Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Football? No, no simmering homoerotic tension here. Move along, nothing to see here..."

Another good point by fastlad.

What lies beneath? It's something I've wondered about since I first arrived here in the United States: those cropped camera angles on American football players that are ploys to prevent you from seeing their magnificent behinds.

No matter how firm or shapely those same buttocks are, they are rarely to be seen in the nations living rooms, pool halls or sports bars. Why?

...actually i don't even watch televised sports enough to notice that particular discrepancy. but um, yeah: speaking of objectification/exaggerated attention to naughty bits and secondary sex features: helLO, football uniforms! baseball, too, as fastlad notes.

what does MY head in is how playing football and other sports is precisely what's still widely recommended as a good solid antidote to creeping male homosexuality. Fastlad says this plays out differently in Ireland, this uhhh whatever it is, this (male) homophobic, homoerotic, AND homosocial all at once thing we have going on here. (i.e. unlike in some other macho cultures, perhaps, it's at least vaguely suspect for manly men to spend too much time with WOMEN). any other thoughts on this?


emily said...

well, speaking from Australia, I think there's a great deal of over-lap. The homoerotic/homosocial/homophobic thing creates this incredibly packed site where all that tension needs to be diffused by violence against visible queers and women and by visible public heterosexuality (the increasing visibility of footballer's girlfriends at games and awards shows etc). That visible heterosexuality is partly enacted in group sex, both consentual and *not* (there's quite clearly a rape culture that accompanies Australian Rules and Rugby)--wich ironically again raises the spectre of homoeroticism.

Such heroes eh.

Sly Civilian said...

it's a conspiracy to sell tickets for the actual event.

fastlad said...

well it requires a GREAT deal of concentration to police every camera shots at a football game. (so the default tactic is to go for endless close ups on the faces - but watch those lenses focus again quickly when the gaze drops).

something IS going on here: the hyper awareness of the male form, made erotic by the complete refusal to ever display it, or something, cough.

i mean that's like so Victorian or something.

i'm not surprised so many feminists eschew these thickets, but i suspect there's a lot to be discovered here: how heterosexual men acknowledge and suppress the awareness of themselves (and also the representation of themselves) as sexual beings. and the irony is that in doing so they call attention to it.

Renegade Evolution said...

i love football, and the butts do look nice in those pants...daaamn.

fastlad said...

test: walk around town today and look at men’s bottoms. count how many are wearing pants that are tailored to display and even compliment their backsides?

few or none, i reckon.

in America male buttocks are aggressively obscured beneath pants that sag or fall off sharply or they're ostentatiously hidden beneath a shirt, or a t-shirt or jacket or some such thing.

and it’s such a widespread practice that it can't be accidental.

what is going on here? is it a tacit acknowledgement of some shared anxiety (as i suspect it is)? i remember a dimwitted straight male acquaintance telling me that he couldn't understand why men had been given nipples or backsides (their potential embarrassed him).

belledame222 said...

Well, the ass is very anxiety-provoking especially, for (most) staight men: oh god oh god, we could be PENETRATED there. Penetration would make us like, like THEM; which essentially would mean NON-PERSON; which means DEATH.

belledame222 said...

Emily: I always had the impression that Australia was more like the U.S. in this regard than say a lot of countries in Western Europe. U.K. I dunno so much. maybe? probably?

I'm gonna get a bit wonky for a sec and, riffing off a conversation that was developing in one of the other threads, speculate whether it doesn't have something to do with the difference between Protestant-influenced cultures and Catholic-influenced cultures. Specifically: Mary is out of the picture; therefore we are now free to REALLY concentrate on the masculine principle without any distractions at all.

That and wrt Australia and the U.S. in particular: there's this legacy, I think, of, you know, frontier mentality; be rugged and extra-aggressive in order to survive and conquer in a land of savages, you know. Something like that.

belledame222 said...

Then again: of course you go to places like Italy or Mexico and there's no lack of homosocial bonding as well as sexism. But somehow...

yeah I dunno. All I know is, sexist as they are in their way, the films of Fellini, you don't really see anything like that coming out of the U.S.: the unabashed -adoration- of women, physically primarily yes, but...

Here, back to feminism for a sec, there is all this talk of "objectification" of the female body. And it's true, there is; but you notice that in a lot of peoples' minds it is inextricably bound up with a real revulsion and hatred (mixed with fascination, of course; you can't kill it off altogether); it's like you were saying about the American slasher pic. Boobies? Slice 'em open! Ah, that's better.

Maybe I'm off on this, but it seems to me it doesn't quiiiiiiiiite play out in the same way in some other places. Which is not, I hasten to add, to say that they are ultimately any less sexist or oppressive of actual women; possibly less so in some cases. It's just: yeah, flavor. something. certainly more what we call "sex-negative." Not only are women the Sex Class (eh, but for the purposes here), but they are EVIL for it. gross. dirty. feh.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Interesting post since I have never understood, when one guy stands over another, his hands slid down the tight spandex buttock to dangle over the groin as every waits for him to "hutt" how this is called "male bonding" instead of "homoerotic sports".

In Europe there is rubgy which is sort of like homoerotic sport S&M. As sometimes all the guys huddle together and guys on the outside grab on and shove thier heads into butts and then at other times everyone piles on each other or squirms under a half dozen hands like a giant "whose got the banana?" bedroom scene. But again, in the UK, Rugby is what makes you a "Real man" primarily because it is played without a helmet and people can step or kneel on your head - and the male bonding.

emily said...

Well, Australian Protestantism is basically Church of England, it traditionally has been as much about social normativity as real belief. I get the feeling it's quite different to the American evangelical side of things--less firey I think..

How that relates to homoeroticism I dunno.

The interesting thing about Latino homoeroticism so far as I understand it is that it's only the penetrated partner who is gay, the other retains his masculinity and hence heterosexual privilege. So femininity is sited particularly in the act of being penetrated, compared to the *general* cultural feminisation of gays in the US, UK etc.

I think you might be more on the money with the shared frontier mentality--a friend of mine is doing some research onto colonial Australia and points out that there's an incredible amount of anxiety about homosexuality being caused due to the chronic "shortage" of women.

belledame222 said...

Yeah, I was thinking more of the "macho" business. Lucky us, I think we got the brunt of the wacky Puritans back in the day...