; his mind remains enslaved by stereotypes — and by his mistaken assumption that others share or even exceed his own superficiality.
Addendum: The White Peril reminds me that Thomas’ propaganda tactic has a name: It is called confirmation bias.
“Men and women have tried to remake others into their own definitions for a long time. Even we in the Church should consider repentance for re-modeling others into our image instead of guiding them to the Lord and His teachings.”
(taken from the article)
I found this article interesting, because it acknowledged, in passing, one of the primary problems with ex-gay ideology and the pursuit of heterosexuality pushed upon homosexuals by conservative Christianity: It all centers around becoming someone you are not. I spent several years pursuing friendships that I had no interest in so I could become “more masculine”, avoiding people who were my true friends because they would make me “more feminine”, diverting my talents, my interests, my musical taste, and whatever else you can think of to fall into what I percieved as God’s mold for what a man is. It is interesting to see, considering the source, an article that acknowledges the same: Being a Christian does not mean fitting a cultural or societal model for behavior or personality; God can take you as you are and use your uniqueness for His kingdom and your fulfillment.
(The issue arrives when you try to decide whether or not homosexual desires are a part of a person, or an “extra” that can be discarded)
What does God say about teeth whitening and hair product? (has he taken a look at his pic?) This guy is supertwink!
“in fact, all but Carson Kressley are conventionally masculine”
Jai? Conventionally masculine? Compared to whom, Miss Coco Peru? I think he’s adorable as can be and it’s fine with me cuz I like my boys a bit fem, but that boy ain’t masculine.
But you make a good point. It seems to me that a few of them, Ryan and Ted in particular, are really having to ham it up to be as campy as they are on the first segment of each show. And once the first few minutes of silliness are over, they’re pretty much like any other guy you’d meet.
As for Project Runway, oooooohmigod. I saw it for the first time last week and was hooked. It has absolutely no redeeming values, is comprised of the bitchiest queens (male and female), caters to the absolutely the worst in the contestants, and is totally captivating.
But perhaps why Thomas doesn’t care about PR is because of the target audience. Uncle Joe in his barcalounger in Scranton isn’t going to watch Project Runway. Oddly enough, though, he does tune in to QEST (or at least doesn’t complain when Aunt Mary turns it on).
And perhaps that’s why QEST has gone so traditional in this season. Aunt Mary loves weddings and Uncle Joe can watch along. And other than Carson (“he’s so silly”) there’s nothing you have to keep from the kids.
And therein lies the threat to Randy Thomas and his organization. In order for Exodus to thrive, they have to keep everyone believing that gays are a threat and don’t fit in family settings. QEST says “what do you do when the in-laws can’t agree on a wedding? grab a queer boy, he’ll know what to do”.
Randy almost falls over a salient point when he says:
Just one example is how the house of God was once led by a harp playing King (David) whose son (Solomon) had the most exquisite empire in the world. Both had their own sexual issues but both were tremendous to God.
He could have expounded on how the sexually imperfect, over-driven King David was loved dearly by God, but instead he wanders back into that silly article. I can’t think of anything so superficial as comparing a television show to the redemption and transforming grace of God. It’s as if he was eager to write something “spiritual” sounding about QE and that’s what came out.
Sorry to be so harsh, but that’s really rubbish IMHO.
Just to be clear: I love Project Runway for some of the reasons that Timothy Kincaid cites: It generates palpable high anxiety over mere dresses, and creates faux drama around the egos that rush to complete a dress in half the time needed to do a job properly.
“As for Project Runway, oooooohmigod. I saw it for the first time last week and was hooked. It has absolutely no redeeming values, is comprised of the bitchiest queens (male and female), caters to the absolutely the worst in the contestants, and is totally captivating.”
Am I watching a different Project Runway?
I see a wide variety of gay men on Project Runway. Would you really consider Emmett (the tall guy who used to design menswear and looks like an albino) “bitchy”? What about Daniel Vosovic, who gets along with everyone and didn’t break into a sweat when he realized he got the wrong pattern? Or Nick, who at the worst makes a few Mommie Dearest quotes? Andrae is a drama queen, but he’s not mean or cruel.
The only truly bitchy man on the show is Santino.
Seven of the eight men on the show this season are gay or bisexual. Were all of them bitchy?
Most of the people seem to get along well enough.
I don’t understand why we have to paint this show as being full of nasty people just as a contrast to Queer Eye. If the show were full of bitchy, nasty queens, I wouldn’t watch. That’s what you see on Survivor or Big Brother. Project Runway this season has some of the most three-dimensional gay men I’ve seen on TV in a long time. These are men who are funny, cope well under pressure, and don’t have to tear everyone else down because of their own insecurities.
I still do not understand the fixation on Randy Thomas but…
As far as I’m concerned, Fab Five lost their allure a long time ago. It was interesting for a couple of shows (not seasons, shows) but it is clear that it is little more than a cleverly infomercial for the products and stores that are prominently featured there. The Fab Five are actors playing parts, trying to advertize products and services.
Regaring the comment upthread about Jai, the commenter should recognize that different cultures have different touchstones regarding masculinity and feminity. I don’t know Jai’s native culture, but his languidness might not be considered feminine. Moreover, since he is an actor playing a role, I don’t know whether the role that he is playing is representative of the actor’s true nature.
Mouthy b***h roundup
Can I just tell you how much I totally enjoyed typing that title?
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