Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The envelope, please...

And the winner of the first annual "Guess who's Gay" contest is... *drum roll* Chris Soth. He got it right, albeit just as a last minute wildly thrown Hail Mary rolled into a joke thing. Yes, boys and girls, ALL GAY. The two on the right were a couple at the time, the brunette to my left? My date. We've all moved on to other women (or more accurately, in my case, back too and then broke up with [again] the same person, but I digress).

So, why'd I take us through this little game? It's all about perception, baby. See, I wanted to see how many of you, when presented with pretty women, who didn't fit the stereotype of "dykes" and "lesbos" would consider that perhaps the "trick" wasn't that they were "all straight" but "all gay". Not one of you got it. Ask yourself why. No need to tell me. Or put it in the comments (unless you wanna).

Now, I'm not saying that ANY of you are homophobic, I don't believe my readers are. BUT. Just as there's an unconscious level of racism in most people, there's an unconscious level of buying into gay stereotypes in there too. My aim is not to point fingers or call any one names, rather, it is to help you as writers (some of whom will include gay characters in your work) to stretch beyond those stereotypes when you are writing those characters. To that end, some other facts about the women in the picture....

(All true when the picture was taken, some details may have changed since.)

2 worked as executives for Fortune 100 companies
1 owned her own business
1 was a graphic designer
1 is a twin
1 was adopted
1 was studying for her MBA
2 were home owners
3 had pets
1 had 2 sisters and no brothers
1 had a gay brother
1 spins records for fun and sometimes money
2 had gone paintballing the weekend before
1 ran 3 miles a day
1 didn't exercise at all
2 went the gym on a fairly regular basis
All were going to a $$$ per ticket charitable event
By the end of the night, all our feet were killing us!



At 6:27 AM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Grubber said...

Actually in this case, I really don't know if it is latent anything.

The question being "straight, gay or bi"...given three choices like that, one would assume(always a danger) that there would be variances to make it an intellectual challenge, if you will, given that 10% of the population is supposedly gay, then one would assume not all the girls in the photo are gay.

No different to asking which one is a volleyballer, footballer or (well, can only speak for me) would assume they are not all volleyballers(for example).

In the email I sent you the other day, I think I even said something like "I couldn't guess anyway, as who can tell just by looks."

Just my 02, again, hope you get better quick WG! Fun exercise!

At 10:09 AM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Shawn said...

See, I knew you threw that bi thing in to keep us off the scent. Very crafty of you, WG...

At 10:26 AM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Shawn said...

Okay, I'll be serious for a moment now that I've read your entire post. I don't think there was anything being said on an unconscious level, at least from my perspective. I didn't look at the picture and try to make educated guesses; I threw out answers at random just for the sake of playing along. I just wanted to win!

At 12:44 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger writergurl said...

Fellas, if it's on an unconcious level, how will you conciously know about it?
Unless you examine it...

Shawn, you make my point... you just looked and based on your UNCONCIOUS assumptions about lesbians and straight women, you assumed that beside the one who's clearly stated "I'm gay." the others were straight. Your first "instinct" (the unconcious mind at work) was "All straight."

Again, I'm NOT saying anyone had "bad" intentions when making their guesses, I'm just saying that cultural stereotypes DO affect us and they DO seep into ALL of our unconcious minds. I want you to be aware of that when writing. Not just gay characters, ANY character. Give your characters some thing that makes people go "Huh. Now, who'd of thought THAT." Gay cowboys, lesbians dressed to the nine for a black tie event, a black person who loves to line dance at a country bar, an eskimo who's allergic to fish, ANYTHING that goes beyond the stereotypes! S-T-R-E-T-C-H that imagination. You're a writer aren't ya?

At 6:36 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Grubber said...

"Again, I'm NOT saying anyone had "bad" intentions when making their guesses."

Don't worry WG, I don't think any of us thought this at all. There aren't any bad eggs among the scribosphere :)

I agree that if you take the normal stereotype and put them in an unusual situation in film, (or other mediums) it can lead to much more interesting characters, and much more reflective of real life in most cases. It is definitely part of stretching the imagination.

At 8:02 PM, January 19, 2006, Blogger Patrick J. Rodio said...

I didn't read this whole post yet, but how could we NOT guess at you gals being Gay, bi, or straight, when that was your question - Who is gay, bi or straight? It's like the option of beiing ALL GAY was not there. I feel cheated.


At 1:20 AM, January 20, 2006, Blogger writergurl said...

Patrick, I truly don't understand WHY you would fell "cheated". After all, the option of ALL being "gay, "straight" was there in equal amounts, while there was slightly less of an option for "ALL bi" (since I have loudly proclaimed my gayness), I still don't feel that the odds were anything but fair.

I DO have friend who are all over the spectrum when it comes to sexuality. Just not these particular friends.

At 8:51 PM, March 09, 2006, Anonymous alexandra said...

Wonderful stuff My Dear. And, I have to say, what a willing bunch you have here. Simply reading this discussion has got to be heartwarming.

At 10:07 PM, November 05, 2006, Blogger Chris Soth said...

So, almost a year later, I find out I won!


And who was joking?

What's my prize?



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