i think people who live their lives as caricatures are goofy idiots who are inadvertently painting a stupid, unrealistic picture of their whole culture.
for example: 10 years ago, my pal lindsay had a good friend who was a gay man. he was doing online dating on plentyoffish.com at the time. i was also dating on POF (women though, mind you) so lindsay suggested i look up his profile. i said, “yeah, neat. maybe i’ll see hi to your pal.” i switched my POF search parameters to ‘men seeking men,’ and was absolutely shocked by what i saw — all the gay men were not flamboyant, fabulous, limp-wristed queens.
on the contrary, they were all just normal-looking guys. they looked like any guy i see walking down any street, in any place, at any time. i realized then that gay men are just normal guys too, and that it was asinine that i previously believed i could pick a gay man out of a lineup.
not that i don’t see the stereotypical gay man every now and then too. they certainly exist. but are they being themselves? maybe a few are, but i think the vast majority are just playing a ridiculous role, and i’m not sure why. probably because that’s how gay men are portrayed in films and tv, and some insecure people want to belong to whatever club they can, even if it’s childish and lame. so they start copying the classic hollywood gay man tropes. that’s my bet.
but this concept of people moulding themselves after an image isn’t limited to gay men, of course. it applies to every person who lacks confidence and a sense of personal identity. i mean, military people don’t need to be strict, harsh pricks outside of work. artists don’t need to be gentle, overly sensitive pussycats. jocks don’t need to be beer-swilling boneheads. you get the idea: no one needs to be any stereotype.
but that isn’t what bothers me the most about this topic. what bothers me the most is that by buying into stereotypes and playing those roles, these people are perpetuating myths and misconceptions about whatever group they are associated with. they feed the commonly held belief that a person can be defined by a single aspect, that those people are crude, one-dimensional characters. that’s a real disservice to not only themselves but everyone else who shares that particular aspect with them. it’s a fucking shame that they think they’re being “loud and proud” when they’re really just selling themselves and a lot of other people short.