Monday, April 07, 2008

The controversy surrounding ‘gay face’

Radar magazine editor Dale Hrabi gives some historical context behind the blogosphere’s new favorite term, "gay face," an expression that has emerged on the Internet and supposedly gives outsiders a way to differentiate between gay men and metrosexual wannabes.

I laughed out loud after looking at a collage of photos in the April issue of Radar with mugs ranging from Paul Lynde circa 1963 to Marcel Marceau in 1947 to modern day "gay facers" like Lance Bass and Zac Efron.

According to the article, the expression is characterized by arched eyebrows, pursed lips and exaggerated pop eyes.

Hrabi’s take was light-hearted and, well, funny as hell. I spent a few minutes looking at my reflection in the mirror trying to strike my best Zoolander "gay face."

However, the Urban Dictionary’s take on "gay face" hit me the wrong way.

"The use of certain expressions can become ingrained in the musculature of the face over time," the contributor writes. "Since effeminate gay men utilize similar facial expressions as women, they develop female aging and muscle contraction patterns in their face."

And this part from Urban Dictionary especially pissed me off:

"Gay face includes an eye expression that is both surprised looking and predatory," the definition continues.

Huh … predatory? While I’m notoriously not PC, this statement sounds a lot like something anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant would’ve said in the ‘70s.

Or, better yet, something Jay Leno would ask actor Ryan Phillippe to imitate for the "Tonight Show" camera.

On the surface, "gay face" is harmless fun. However, the term borders a dehumanizing caricature in my book.


Anonymous said...

My bisexual boyfriend totally has gayface. But in my opinion, it's not a face they MAKE. It's the little extra something 'pretty' about their faces, as opposed to the ape-like faces of straight men. Nothing predatory about it and everything sexy about it!

Anonymous said...

it is so predatory.

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