Manly Strap-Ons And Fear of The Fag Within

A while ago this blog took a look at the sticky relationship that exists between American men and food — and the way that obesity, oral insatiability and a weakness for Whoppers is marketed as ‘manly’.

In an excellent post by Holly Richmond at The Grist about the US media’s current appetite for features on s0-called ‘manly vegans’, dubbed – and honestly, I’m not making this up – ‘hegans’. She gets right to the ribeye of the matter:

The subtext of all three stories is essentially, “See, veganism isn’t gay!” The Post and Courier piece is most explicit on this point, spotlighting “high-profile alpha males” who’ve given up most animal products, including Bill Clinton, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, and a handful of professional sports stars. None of the articles mention the Long Island man who was “mercilessly mocked, labeled ‘a homo’ and canned for not eating meat.” God forbid the pieces actually examine the complex issue of masculinity in our culture.

How about instead of “hegan” trend pieces, media outlets publish stories that don’t confine men to rigid, outdated gender stereotypes?

You might as well ask for a slice of the moon, Holly.

Fear of The Fag Within still dominates most American media discourse about masculinity. It’s what prompted the backlash against metrosexuality in the mid-Noughties, around the time America realised the sexual ambivalence inherent in it – and its queer provenance.

It’s why for the last few years the word ‘man’ and ‘he’ has been strapped on to anything that without them might look a bit… faggy. Or not phallic enough. Manbags. Manscara. Mandates. As a way of saying, yes it’s a trend, men’s behaviours are changing and that’s why it’s newsworthy – but don’t worry!  Men are still MEN!  And this isn’t about a niche! It’s about NORMAL GUYS!!

That kind of thing.

While the manly strap-on was always a tad self-defeating – could anything, in fact, be faggier? – ‘hegans’ really does sound like the end of the road for this particular trope. It is so not hitting the spot. In fact, it’s impossible now not to point and guffaw – loudly – when you see or hear one of these joke codpieces.

So here’s a red-blooded idea. From now on, whenever you hear ‘man’ or ‘he’ strapped onto the front of something in a desperate attempt to try and butch it up and banish the inner sissy, just replace it with ‘fag’.

Fagbags. Fagscara. Fagvans. Fagliner. Fagdate. Fagmance. Fagfood. Fagly fag. Faggans.

You know it makes sense.

It’s a fun game, but you’ll also be doing everyone a huge favour by outing The Fag Within and letting him swish around giddily to his heart’s content. Getting it over and done with so we can talk about other stuff, instead of fixating over not mentioning this fucking boring pink elephant in the room.

And who knows?  It might even finally make a man out America.

Tip: DAKrolak

POSTSCRIPT: DAKrolak also kindly sent this new ‘strap-on’ ad for Dr Pepper’s manly/faggy diet drink. I guess the name ’10’ is meant to imply ‘inches’. Or as the butch man in the ironic-but-not-so-ironic ad puts it “…with 10 manly calories”.

 

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