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Oct 19, 2009

OSS # 176: Same Diffence



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Thoughts on Molds

In my previous entry, I asked what can a gay guy be proud of being gay. I'll use my Barbie dolls to try to partially answer it.

Last week a fellow doll hobbyist and blogger, Dana, voiced her annoyance at the statement calling Christie, who is supposedly the 1st African-American friend of Barbie, as "essentially a white doll painted brown." It has something to do with vintage dolls, Christie and Midge (Barbie's 1st white friend), having the same face mold. I don't exactly understand her sentiments, but I do feel that she raised an important point.

I don't have those vintage (read: expensive) dolls so I'll use what I got. To those new to Barbie's world, let me introduce you to 6 of my dolls. The 1st two on the right uses the Steffie head mold. The middle two uses the Lea-Kayla head mold. The two right-most dolls uses the Diva face mold. Despite having the same face mold, you can notice the difference in the ethnicity of the dolls. I'm happy that there is an attempt to represent a diversity in the race but peeling off the skin-shallow paint, one cannot ignore that the same mold being used. It somewhat implies that they are the same when they are, or at least should be, different!

Growing up we were taught about what "man" (human nature) is and what is good/bad, male/female, imported/local and other binaries. You have to fit a mold of either this or that. If you fail to fit any mold, you are labeled a deviant or queer (read:bad).

When I first asked a friend about listing the difference between a gay and a straight guy, he was a bit apprehensive. He didn't want to box someone with a "gay guy" label. He wanted to be treated just like any other (straight) guy. We both know he isn't. I know a lot of gay guys who know that they are gay but still they are able to relate to being a straight guy. They don't want to be different maybe because we are taught that with being different, we'll pay a price.

(...like one-of-a-kind (OOAK) dolls are generally more expensive. Hehehe.)

One thing brought about by the LGBT community was a whole new world of study for things that are different or queer. Queer theory is not just about homosexuality. It challenges the things we believe as "normal" like the belief that heterosexuality is the only normal orientation, or the belief that gender roles are based on the complimentary sexes--male and female. It acknowledges that an identity is made up of varied components, like a man need not be an alpha-male to be called a man, or a woman need not be a feminist to be a woman, or a gay need not be loud to be gay. (I'm nose-bleeding here so I won't/can't elaborate.)

The rainbow flag has been one of the symbols of the LGBT community. It stands for diversity and inclusiveness. Ideally, the LGBT community does not discriminate whether you're masculine or campy, whether you're into open relationships or monogamy, whether you still have your penis or you're a transgender. I say ideally, because I am aware that there are divisions within the community. It is because some people find it hard to unlearn the things we have been taught. We are taught that some behaviours are right and some are wrong. It is hard to break a mold. Heck, you break one mold then you'll end up in another.

One thing I learned from being with a varied range of gay guys is to tolerate and accept others different from me. We learn to celebrate our difference. I also learned to question the "truths" that are imposed on me and to think for myself. Those, and a few more, makes me happy to be gay guy.

5 comments:

the geek said...

as they say, variety is the spice of life...

dabo said...

learning to unlearn is really one tough job to do when a culture is already established.

the sad part of most popular cultures, relativity doesn't apply. =(

D7ana said...

I'll expand on the Christie issue back at my blog. Thanks, as always for commenting.

The problem about polarization is that one of the two usually gets preference. It's not just difference like a red crayon and a blue crayon. There's the "norm" and the "odd." In that line, I can understand "Gay pride" and "Black pride" because the "pride" isn't about the state of being this or that, but the ownership and the acceptance of being "other" that gets expressed as "pride" because although a person doesn't consciously choose race or sexual preference, a person can flow with that state or struggle against it. By struggle against it, I mean pay homage to that which the person is NOT.

Of course, the world isn't that simple. Even with the definitions of race and sexual preference, there are ranges. Variations. Personal pride calls for individuals to consider just how much of the definition he or she accepts and stepping outside set categories.

I probably sound pretentious - don't mean to, but the ideas about being interest me.

Niel Camhalla said...

@the geek, I didn't know you're into open relationships. Joke. :)

@dabo, there are what we call alternative cultures. We can thank our gay ancestors for that or you can help build your own culture, of course.

@Dana, thanks for the comment. I get what you're saying and you don't sound pretentious. I love that I can communicate with somebody regarding this matter (but not isolating it with gender issues).

I have to admit I'm just learning all these things and I might get some things wrong. All inputs are welcome whether they agree with me or they want to correct me.

wanderingcommuter said...

i ust don't know where to start... so i'll be asking more time to comment. hehehe!

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