I don’t understand some people’s fixation over what’s gay or not. Not necessarily WHO is gay, but what. What inspired me to write this was a trip last weekend to the Kanamara Matsuri, also known as the Festival of the Steel Phallus in Kawasaki Daishi, Japan. A brief summary of the festival is necessary, I think.
Kanamara Matsuri is a Shinto festival that has, over the years, grown into a spectacle combining the sacred with the silly. According to the Japanese magazine Metropolis, the festival dates back to the Edo period (1603-1867).
At that time, Kawasaki’s “ladies of the night” prayed not only that business would be brisk, but for protection from syphilis. Come cherry blossom time, they gathered baskets of bamboo shoots and other sprouting delicacies, carried the shrine’s phallic image in procession through the streets, and then sat down to a merry banquet on mats spread out on the courtyard of Kanamara Shrine… Today, the highlights of this saucy festival include transvestites parading through the town’s streets carrying a mikoshi (portable shrine) with a humongous pink phallus on top. And, if that’s not guaranteed to make you blush as deeply as the surrounding cherry blossoms, then the spectacle of grandmas and grandpas sucking on carnal candy and sweetmeat replicas of this stupendous phallus, is more than likely to.
It’s the last part of the description that spawned my annoyance. I traveled to the festival by myself just to take in this scene and, of course, snap some pics. I got there and ran into 3 guys from school so we chatted and kicked it a bit. What was at first a pleasant afternoon became incredibly annoying when all the guys could do was talk about how GAY everything was.
Sure, you don’t see things like that everyday. Grown men don’t just walk around with dildos strapped to their heads. Senior citizens don’t go around brandishing dick-shaped dough and young men and women don’t stand on line for 30 minutes to get their hands on yellow and pink penis pops. Wait, take that back.
You don’t see things like that everyday when you’re from SC, FL and Jamaica which is where those 3 guys hailed from.
They pointed at one person and another, talking about how the guys were sucking on the lollipops. One of my schoolmates wanted to get something to eat and felt some kind of way about buying a hot dog because, well, we were at a penis festival. One of them wanted a lollipop, but was adamant that it would be gay of him to do so.
Now, I’ve referred to things as gay or ghey before, don’t get me wrong. I’m not on some holier than thou kick. I just don’t get obsessed with trying to point out what’s gay or not. I wonder, does suckin a lollipop shaped like a vagina make me a lesbian? Will I be consumed with a desire to go out and meet a woman, tear off her clothes and lick her box? No.
It was just annoying. I find men who are so fixated on what’s gay or not to be terribly unattractive. Dude even told me that sucking on a lollipop is gay, period. No matter how the pop is shaped. To make himself clear, he told me that if given a blowpop, he’d bite it as soon as he put it in his mouth. I said, well damn, I guess you should just stick to gum and not lollipops then. It was clear to me that my schoolmates were just uncomfortable being in a setting where men were dressed as women and brazenly participating in the festivities. I’m pretty sure that many of the people who were there were in fact straight, heterosexual people but it was a party, ya know?
I always think back to a debate that went on in my boyfriend’s dorm room freshman year of college. He and his buddies were arguing over whether, if one possessed the ability to fellate himself (if you know what I mean) and did so, did that make him gay or was he simply masturbating? The crux of the debate is whether to focus on having a penis in your mouth (which they said, was gay all the time) or the self-pleasure (which is what masturbation is all about). To this day, I don’t believe they’ve ever settled it. I bring that up because it’s a silly argument and if you knew those guys it would be really funny to you. But I also mention it to highlight the stupidity of such discussions. Like, really dude… maybe you’re gay because you’re spending so much time trying to classify what is and is not gay. Maybe my 3 schoolbuds are gay because they basically spent their afternoon criticizing how other men sucked a lollipop. Doesn’t matter to me though, since they all sound like idiots, regardless of their orientation.
FYI, the shrine in Kawasaki Daishi is real and a place of Shinto prayer and ceremony. The festival helps to celebrate the shrine and to raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness. Can’t be mad at that.
18 responses to “That’s so gay!”
between the catholic priests molesting little boys and the whole DL phenomenon, people are just not willing to take any chances.
i dont blame straight people at all for wanting to know who’s who. i blame some gay people for pretending.
terry mcmillan simply thought her man wasnt that masculine and being open-minded got her caught up in some bullshit that none of us want to experience. better safe than sorry and maybe labeling/stereotyping makes people feel safer.
i guess part of the reason the term homo-PHOBIA was coined is because people fear what they dont understand. flaming drag queens—i understand. closet homosexuals–i dont.
kinda goes back to the post on 360 waves. is it gay? maybe. maybe not. if you found out your man was gay later wouldnt you be like “aha! i should have seen the signs”
as for lollipops, they ARE phallic symbols. does sucking one and enjoying it make you gay or mean that you have an oral fixation? maybe. mabye not. not too many people are trying to find out the hard way.
there are inherent reasons why people choose to do certain things as opposed to others. if you sucked on a vagina shaped lollipop i would wonder why you chose that one over all the others available. might not be gay but dam sure suspect and the risks/consequences are not ones most people want to take.
1. Catholic priests molesting children, or anyone molesting children for that matter, doesn’t really have to do with identifying gay people because gay doesn’t equal molester. Besides, they weren’t pointing out gay people, they were just saying doing xyz is acting gay and being all giggly which in my opinion is just kind of silly. These weren’t guys trying to figure out if their partner was a closet homosexual. They were acting like 3rd graders who hear the word poop.
2. If labeling/stereotyping makes people feel safer, I guess that’s one thing, but I personally don’t find that to be an attractive trait. People label/stereotype black people to make themselves feel safer and I can hands down say that’s no good, even if that person has an example or 20 to point to.
3. If I sucked on a vagina lollipop because I was at a vagina shrine and I wanted a lollipop that would not make me a lesbian. THat’d make me a person at a vagina shrine who likes candy and who doesn’t think that such a simple action would have a direct link to her sexuality.
4. People don’t name and identify people or things because it’s a safe thing to do, they do it because they’re afraid. Gay people aren’t who you should be afraid of if you’re trying to avoid molestation and HIV/AIDS. You should be afraid of molesters and people with HIV/AIDS, who could be anyone regardless of orientation.
never said it was RIGHT or made any reference to HIV or AIDS. simply stated where the paranoia originated and why some people feel a need to know who is gay and who isnt.
being paranoid is never good or attractive but its not completely unfounded.
i wasnt disagreeing with you or agreeing with your friends. im not on anybody’s side.
How do you mistake general dude talk with an obsession about gaydom or gayism?
Since as far back as I can remember, a woman sucking on a lollipop has been among one of the most sexual imagery, and we all know what it invokes. So it seems strange that you would consider it a stretch when we compare a man sucking on a lollipop to something highly sexual, hence gay.
The fact is if “SC” was gay, I would be making fun if him for sucking on a dick or getting pounded by a dude, but he would still be my dude. Similar to how he would be making fun of me about the type of women I fuck.
As you have admitted we have all refer more often than not to things be gay, or “ghey”. In your haste to label us as being judgmental homophobes, you fell into the same trap of judging us. Next time we’ll make sure to behave ourselves not like men normally do around each other, but rather like females and talk in a manner that will not induce your dislike.
A bunch of dudes talking about shit being gay…ummm…yea that seems far-fetched and fabulously idiotic
Hopefully it won’t hurt too much when you jump off that high-horse
First of all, thanks for your comment.
Now, I’m happy to be on this “high horse” as you call it. There are certain things that I personally can’t accept and one of them is excessive talk about what is or is not gay. It’s my prerogative to feel that way and to voice that sentiment.
The fact that it’s guy talk or whatever doesn’t excuse it in my mind. There’s a lot of so-called guy talk that I find to be deplorable, and which I don’t find attractive.
What i’m trying to figure out is why your tone is so nasty. You mad? If you and your buddies like to jone on each other for “acting gay” then do your thing. I’ll just saunter by on my horse and we’ll both keep on living our lives.
Words are reflections of ideas. It seems either you don’t understand what your friends are saying, or you are engaging in self centered grandstanding to make yourself feel above others.
Different words have different meanings to different people. Just like the word “gay” means “happy” to some people, the term “gay” to young American males could perhaps be best defined as something used to describe people sucking on dick lollipops.
Because words are simply a medium for ideas, it makes no sense to judge a word as offensive without taking the idea reflected behind it into consideration. Its not the wrapping (word) that is relevant, but the gift inside it (idea). The way the boys used the term gay is self defining. It describes things akin to men prancing around with giant dicks above their heads and sucking on phallus shaped objects. This is not a hateful idea, and your contempt for it shows either a lack of understanding or a need to feel offended for selfish reasons.
I think that I fully understood where they were coming from. In fact, we talked about it while we were all standing there. I get that they were joking, not trying to be hateful. I just think after a while, the joke isn’t funny anymore. At some point, they were going on and on about it so as to not feel uncomfortable in their own skin. I feel like I’m in a place to say that because, well, I know them and I was there.
I just think that when you’re at a shrine, a festival where this is being done… where things of this type happen every year (maybe not specifically since there weren’t dick pops in the 17th century but there were carvings from vegetables) it’s kind of stupid to act like you’re at a frat party and giggle about it so much.
As an aside, when one is offended, when isn’t that personal? So how does one feel offended for selfish reasons? Please explain.
seeing a starving ethiopian and being mad at capitalism for creating it = offended for selfless reasons.
seeing men joke about what is or isnt gay regardless of whether or not it actually even offends those being taunted or those who are gay = offended for selfish reasons.
basically what you are saying SOUNDS LIKE they shouldnt be doing it not because its inherently wrong but because you find it unattractive.
Wait, you’re not saying that just because a person (gay, Jewish, Black, disabled or whatever) doesn’t get offended by being taunted that it’s okay to do the taunting? I hope that’s not what you’re saying. If it is, I say this: That’s like when that dude from the Golf Channel, Kelly Tilghman joked about Tiger Woods being lynched and folks were like, well since Tiger wasn’t offended, no one else should be. That’s crazy. I take offense to bigotry and ignorance towards all groups of people, whether I can be labeled as a member of that group or not. (FYI, I’m not saying that my friends were going as far to be bigots)
But still, even if, as you put it, I am offended for selfish reasons, I can be as offended or put off as I want to be, right? I know that they read this blog entry and I’m sure my opinion won’t stop anyone from doing what they want to do. That wasn’t even the goal. It’s my blog, so this is where I put my opinions and thoughts and whatever else tickles my fancy… especially when things offend ME or stand out as unattractive to ME.
You state,”I take offense to bigotry and ignorance towards all groups of people, whether I can be labeled as a member of that group or not. (FYI, I’m not saying that my friends were going as far to be bigots)”.
On one hand you state that your friends were not going as far to be bigots, but in the sentence before you associate what they say as a form of bigotry. The conundrum you face stems from the fact that the meaning of what they said indeed was not bigoted. This brings us to what you say later in your post.
“It’s my blog, so this is where I put my opinions and thoughts and whatever else tickles my fancy… especially when things offend ME or stand out as unattractive to ME.”
Me, me, me. The problem is that you wish to impose what you feel to be the connotations behind a word, rather than the connotations actually intended and expressed by the speakers of the word. You seek to feel rather than think. You are in no position to determine what sounds are offensive without taking into consideration the meanings behind them.
Your position is similar to those who become horribly offended at the use of curse words such as “fuck” (sorry if that offends you). Its just a word . . . a sound. You come off as the same type of person in a more modern context. You believe using the word “gay” to describe something is inherently wrong, just like some people think using the word “fuck” is inherently wrong. The only thing that seems to be inherently wrong is your logic.
No, that’s not what I said. In the sentence before I was addressing the statement that seemed to say you can only be offended by something if you have some direct personal claim or relationship to it.
Further I am very much in the position to determine what offends me, regardless of someone’s intended meaning. If I were to call someone a bitch I could say I was just playing or I mean bitch as a friendly term but if the person I’m talking to doesn’t see it that way and sees bitch as disrespectful, well then they have a right to feel disrespected.
Yes, of course you can determine what offends you. The relevant question however is whether it makes sense to be offended. The word “foot” could offend me, but that doesn’t mean that my righteous indignation is justified if I am offended by it.
oh my dear sweet lisaree’
what im saying is that you already admitted that it wasnt the taunting but the EXCESSIVE taunting that got under your skin. you also admit to using the term “ghey” to describe things that you find suspect or non-manly.
so what im saying and what i think everybody else is also saying is that it comes off as a weak argument to say that its only acceptable when you do it because you know when, where and how to taunt gay people “properly”.
see your post on 360 waves for details.
smells a lot like hypocrisy.
please remember that mine is a neutral pt. of view. i dont know any of yall wheras if these are your friends then something must have happened where they thought calling someone/thing gay or ghey was acceptable to you. its the extent at which the terms are used that seem to be of issue to you.
also, gay is not a race and should not be compared to being black. why black is compared to being disabled is beyond my comprehension.
victim mentality, perhaps?
Wow @ “victim mentality” I really think you’re reaching. I was saying to be Black is the same as to be gay or being disabled, I was merely listing groups to which people can belong to and which can be the subject of discrimination. Is that within your comprehension?
As far as hypocrisy goes, I think I gave a nod to that by even mentioning that I have used gay in a silly way before. Am I better than others? Of course not. Do I recognize when I’m faulty as well as other’s faults? Yes. Are there cracks in my glass house? Damn skippy. Can I talk about what irritates me nonetheless? For sure.
As far as your point of view, I truly appreciate it and the fact that you want to comment/engage. I don’t think you’re biased in any way and I thank you for sharing your opinion, whether or not it is in line with my own.
thanks for the nice eye opening article… now if just a few eyes are opened then you have made a difference in the world…
gays are people too…
i don’t consider myself gay but i have fellated many men that are strangers…is there anything wrong with that? i mean, it’s something enjoyable between two consenting adults. when i am doing it i feel my stress go away, i am more relaxed and feel like i am needed. the encouragement i get from some men who tell me i do a wonderful job even gives me a boost in my self-esteem…i have never had a father-figure in my life and they provide that for me; that’s why i am at my best for them.
Frankly why would anyone from half way across the world choose to go to a Penis Festival? You are either really curious about penissssssssss> Hmmmmm. Is that a gay thing? Maybe they were trying to cover up their own gayness by being all macho.,,but what would I know? Just thinking out loud.