“But why doesn’t Mike Pompeo care, right now? Are the pathetic deflections that we just heard, when he appeared on ‘Fox & Friends,’ is that a patriot speaking, or a wannabe dictator’s butt boy?”
Those words saw MSNBC Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski reprimanded for homophobic language. Suffering a backlash that drew ire from various sources, including Donald Trump, she “apologised” on Twitter.
Then she apologised-with-no-quote-marks on camera.
“Please allow me to say this face-to-face: The term is crass and offensive, and I apologize to everyone, especially the LGBTQ community, and to my colleagues for using it,”
The first I knew of this was my Facebook feed blowing up with mentions of the original piece. What fascinated me were the number of comments from gay men taking pains to note that they were gay and they were not offended. Many doubled down on this after Brzezinski’s “apology” and her apology. Most were along the lines of “For the record, I’m a gay man and I wasn’t offended”.
As soon as you take issue with anything these days you are regularly accused of beined offended. Or outraged. Or just angry. We’ve been encouraged to become walking megaphones because conflict drives clicks and eyeballs. So for the records, Brzezinski’s comment did not evoke any of thee responses from me. Instead it evoked weariness.
As others have pointed out, it’s homophobic to criticise famous male figures by alluding that they are homosexual. Nonchalant gay men on Facebook might have no issue with thee powerful men being labelled “buttboys”, but as soon as you do that you’re maligning us reali life buttboys.
Like it or not, anal sex defines us as gay men. It’s the practice most used to criminalise us, and most used against us in slurs. These insults are rooted (ha ha) in the perceived weakness of us as gay men. In particular, being the receptive partner in sex, something itself bred (ha ha ha) from misogyny. Passive = feminine = lesser.
So when Brzezinski said “buttboy” it was meant to convey a sense of weakness, since the most humiliating thing straights can imagine a heterosexual man doing is to be topped. Topping, while not ideal, isn’t nearly as humiating. Tops are masculine, a result of winning the power struggle between them to defines alpha. The winner fucks. The loser is fucked. Literally and figuratively.
We deserve better than to allow ourselves to be used like this. Tops are not inherently better people. Bottoms are not pathetic or useless. Sure, some of us will play on those stereotypes during intercourse, but equally once you’ve encountered a bossy bottom you quickly learn that fucking a guy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in control. And any man who has bottomed for a seriously hung partner knows that being receptive makes you anything but weak.
We should continue to call out language that paints us as lesser, in whatever way. And hold the line when we’re accused of being too sensitive. Just as there’s no shame in getting fucked, there’s no shame in giving a fuck.