Gay Media Watch: Faces (and abs) of Pride

pride

Pride month is finishing in the northern hemisphere and much has been made of the fact that President Trump has not acknowledged it. But why should he? Is Pride obligatory? Is it some sacred ritual passed down by an ancient cabal of hooded monks like on every episode ever of Relic Hunter? Anyone remember Relic Hunter? That was a great show. They should bring it back.

Anyway, even among the LGBT community not everyone is in on this whole Pride thing.

After all, who does pride really represent? Let’s look at what the gay media shows us. Taking the most visible aspect of Pride Month, the Pride Parade, I have done a quick analysis of representation. And for all the talk of ‘resistance,’ ‘intersectionality’ and ‘inclusion’, the same old dominant images are being trotted out to represent Pride that are used every year: muscled, shirtless, mostly white men.

These are the unscientific and completely biased results of what I found. Don’t complain if the maths doesn’t add up; it’s taken several glasses of Margaret River Cab Sav to get through the hundreds of photos. Also I spent every highschool maths class writing out Simple Plan lyrics and staring at class hottie Paul Filacamo, which was quite an achievement considering he sat directly behind me.

So, here is an overview of the  results. Let’s look at some pages from Queerty:

San Diego Pride offered no shortage of sun-kissed eye candy
Shirtless men: 13 out of 25 photos (52 percent). It does not bode well that this the first photo I see in my research:

SanDiego1

Over a million hot guys (and girls!) turned out for World Pride in Madrid
Shirtless men: 14 out of 29 photos. (48 percent) Less than 50 percent, but it should be noted that there were 4 photos of flags and just 2 of women. So much for the (and girls!). And we are already into cartoonishly buff territory. This Instagram post leads the page:

Madrid1

Ok, I’m just taking cheap shots here. These pages are directed towards gay men. Let’s see if Advocate, a supposedly more inclusive website, has more diversity:

111 photos show a united Pride in San Diego
Shirtless men: 59 out of 111 photos (53 percent). At this point I also started counting the shirtless men by hotness using the scientific ‘super buff’ rule. In San diego, 45 out of 59 men photographed are ‘super buff’. There’s even a ripped granddad.

99 photos of Pride making a splash in Honolulu 
Shirtless men: 68 out of 99 photos (68 percent). This is to be expected from a Hawaiian pool party of course, but of these 75 percent are SUPER ripped.

98 photos of San Francisco Pride letting the sun shine in
Shirtless men: 24 out of 98 photos. (24 percent). This was one of the more diverse photo sets, though this is how they lead it:

Advocate1

105 photos of gay pool party season in L.A:
Yeah, nah I don’t have enough self-esteem to handle this page.

I went through a few more on Advocate and found that the photo series that most captures the diversity of the LGBT community is in, of all places, Arkansas. Fat people, short people, old people, clothed people are all represented. Even women! This is a concept so foreign to Advocate that they headline it 103 photos of a wholesome and unique Northwest Arkansas Pride. Ordinary people – how unique and quaint! They even let Jews march, which is a big No on the East coast:

Ark1

Give me an Arkansas Joe over an LA queen any day.

Dear gay publications: I accept the fact that you are always going to go for what’s sexy. It sells. Hell, I jerked off twice while researching. (It also gives our 10 percent of the male population 42 percent of the eating disorders, but I’ll let that slide for now). But don’t act like Trump is ‘erasing’ queer people by not acknowledging Pride month when we have a big beautiful diverse community unable to be seen because you hide them behind a wall of taught, sweaty golden muscle.

N.B The Huff Post is usually good for a bit of intersectional representation, but I couldn’t get past the first article in Queer Voices, in which they praise someone for soiling themselves.

 

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