Why Masculinity is a Feminist Issue

If you’re at all familiar with this blog or with me, you no doubt know that I am an avowed feminist.  And a feminist of a very particular sort.  For me, it is absolutely crucial that we address both the epistemological and material ways in which women are continuously disempowered and often outright oppressed in our culture.  Indeed, women, in my mind, are still the primary recipients of the goals of feminism, precisely because they are still the group that faces the most types of oppression.

However, as a feminist I also believe that men have just as much to gain from a feminist critique of patriarchy as women do, and it is for this reason that I ardently believe the study of masculinity should be (as it has recently become) a central component of feminist analyses of patriarchal culture.

Why do I believe this?  For one thing, feminists are already equipped with the analytical tools and knowledge to take on the seemingly hegemonic and indestructible cultural construct of masculinity in nuanced and politically radical ways.  It is not enough to simply argue that it is a construct—a masquerade, if you will—although that is certainly an excellent starting point.  One need only look to the work of such scholars as Judith Butler (in both Gender Trouble and Bodies That Matter), Steven Cohan (whose Masked Men, building on Butler, argues that even the seemingly hegemonic construction of masculinity in the 1950s was riddled with contradictions that constantly pulled apart and undercut the hegemony), and Susan Bordo (whose book The Male Body artfully teases out the way American society has consistently placed demands on the male body that it can never adequately meet and that therefore create unrealistic and unhealthy expectations) to see the value of such an approach to masculinity.  What these various scholars reveal is that those trained in a feminist methodology can bring those tools to bear in important and potentially radical ways upon masculinity, exposing it for a construction and thus rendering it susceptible to both critique and, ultimately, absolute deconstruction (and perhaps abolition?)

Just as importantly, as my students recently pointed out to me in the course I teach on gender and literary texts, it is precisely because the patriarchal construct of masculinity imposes such demands on male subjects that those very same subjects often feel obligated or pushed into their oppression of women (whether consciously or unconsciously).  This is, of course, not the only reason that men oppress women, but I would argue that it is at least one reason, and a very important one.  As feminists, we need to recognize that patriarchy negatively influences both men and women, in often complementary and simultaneously contradictory ways.  With theoretical apparatuses that have been finely forged in the crucible of explicit oppression, feminists are more than prepared to tackle the challenges posed by the hegemonic construction of masculinity.

Likewise, we as feminists (especially those who are educators) need to provide young men with the critical tools they need to examine their own masculinity.  I hear numerous anecdotes about the ways in which today’s young men still remain wedded, whether wittingly or unwittingly, willingly or unwillingly, the privilege that their masculinity affords them.  What’s more, many young women also buy into the myth of masculinity, as well as all of the other unfortunate vectors that intertwine with gender.  Thus, when we as feminists talk about/analyze/interpret masculinity, we must do so through an intersectional method that takes thorough account of the ways in which masculinity is always/already inflected by issues of class, gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality.  For example, masculinity means something very different for an African American male than it does to a white, middle class one, just as it means something different for a gay man (although, as I have noted elsewhere, many gay men are buying into the privileges afforded by a hegemonic view of masculinity, often at the expense of the much-despised “femininity”).  As feminists, we must constantly be aware of our own complicity in these discourses, and we must also constantly work with our students to help them understand not only how these constructions function, but also the particular ways in which they are reproduced throughout our culture.

At the end of the day, however, some questions remain.  As I alluded to earlier, there remains the question of whether we want to abolish masculinity and femininity altogether in favor of a gender pluralverse.  But then, perhaps the solution would be to not make them mandatory patterns of behavior to which one must subscribe in order to gain access to certain nodes of privilege, but instead affectations and behaviors that may have no relation to the gendered and sexed bodies which we inhabit and with which we move through the world (though it is not a problem if one does draw a connection between those two things).

I suppose the issue, for me at least, is one of choice.  I want to believe that masculinity as a set of behaviors is not in and of itself a bad thing; it is the ways in which those behaviors become tied to certain hegemonic privileges and impositions that it becomes especially problematic.  But that is precisely the point that I have been arguing so far.  It is feminists who have the ability, the desire, and the tools to ask these sorts of questions and to be able to work the slow and tortuous way to some sort of answer, all the while remaining acutely conscious of the moral, ethical, and political consequences that all definitive answers inevitably carry with them.  There will not, of course, be an easy answer that will completely efface the contradictions and complexities that are part and parcel of the gender ideology under which we all live (though we all may not support it).  With the tools provided by feminism and particularly by feminist theorizing, we can continue to probe and problematize, to ask questions that no one else is willing or able to ask, in order to slowly push us toward a world in which gender can be opened up to explore its multiplicitous potentials.

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Review of “Dracula”: “The Blood is the Life”

As is usually the case when I start a new series (especially one I’m looking forward to), the first episode is something of a nail-biter.  Will it be good?  Will it live up to my lofty expectations?  Or will it be so profoundly disappointing that I spend the rest of the week pining over what should have been?  These are the types of questions that usually haunt my viewing experience, and such was indeed the case as I began watching the premiere of NBC’s Dracula.

Fortunately, all of my fears were misplaced.  The series was an unmitigated pleasure, and I literally cannot wait until the next episode. 

Part of this, I suspect, comes from the fact that the series is produced in part by Carnival, the same company responsible for one of my other favourite television treats, Downton Abbey.  Although American network TV can produce series with incredibly low production values, NBC seems to have struck a gold mine here, not just in terms of the sets and scenery (although those are gorgeous in and of themselves), but also in the casting of Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the titular Dracula.  He actually does a passably good American accent (this Dracula is masquerading as an American industrialist), and his smoldering good looks serve him in good stead.  What’s more, he seems to have largely shaken the rather hammy style of acting that sometimes threatened to undercut his otherwise compelling portrayal of Henry VIII in The Tudors.

NBC’s Dracula takes the already-overdone story and adds some twists that actually affirmatively answer the question:  do we really need another rendition of Bram Stoker’s novel?  The series manages to weave together horror, suspense, mystery, and thriller in some new and unexpected ways.  Chief among these is the fact that the character of Abraham Van Helsing who, rather than being Dracula’s nemesis, is instead his collaborator against the shadowy, corrupt, and very powerful Order of the Dragon.  From what we have seen so far, he seems like a man as ruthless and vengeful as his vampire compatriot, which is rather a refreshing change from the way in which he is usually portrayed. 

The female characters also come in for some reimaginging, as Mina is now a medical student under the tutelage of Dr. Van Helsing, though there are already inklings that she may in fact be Dracula’s former wife reincarnated.  Lucy also makes an appearance, though it remains to be seen how large of a role she will play and how closely the series will adhere to the novel (most likely probably not that closely, which may be for the best).  Most fascinating, however, is Lady Jane, whose motivations remain somewhat shadowy but who, nevertheless, threatens to steal the show from its titular character.  It seems that Dracula may be investing as much energy in its female leads as it does its male ones, always a good sign in network television.

Fortunately, Dracula doesn’t answer too many of the questions that it raises in the premiere episode.  We still don’t know that much about the Order of the Dragon, and thus they continue to haunt the edges of the episode, much as Dracula himself haunts the shadowy corners of London’s streets.  We get the sense that they have been running a secret war against vampire kind for a while (it turns out that, in the series’ universe, the Jack the Ripper murders were actually committed by a vampire, and the Order mutilated the bodies in order to keep the rest of London from discovering the truth).  Although we know that they wield an immense amount of power (due to their control over oil), we don’t know that much about them, and that is an auspicious start.  It will give us something to inquire after as the series progresses (let’s just hope that they don’t reveal too much too soon, a perennial problem of network TV, given the uncertainty of future seasons).

What emerges from the premiere of Dracula, therefore, is a series that is, perhaps, too aesthetically and narratively sophisticated and mature for the network TV crowd.  Indeed, as I was watching “The Blood is the Life,” I could not shake the feeling that I was watching an HBO or Showtime series (which may have something to do with the fact that the director, Steve Shill, also directed episodes of Dexter and The Tudors).  However, it just might be the case that network TV is finally ready to grow up and produce drama that is mature enough for adults to handle (which may explain why NBC decided to schedule the series for Friday nights).  And I’m not just talking about the blood, though there was a lot of that.  Instead, there is a gloss and a tightness to the writing that suggests that this series may mark a sea change in the way in which network TV functions.  To wit, perhaps it’s time that network TV took a page from the book of the pay stations like HBO and Showtime, and started focusing more on quality rather than quantity.  After all, today’s savvy TV consumer, with quality entertainment now available in a wide variety of forms–such as pay channels and Netflix–is not as ready to settle for substandard fare.  Although there are other concept series that are compelling (Once Upon a Time comes to mind), they face the same dilemma faced by so many other network TV shows, namely, too many episodes and net enough story.  Perhaps Dracula means a reversal of this trend, but at this point it’s entirely too early to determine with any certainty.

Regardless, one thing at this point is entirely certain.  Dracula is an entertaining drama that is surprisingly good.  Does it have its flaws?  Certainly, but they are minor compared to the great strengths that were on display in the premiere.  The real challenge for the series and tis writers, however, lies in maintaining that quality and ensuring that the season as a whole matches or exceeds it.  We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that they do.

Grade:  A

What’s Your Position?: The Politics of Top and Bottom in Gay Sex

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex.  Sex is about power.”

—Oscar Wilde

It has become something of a truism that sex is political.  Whether it be the Republicans attempting to assert control over women’s bodies or those same Republicans attempting to criminalize homosexual acts, the act of sex has become a fraught political weapon in the ongoing war between the parties.  Gay (anal) sex in particular has occupied, and continues to occupy, a particularly vexed place in the American cultural imaginary since, almost invariably, it involves one man submitting his body to the penetration of another.  And, in Western culture, especially those indebted to the Greeks and Romans, anal penetration poses a fundamental disturbance to the alleged inpenetrability of normative masculinity.  Penetration, in the minds of many men, is the ultimate expression of indignity, the ultimate degradation and destruction of their masculine subjectivity (witness the fact that male/male rape or other sexual assault is often used as a means of breaking down male prisoners of war).

As a result, many queer theorists have postulated that passive anality is, whether consciously or subconsciously, a strike at the heart of hegemonic, phallic/impenetrable masculinity.  Indeed, this serves as the basic argument of Leo Bersani in his landmark and highly controversial essay “Is the Rectum a Grave?”  While I agree with Bersani and other theorists that passive (and yes, I realize the loadedness of this term) anality is a potentially subversive strike back at the tyranny of hetenormative masculinity, it seems to me that what gets left out of this equation is the “top” partner in this exchange.  What role does gay topping have in this schema?  While it can be argued that the penetrated “bottom” is engaging in a subversive political act by taking another man into himself and surrendering to the mingled pleasure and pain of penetration, can the same be said of the “top”?

At first glance, it might seem that the top in a gay sexual encounter is merely replicating the very phallic masculinity that male homosexuality is supposed to challenge, for it could be argued that the top is merely slipping into the role of the penetrator, i.e. placing himself into the position of the “man” in the encounter.  However, I would argue that something much more complicated and potentially politically subversive is going on here.  It is necessary to remember that, in consensual gay sexual encounters, both parties enter into a (often unspoken by no less potent and binding for all of that) contract.  The bottom knows that he is relinquishing a certain amount of power to his top, and the top, in turn, knows that he has in his hands that kind of power.  There exists, therefore, a very fragile balance of power between the two sexual partners in the moment of coupling that, ultimately, can form an intensely powerful emotional bond between both of them.  It takes the normal trade of power that is inherent in any penetrative sexual act and heightens the stakes and, in so doing, enters into a different circuit of desire than that in which much heteronormative/patriarchal sex circulates.

But, I can hear some of you objecting, don’t people who identify solely as “tops” tend to be those same people who so strenuously disavow femininity in other gay men?  Aren’t those who proclaim themselves “bottoms” (or, the rare subspecies, the “power bottom”) automatically falling into the position of the woman?  To this I would say, no, not necessarily.  There are a number of important things to remember here.  First, just because one person is penetrated and the other is penetrating does not necessarily mean that the one being penetrated has rendered himself feminine (although this is entirely possible, and indeed be a point of identification/community between gay men and women.  I would hasten to add, however, that this a perspective that only some gay bottoms would adopt).  Second, to merely assume that top/bottom map easily onto male/female is to inject a decided note of heteropatriarchy into what is decidedly not a heteronormative sexual arrangement.  That is why, for many gay men (and women), the question:  so who is the husband and who is the wife? is so incredibly insufferable and offensive.  It is attempting to enforce a particular kind of logic on a system in which such a logic has no place.

Thus, there exists within gay sex a subversive political potential on a number of levels, though not all gay men will partake or indulge in these particular perspectives, and some may do it at some points and not at others.  There are an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to gay sex, and there are many gay men out there who actually adopt a versatile position, moving fluidly between different positions of power.  Thus, I do not want to suggest that all gay men are automatically subversive.  However, I do want to suggest that gay male sex has the potential to be subversive, whether one adopts the position of the top or the bottom in a particular sexual encounter.  What is more, we as gay men need to not only become aware of this fact, but firmly claim it as our own particular set of practices, rather than letting the opposition compose the narrative for us.

Ultimately, I have to conclude that gay desire and sexual practice, whether they manifests themselves via the top or the bottom position, have within them a subversive political potential.  After all, though we may hate it, we still live in a heteronormative, patriarchal world, where phallic masculinity and hetero-penetrative sex is still the norm.  Gay men, even those who do all that they can to disavow any feminine aspect of themselves, occupy a vexed position in this world (which may go at least part of the way toward explaining why they do everything they can to avoid being known the dreaded “f” word).  Gay male sex, then, may serve as another weapon our continual struggle against the inequality that still remains structurally built into the world in which we live.  And if we can have fun while doing it, that makes it all that much better.

Review: “Reign” (CW)

Like most people, I went into the premiere of the CW series Reign with more than a little trepidation.  After all, this network doesn’t have a good reputation as far as the “quality TV” department is concerned.  However, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what I found, namely:  a decent cast (Megan Fellows threatens to steal the show as the villainous, cunning, yet somewhat sympathetic Catherine de’Medici), acting that wasn’t horrible, and some adherence to the historical record.  Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, those who enjoyed The Tudors (I did, for the record) or Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (I enjoyed that too), will probably enjoy Reign.

Before we go any further, let me just say that yes, I realize that the costuming is laughably anachronistic.  But hey, it’s pretty much that way with any historical drama, though admittedly some take at least a little more effort to adhere to a sense of authenticity, even if they don’t adhere to strictly the dress code of the era.  And yes, I also realize that the characters are not acting like men and women of that period would have acted.  All of that said, there are other aspects of the series that make it worth watching and, just perhaps, taking seriously as at least a type of history.

Two things stood out the most in the premiere.  The first of these is the fact that Mary (ably if not superbly played by Adelaide Kane) may be more than a little smitten with the charming, dashing, and dishy Francis (Toby Regbo), but she also has a streak of iron in her that she will definitely need as she struggles to survive in the deceptive and dangerous French court.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was a female character that had a little bit of backbone and, furthermore, that she is willing and able to stand up to those who seek to put her down, including Francis.  Though he tells her in no uncertain terms that she is to be seen and not heard, and that his concern for France will always come before his affections for her, she pertly reminds him that she, too, has a country to keep in mind.  While a seemingly insignificant moment, it reveals two things:  one, that the series has at least some awareness of the fact that royals couldn’t just love like everyone else and two, that this Mary might have a bit of spirit and bite to her.

The second thing that stood out in the premiere was the splendidly and sweetly poisonous Catherine, Mary’s scheming mother-in-law.  Having been advised by her pet astrologer Nostradamus that Mary will bring about the death of her beloved son Francis, Catherine makes it her mission to ruin the marriage arranged between the two young royals.  I was prepared to find this Catherine cloying, but instead she threatens to steal the series from its ostensible lead.  Indeed, we cannot help but sympathize with her (at least a little), considering that her husband is openly having an affair with Diane de Poitiers, not to mention any other woman he can get his hands on.  What’s more, her antipathy toward Mary stems at least in part from her conviction that the young Scotswoman will lead to her son’s death.  All in all, she comes across as a woman who knows the place that her society, and her husband, have afforded her and, as such, also knows what she has to do in order to assert what little agency is allowed her.

What emerges from these two women is an indication of how 21st Century American culture conceives of the past and, particularly, the role that women played in that past.  Much as with The Tudors and its successor The Borgias (as well as other countless television historical dramas), Reign asserts that Renaissance women’s only access to power was through their men, i.e. through the marshaling of their sexual desirability to bend men to their will.  While this does of course run the risk of essentalizing these women as nothing more than walking vaginas, I would contend that there is a hidden complexity here, an open acknowledgment of the fact that, unfortunately, patriarchy often forces women to rely on the only weapons that patriarchy lets them have, their cunning and their bodies (and often a combination of the two).  The trick, of course, is how to bring this unfortunate fact to life without merely replicating the mechanisms of that oppression.  At this point, it is far too early to say whether Reign will plumb such complexities—as did The Tudors, at least in its highest and most compelling moments—but it has certainly gotten off to a good start.  There are at least two strong female leads to give the show a center of gravity, which is one of the essential ingredients to a truly and satisfyingly complex portrayal of historical women’s subjectivity.  Don’t worry, though, this feminist media critic will be right there to nail them if they start to betray the promise that they have shown already.

Is Reign historically accurate or even authentic?  Absolutely and unequivocally not.  As is usual with such series, the people are far too pretty and clean to be accurate representations of what life was like in the 16th Century, even for royalty.  There is also the strand of the supernatural that has already reared its head (this could end up working really well or just being corny).  However, to ask those kinds of questions, and to condemn a series or a film for failing to live up to those standards, risks losing sight of exactly those issues I have touched upon in this review.  Sure, Reign might not be “good” history (whatever that means) but, whether we like it or not, it is a type of history, and we as cultural critics and consumers would be well served to ask and interpret exactly what kind of history it is that we are looking at.

What We Mean When We Ask “Are You SURE You’re Gay?”

We’ve all either heard or it said it.  Upon hearing that our gay friend doesn’t like musicals, or has never seen The Golden Girls, or doesn’t like and/or has not heard of Judy Garland, we inevitably ask that unfortunate person, “are you sure you’re gay?”  Now, most of us probably say this in good fun, and most of us are guilty of it (even as we pretend outrage when someone else says it), but the important question is, what do we mean when we ask it?  (Let me be clear at the outset that this post will mainly deal with gay men, as it is that experiential position with which I am most familiar.  I welcome gay women to share their experiences in the comments section).

As with any expression that gets bandied about, it raises a host of questions that have multiplicitous and often contradictory answers.  The simplest answer is this:  when we ask someone if they are sure they are gay, what we are really asking is whether they have been adopted into or trained in the ways of gay culture.  Not whether they, in fact, desire and have sex with men, but whether they have, as it were, learned what it means to be gay, i.e. learned the ropes of what constitutes the gay way of life.

As numerous scholars—including such queer theory luminaries as David Halperin, Alexander Doty, Steven Cohan, and Brett Farmer—have observed, gay men, as a result of their marginal place in 20th (and, to a lesser extent, 21st) Century culture, have developed strategies for appropriating straight mass culture in ways that make it meaningful for them.  These have, typically, included such “gay” staples as Judy Garland and her films, the Hollywood and Broadway musicals, glamorous female stars like Dietrich, Crawford, and Davis (if you don’t know their first names, you might not be, ahem, gay), and female-centered television series such as The Golden Girls and Designing Women.  Though obviously and primarily intended for straight audiences, these texts and personas have become objects of gay male worship, to the extent that liking them has come to be equated with being gay, or at least to having a gay sensibility (after all, there’s no law stating that a perfectly heterosexual man can’t love Judy or Dorothy or Bette as much as a gay man).

“Gay” has, however, come to assume an ever-increasing number of cultural functions and desires, including fashion, design, and all things tasteful.  Again, part of the reason may be that these professions were often relegated—and by this I mean the dominant, patriarchal culture saw it as such—to women or those who, because of their gender performance (not, necessarily, their object choice) failed to live up to the masculine standard.  What better way to make one’s way in a patriarchal/homophobic world than to master those arts that have been denigrated as beneath the notice of the masculinist dominant order?

Of course, all of this has begun to change, as gay men have become increasingly visible and increasingly mainstreamed.  There is a persistent denial of “gayness” within gay male culture, which usually translates, in the world of online dating at least, into:  “Masculine guy here.  No fems or queens.”  Read:  DON’T REALLY BE GAY, ‘CAUSE I’M NOT THAT, DUDE.  I MAY DIG OTHER GUYS, BUT I’M A REAL MAN, NOT A PUSSY FAG.  As has happened numerous times in the past (as David Halperin notes, this was a common sentiment among young gay men in the 1980s), there is a persistent disavowal of femininity in the gay male community, and that usually includes those trappings of gay life that have, for better or worse, usually served as identifiers and signifiers of precisely that collective cultural identity.

All of this is not to suggest that gay men have to do these things.  It is merely to point out that it is and has been a strong current in gay male culture for most of the 20th and, for some, the 21st.  And, more importantly, that we should not forget and should definitely not condemn this way of life as being somehow abhorrent.  Hard as it may be for these “straight acting gays” (and I hope my loathing of that term shines through the quotation marks) to comprehend, there are still those of us who like to sing along to showtunes, worship the ground that Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, and Joan Crawford walk on, and even enjoy Glee and The Golden Girls.  And, believe it or not, some of us also enjoy typically “masculine” pursuits as well.  Hell, some of us even like sports and, gasp, even play them.  And all while singing a line from Chicago and thinking about our nice outfit that we’re going to wear to the theatre, too.

Thus, although it may be offensive/irritating when people ask the pointed question “Are you sure you’re gay?” in many ways the question captures the complexities of contemporary gay identity.  This is not to suggest that gay male subjectivity has not always been complex and contradictory; it is to suggest, as David Halperin does in his recent book How to Be Gay, that there is a cultural initiation.  Perhaps we—and by “we” I mean straight, gay, queer, and everyone else—would be better off accepting the multiplicity and the sheer diversity of lived gay male experience.  Or, at the very least, we should be a little more self-reflexive about what we mean when we ask that most dangerous and irritating (and, let’s face it, most gay) of questions.

On Steve Grand and Rural Gay Life

Upon a recent watching of the video for YouTube/country/gay sensation Steve Grand’s “All American Boy,” I was immediately struck by how many chords the video struck with me and, I venture to guess, for many other queers who grew up in a small town or in a rural area.  For better or worse, for many rural/small town queers of my generation (and, I suspect, for the one after me and most certainly for the ones before), falling in love with the straight boy (or boys) was an inevitability, since that was largely what surrounded us.  Whether we like to admit it or not, for many LGBT youth growing up in the small towns and rural communities that comprise so many parts of our country, being the only LGBT person in town is an inevitable part of life.  And so is falling in love with a straight man.

I was therefore especially struck by Bryan Lowder’s commentary for Slate that the video, rather than capturing a segment of rural queer life, instead argues that it is ” like something out of a homo smut story from before Stonewall.”  Perhaps for urban queers living in large cities, such might be the case, as big cities tend to be the place where queers of every variety can find a welcoming community of others like us.  But for many of those who still live in the country, or who live in small towns, that is very likely not going to happen.

What is perhaps most troubling about Lowder’s dismissal of the video, however, is that it neglects the powerful affect that the video engenders in those whose own life experience closely matches that presented in the video.  There is a rawness and a pain to Grand’s lyrics, and to the narrative of the video itself, that captures the emotions that those of us who grew up in a rural area (such as my own Appalachia) have experienced when we fall or fell helplessly, hopelessly in love with that which we know we cannot/could not have.  I know that this treads dangerously close to the self-destructive and self-hating gay stereotype that has been so thoroughly dismissed and disavowed by the mainstream gay movement (“Oh no, we are good homos who don’t lust after straight men”).  But, whether we like it or not, that stereotype has some truth to it, especially for those who don’t have the advantage of growing up in a community of queers where the odds of finding someone who is of your same sexual orientation are substantially greater.  The fact that Lowder, and no doubt others like him, fail to see this fact suggests more about their lack of knowledge about the enormous segment of the LGBT population that lives outside the mainstream than it does about the video’s failings.

All of this is not to suggest that the video is perfect; far from it.  It still panders to many of the gay stereotypes that continue to shape public perception of gay male life.  Most notably, the boys in the video are all model-perfect, including Grand himself.  However, what it does do is portray a little slice of gay life that, for better or worse, hasn’t really changed that much since Stonewall, at least for those of us living outside of the gay, urban mainstream.  Although the video may not be revolutionary, as Lowder laments at the end of his review, it is nevertheless a noteworthy contribution to the broader public perception of the pain and the loneliness that many gay men still face as they struggle with their emotions and with their identities.

If you want to see the video, you can find it here.