Open Forum Friday: Is There a Double Standard for Sex Scenes with Gay Characters on Screen?

Over the past few years we’ve been seeing a rise in gay characters in both high profile movies and on popular TV shows. Sean Penn’s Oscar win for Milk would seem to indicate that tolerance and acceptance are finally setting in, but have the barriers truly been broken down, or is it just a big self-congratulatory pat on the back for Hollywood?

Devin over at CHUD brings us an interesting update regarding Jim Carrey’s latest film I Love You, Phillip Morris, based on the true life story of a prison escapee who falls in love with his cell mate. It seems that despite the fact that it features two high profile actors (Ewan McGregor plays the cell mate) and garnered decent reviews at Sundance, the movie remains stuck in limbo without a distributor. The suspected reason? It features some pretty explicit gay sex scenes. To put it in Tropic Thunder terms: apparently Jim Carrey didn’t know that you never go full gay.

It seems like audiences are now willing to watch a movie with gay characters in it, but they are still hesitant to explore the sexuality and romantic life of these characters. Is that understandable, or is that homophobic? I’m not sure. To be clear, we’re not talking about porn here, we’re talking about sex scenes that fall within MPAA guidelines. I understand that sex scenes in movies often exist for the purposes of titillation, which can be subverted when you’re not attracted to any of the characters. But that’s not the only reason for a sex scene, is it? I would hope we’re all mature enough to realize that there are plenty of other important things that can be conveyed in a sex scene. What do you think, is this a double standard? Do love scenes between gay characters make you uncomfortable? Is this something that will just take time for people to adapt to? This is a touchy subject for some, so let’s try to respectful in our discussion. Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.

  • I Love You Phillip Morris is a fantastic book, and I’ve been following the film production closely. From the footage I’ve seen, along with interviews from the cast and crew, it looks to be a faithful and promising adaptation that everyone is quite proud of.
    Here’s some coverage from Sundance:

    This latest news of still not having a distributor is extremely frustrating, especially after the recent success of Milk. If a homophobic person doesn’t want to see it, they really need to get over themselves, it’s just a movie. But then nobody is forcing them to see it either. Can’t the studios trust the American public to decide for themselves?

    They should follow Focus Features’ release model for Brokeback Mountain, starting in New York, LA, and San Francisco, and let word of mouth do the rest. That movie went on to make $178M worldwide, twelve times it’s production budget. If that isn’t enough incentive for them, I don’t know what is.

  • “But that’s not the only reason for a sex scene, is it?”

    No, but even when there are other reasons, it’s the same type of thing — the scene is meant to make the audience feel something. To evoke an emotional response.

    Sex scenes are either meant to stimulate sexual arousal, to evoke a romantic response, or both. Even when they’re “an integral part of the plot”, they’re still going to create an emotional response, whether we want them to or not.

    When you’re watching a sex scene with someone you’re not attracted to — whether physically or emotionally — it’s going to change what you feel while watching it.

    And, regardless of how you might feel about homosexuals in regards to civil rights or who they are as people, if you find an act gross, you’ll feel gross while watching it. Some people find male-on-male (or female-on-female) sexual interaction a big turn-off, so they’ll be grossed out by it.

    Sadly, people will equate this to discrimination against gays, when it is not.

    For example, I’ve known heterosexual women who are grossed out anytime there’s male frontal nudity. Doesn’t mean they necessarily have a problem with men. Doesn’t mean they’re feminist either. Nor lesbian.

    Another example — some people have a foot fetish, whereas some people are actually turned off by feet. If you had a scene in a movie with people licking each other’s toes, some people would be absolutely grossed out by that. Doesn’t equate to them treating anyone any differently.

    Yeah, there’s more to the homosexual thing. I know. Here’s my point…

    This isn’t going to change. Not in film, anyway. Even people who are supportive of gays, both on personal and sociological levels, may be grossed out by gay sexual activity. That’s just part of who they are.

    It doesn’t automatically mean they’re homophobic. It means they find that activity a sexual turn-off. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Gays have had a long road of persecution, and that needs to end. But it doesn’t that the solution is to have people who are sexually turned off by it find a way to stop being turned off by it. If we try to solve it that way, it’ll lead to more conflict, and both sides will lose.

    Instead, we need to learn to be accepting of one another DESPITE our differences.

  • “If a homophobic person doesn’t want to see it, they really need to get over themselves, it’s just a movie. But then nobody is forcing them to see it either. Can’t the studios trust the American public to decide for themselves?”

    Agreed. Unfortunately, as always with the studios, it’s a numbers game. And they fear there are enough people, homophobic or otherwise, who won’t see it that they won’t make their money back on the film.

    It’s sad that studios aren’t willing to take chances anymore.

  • I must admit, I totally agree with all the points of # 2. Erik. Tolerance and the way you feel when watching something are two different things. While Im very tolerant and believe 100& that people who are gay are born that way I still felt a tad weird watching Sean Penn and James Franco making out in Milk. Why? Because Im not gay, and thus not attracted to guys. Thats just a natural feeling. Still I would see the Jim Carrey film, no doubt. Although if he’s going at it with another guy it will feel a little weird to me. Again because Im not gay. Its not what Im attracted to. Nothing more nothing less. Still I have no problem seeing a film with gay characters if the story is a good one like Brokeback Mountain.


  • Damndirtyape

    Lets turn this around.. if the vast majority of paying audiences were gay, how many films would you see with straight people having sex? Would it be called heterophobic by straight people when they could not find a distributer for their films that contained straight sex scenes?

  • Was going ot make a clear, and wise point. Erik made it, better than I would have.

    Kudos, Erik, I agree with you. I’m extremely liberal. I think gay people should have every right we do, and I was very embarrassed for my state when we passed Prop 8. I myself am in a polyamorous relationship. Just making a point of liberalism. But depite all this, guys kissing guys turns me off, and makes me cringe. It’s just not attractive for me. I’ll still watch the movie, because I assume it’s funny otherwise, but I’ll wince when the sex scenes come up. Reflex. Not my thing.

  • Theman

    First off there’s nothing wrong with feeling unconformable during a gay sex scene if your straight. Its not your thing, I don’t think that makes you homophobic. If you yelled out the F word than thats a different story. I’m sure a gay person would feel unconformable watching a straight sex scene.

    I personally think Hollywood got more of a problem with Interracial sex (black guys with white women) than gay sex. I can’t think of any interracial sex scenes in any main stream movie with in the pass 10 years. But ironically there’s way more antipathy towards gays in society. Well in American anyway.

  • I’m straight but have watched hardcore sex scenes between guys (in the movie “Thundercrack”) and it doesn’t bother me at all.

    But I think a lot of straight guys are uncomfortable with even seeing two guys kissing. And I don’t think this means they are homophobic in the true sense. They may be quite able to interact comfortably with gay men in a social situation.

    But I think what underlies this uncomfortability (and makes it greater, I suspect, than what a gay man might feel about seeing heterosexual sex scenes) is a deep-seated fear that one has a gay element to one’s own personality. I experience this myself but not to the extent that it makes me uncomfortable watching these scenes in movies. This could also be called homophobia in the sense that it is a fear of homosexuality, but it is quite distinct from open intolerance toward homosexuals, though it no doubt also underlies that tendency.

  • “I can’t think of any interracial sex scenes in any main stream movie with in the pass 10 years.”

    Billy Bob Thorton and Halle Berry in “Monster’s Ball”. Great film, great sex scene.

  • Niklas

    Most people are still very homophobic in my opinion. They might accept that gay characters exist but notice how in most movies they are used as comic relief and not someone to take seriously.

  • rus in chicago

    I agree that the entertainment industry is not living up to their end of the bargain in this new age of multiple media outlets to allow these stories to get out. Maybe the producers are holding out for theatrical distribution instead of On Demand. We all know marketing dollars are the reason all film distribution deals get debated. Any distributor that takes this film on will need to commit to a specialized marketing campaign that is specific to this type of film. Why these companies shy away from a challenge I don’t know. Oh wait I do know, they are spineless suits scared for their jobs and not bold individuals like the producers and directors that make the films.

    Another point on the filmmakers, let’s not forget that they chose this material and fully understood that the tantalizing aspect and the negative aspect of the project is in the gay relationship. If this was a story about a male prisoner having an affair with a female guard it doesn’t have near the appeal. The gay relationship between male prisoners is both the positive and negative aspect of this story. Negative meaning marketing challenge.

    On sexual response to sex scenes in mainstream film. Yes, I’m a red blooded male and love to see my favorite actresses roll around in the hay, but most of the films that get me really going are the ones where the sex is excessive and actually have nothing to do with the story, or the story is weak, dumb fun, i.e., Striptease, Mischief. It is very few films that both sexually excite me and the sex is just right for the film, i.e., Little Children.

    My point is your own sexual arousal/responce from a film should not even be a category when judging a character study, serious film like the one we are discussing here. The beauty of Brokeback Mt. was the sexual behavior was sufficient to communicate a level of lust, passion, suppressed desire, and ultimately true love. If you are still appalled by this gay love but you get the point trying to be communicated then the scene, in my mind, is correct and fine. I don’t look to my serious film choices for sexual arousal; I look to porn for that.

  • Theman

    “Billy Bob Thorton and Halle Berry in “Monster’s Ball”. Great film, great sex scene.”

    Name one between a blackman and a white woman in a main stream Hollywood movie? In the pass 10 years or so? Name one on a major network TV show? This is something thats very prevent in our society but its simply doesn’t exist in movies or TV.

    I completely believe that gay characters are more acceptable in Hollywood than showing Blackmale/ Whitefemale couples on screen. Hancock used a plot device to avoid this.

    Actually for TV sex and the city had one. But still I think this is just as under represented. But yet like gay sex theres a huge market in porn for it.

  • Falsk

    I think David’s got the best point here.

    And furthermore, what if the movie involved two women instead of two men? Because there certainly is a double standard with guy-guy vs. girl-girl.

    As for tolerance I’m wondering if it’s just a matter of time for something to be “comfortable”. I know it’s not the same thing, but with violence how likely would you be to feel uncomfortable seeing something like a gunshot wound or a knife stab or some sort of shot like that full on? And have you always felt that way? Was it seeing the same thing over and over that allowed you to become comfortable with this? In the same respect, how recent has gay sex been screened on film vs. guy-on-girl sex? How old were you when you first saw a heterosexual sex scene vs. a homosexual one?

    As a 21 year old female I don’t find myself uncomfortable by any sort of sex scene and I really can’t say why I feel this way and other people don’t. I also can’t help wondering how long topics like this will come up before we all get “used” to it.

  • Liz

    I’m laughing hysterically at Erik’s suggestion that a woman being turned off by male full frontal in a film doesn’t automatically mean she’s a feminist, as if once you’re in the feminist club you have to hate men and their bodies. Oh man. Where do people get this stuff?

    I think this movie and it’s lack of distribution has to do specifically with what Falsk brought up: guy/guy vs. girl/girl. This issue never gets brought up when there are girl-on-girl make-out or sex scenes in movies; I’d argue that 90% of the time you see it in a relatively mainstream film, it’s there specifically for the titillation of men and not because it actually adds anything to the story. I don’t have hard stats on this, but I’m guessing threesome with two women tends to show up in Top Five lists regarding straight men’s sexual fantasies, and girl-on-girl homosexuality in film is often done in a way to facilitate that fantasy.

    Most movie executives are men. It’s not shocking that female homosexuality has a much easier time getting greenlit than male homosexuality. I’m not surprised that movies with sex scenes involving two men are being penalized by lack of distribution deals. If a movie isn’t securing a distribution deal because of a male homosexual sex scene, I’m not understanding how that is NOT homophobia. It’s definitely homophobia on the part of the executives.

  • Liz, it’s not homophobia. You know it isn’t because you already explained it wasn’t (before you came to the conlusion it was). It’s called capitalism.

    If nobody wants to buy guy-on-guy, nobody is going to sell it. It has nothing to do with any sort of phobia. 98% of the world is not homosexual. Should it suprise you that movies ABOUT homosexuality don’t sell or “get distribution” as well as films that feature hetero romances???


  • Liz

    I said it wasn’t shocking that films with homosexual couples don’t secure distribution deals, so I’m not sure what’s with the multiple question marks of indignation. I also agree with you that a huge part of it is about capitalism, as it is with any other film. It’s a very basic part of the equation.

    But when it comes to an issue like this, it isn’t solely about capitalism, it’s about sexual politics and how that affects people who get to make the choices about what films we as audience members get to see. My ability to show studio executives that there are people interested in seeing these stories (read: people to make money off of) is limited by the studios and their refusal to give people an opportunity to see the films. I can’t buy a ticket to a movie that hasn’t been released.

    So it comes back to the executives. What I find amusing is that the “bromance” genre is so huge right now and the amount of homoeroticism present in bromances is absolutely staggering, yet because there is a constant reaffirmation in each story about how the men involved are completely 100% straight, this stuff gets greenlit. (Which is fine, I like those movies as much as the next person.) But suddenly if the two male leads take their homoeroticism to the next level and actually engage in a romantic, sexual relationship? All bets (and distribution deals) are off. That’s a strong message to send: homoeroticism is only okay as long all the characters are actually straight and/or if that homoeroticism is used a consistent punchline. Actual homosexuality need not apply. This is textbook homophobia.

    That Hollywood is homophobic shouldn’t be surprising, given how it’s also has a long and ongoing history with racism and sexism as well. It’s depressing.

  • Damndirtyape

    Hollywood homophobic? I think just the opposite is true. Numerous TV shows have openly gay characters, some of which are the main stars of the show.

    Ever watch a typical crime show TV drama like Law and Order – Invariably the gay guy is persecuted and framed by the “evil” Christian priest. Never do we see gay men portrayed as pedophiles and rapists. Instead the cast breaks out into a forced, heavy handed exchange about how “barbaric it is to think gay people choose to be gay instead of be born that way.”

    I live in LA and work in the entertainment industry and I have lived in many states throughout my life. In my experience – as well as that of my friends- the influence of gays in the film/tv business is enormously positive compared to the rest of the country, save a few areas on the coasts such as San Francisco. Hollywood usually spits out incredibly Politicaly Correct products out fo fear of offending people. When was the last time you saw a sitcom or commerical that involved a mugger or robber who was black or mexican?

    As far as the word “homophobic” goes, I think that is essentially just a buzz word, like “racist” that people like to throw around and use as a weapon against people who dont agree with one’s own view. As far as I’m concerned, those words have little meaning anymore since they are invoked at the drop of a hat.

    Being grossed out by watching two men have sex is not homophobic. Refusing to embrace other people’s sexual choices with open arms is not homophobic. Dragging a gay man to his death behind a truck is an example of homophobia. In my experience, a typical person who is not a fundamentalist Christian typically has a “live and let live” attitude towards gays. They don’t want them hunted down and imprisoned, but at the same time they don’t want to necessarily see them fooling around onscreen.

    Could not the same attitude be said of countless other viewpoints and practices from every other strata of society? I would not classify everything that you don’t want to see onscreen as a phobia.

    People generally do not want to see animals hunted and killed and skinned onscreen, yet it is a natural part of life and human history. Does that make hollywood “huntophobic” ??

  • Liz

    I’m sorry “homophobic” and “racist” have little meaning to you anymore, Damndirtyape, because this type of desenitization to the words is exactly what makes people overlook the homophobia and racism that isn’t particularly brutal, violent, or explicit like the kind you describe (e.g. dragging someone behind a truck). Institutionalized homophobia and racism are sometimes difficult to see if you don’t first check your own privilege at the door. I agree completely that Hollywood is definitely more liberal than most other parts of America, and that’s why the sexism, racism, and homophobia that comes up in Hollywood creations is extremely disheartening.

    I have difficulty with the idea that capitalism is the only thing keeping movies like this from being released. The two big gay movies of the last couple of years, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Milk”, were each made for about $15 million each. “Brokeback” ended up with $178 million worldwide gross revenue, and while “Milk” has not been quite as successful, it’s currently up to $49 million worldwide. These movies more than made back their budget, and then some. I definitely think they appealed to a niche audience of open-minded filmgoers and not Joe Q Public, but I think they clearly prove that money can be made off stories with homosexual lead characters.

    What I’m getting from the comments here is “No one wants to see a movie like this” when what they really mean is “I personally don’t want to see a movie like this”. And that’s fine. You don’t have to see it. More importantly, not seeing it doesn’t mean you’re homophobic (unless your refusal to see it is based on homophobia, of course). I think people are having difficulty calling this issue out as homophobia because they fear being labelled homophobic themselves for not wanting to see it, when in fact a personal decision not to see a film is not where the homophobia issue even comes into play with this situation.

    (Myself? I have no interest because I don’t like Jim Carrey, end of story, and unless it gets picked up and the trailer convinces me otherwise, I probably won’t see it.)

  • Woo

    Well, I’m impressed that the level of civility has been pretty good so far. Kudos to all, as these types of topics tend to flame out pretty quick.

    I do have to take a little issue with your posts, though, Liz. In your comment, you stated that you don’t enjoy Jim Carrey (I’m there with you). That doesn’t make you a Jim Carrey-aphobe, right? You simply have some reason(s) that movies starring Jim Carrey turn you off to them. We, the Jim Carrey-disliking world don’t want him to have to stop acting, or to be dragged behind a car, we simply don’t want him on the screen that we are viewing.

    The same applies to people who, for whatever their reason, wouldn’t want to see male-on-male sexuality onscreen. It’s a bit naive to automatically slap the “homophobe” label on EVERYONE who expresses this view.

    While Milk and Brokeback have both been commercially successful, they don’t do as well as MANY other movies. America is a country where almost every state that took up the issue of same-sex marriages votes an embarrassing “no”. If you had to choose which movie to greenlight, a movie with male homosexuality would very likely NOT appeal to these people. So it would almost necessarily be a choice that would leave money on the table. That’s a hard one in any line of work, and I think Hollywood does it way more than most other industries.

  • Liz

    “It’s a bit naive to automatically slap the “homophobe” label on EVERYONE who expresses this view. ”

    I’m not. I explicitly said if you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to and it won’t make you a homophobe. I don’t know anyone on this thread personally and I’d like to hope that no one here is homophobic, even if they have no interest in seeing this movie.

    What I do think is naive is that people keep asserting that not liking something doesn’t mean that you’re a whatever-a-phobe. My not liking Jim Carrey or talking animals or whatever else in movies is not a phobia because it’s a personal, sometimes irrational dislike of something. Homophobia comes with huge amounts of political and personal value judgement that diminishes and dismisses the victims.

    You should check out this straight privilege checklist: . Straight people (and/or people who don’t like Jim Carrey) can count on these privileges in their day to day life. I’m not going to persecuted at work or at home because of a dislike of Jim Carrey. People don’t use “Jim Carrey” as a slur. I don’t have to hide the fact that I dislike him. Etc. Homosexuals can’t always rely on these things the way straight people and Jim Carrey fans can. Not liking Jim Carrey doesn’t make one “Carrey-phobic”; the same cannot be said of not liking/accepting homosexuality. The same goes for the previous example of being “huntophobic”.

    “While Milk and Brokeback have both been commercially successful, they don’t do as well as MANY other movies.”

    Right, and there are lots of non-gay-centric movies that completely tank as well, yet Hollywood doesn’t stop making them on account of the almighty buck. It’s hard to justify not distributing a gay-centric film on account of money when we’ve had recent examples of financially successful gay-centric films.

  • Damndirtyape

    A phobia is an irrational fear of something. I do not want to see gay men having sex, yet I do no fear or hate them. I think I speak for the vast majority of people in America on this issue. I don’t mind seeing two women fool around though, nor do most men. Is that “fair” or hypocritical – who can say? It’s just the way it is. Interestingly my wife ( and other women presumably) feels the same way, so I think it goes beyond just the male gender.

    I would totally disagree with Liz’s statement that to dislike gay behavior = homophobia because they have a history of persecution, while disliking hunting ( or anything else) is not the same because it does not have a history of persecution. That line of reasoning makes no sense to me.

    Confined spaces or airplane rides do not have a history of persecution, yet we correctly describe extreme irrational fear of them as phobias. Soft “persecution” of countless aspects of daily life abound by everyone. Fat people, dumb people, jocks, short people, tall people,hippies, people with acne, big ears and deformed limbs, hyperactive kids, pot smokers.. you name it. We have all teased and mocked and discrimintaed against. I have been around gay people who SAVAGED other people on their appearance and political affiliations. They didn’t seem too persecuted to me. Or if they were, they had no right to compain about it based on their treatment of others.

    So I think one has to careful to clarify at what point soft discrimination is elevated to the level of true injustice and phobia, and at what point does that infringe on constituional rights. We do not a constitutionl right not be made fun of or be included in movies. Few of the items on that straightpriveldge list I would classify as rising to any serious level beyond what other people face from time to time.

    So does not distributing gay films to the mainstream reflect a soft discrimination – perhaps. Does that equate with persecution and phobic behavior? No way.

  • Liz

    “I do not want to see gay men having sex, yet I do no fear or hate them. I think I speak for the vast majority of people in America on this issue. I don’t mind seeing two women fool around though, nor do most men. Is that “fair” or hypocritical – who can say?”

    It’s clearly a double standard and definitely hypocritical. I’m not sure why this is even in question.

    If you seriously think there is no difference between disliking something like hunting and disliking homosexual people (or films portraying homosexuality), then there’s seriously nothing more I can say on this subject. I think it’s clear where most people in this post stand on the issue, and suffice it to say I find that stance pretty disappointing.

  • Woo

    Liz – Again, I’m with you on most of what you’re saying. I dig the straight privilege stuff, I think that it’s right on, just as I’m a believer of white privilege (check out Tim Wise on youtube – great speaker).

    What I’m still in disagreement about is that you can decree one to be simple preference (prefer not to watch Jim Carrey) and the other some sort of bigoted stance (prefer not to watch types of homosexuality). Either way it’s a either hurtful close-mindedness or a preference.

    It seems that your posts indicate that you feel that because someone may not be into watching certain things for entertainment that they are necessarily mean or against the gay cause, and that’s an unfortunate stance. It seems like most people on this post are trying to be both honest and open-minded, and it seems unfortunate that the goal of your posts (advocate more togetherness) is a so unjustly served by the tone (you’re all bigots).

    I *really* am understanding the straight privilege thing, and I’m not trying to minimize it in any way. I’m just confused why you think there is only one way to think as a compassionate person – your way.

  • Liz

    “It seems that your posts indicate that you feel that because someone may not be into watching certain things for entertainment that they are necessarily mean or against the gay cause, and that’s an unfortunate stance.”

    No, Woo, as I said in previous comments, “not seeing it doesn’t mean you’re homophobic” and also “if you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to and it won’t make you a homophobe”. In case it wasn’t clear from those two comments, let me state it again: not seeing this movie does not mean you are homophobic. Third time lucky, one hopes.

    The stance I declared disappointment in in my last comment was that people seem to be taking the stance that this film not finding distribution is not related to homophobia. (Sorry if that was not clearly expressed.) If this is not what others are trying to say, then I’m having a hard time finding the other “Yes, this is homophobia, at least on some level” comments on this post.

    The reason one is a preference and one is a bigoted stance is related exactly to the issues listed in that straight privilege article I linked to. No one gets persecuted for liking (or not liking) Jim Carrey, hunting, the colour green, or pizza. They’re not prejudices that carry negative consequences. They’re not value judgements. They’re not moral judgements. You don’t get damned to hell by fanatics for liking (or not liking) Jim Carrey. You don’t get disowned by bigoted family members for enjoying pizza. People don’t look at you differently once they find out your favourite colour is green. You don’t get kicked out of the American military for disclosing your love of hunting. Bigotry is related to discrimination; I can’t recall the last time anyone was discriminated against for any of the inane things I listed above. (Perhaps hunters are discriminated against by PETA, I will concede that.)

    I think there are dozens (thousands!) of ways to think as a compassionate person, I just don’t include the explaining away the homophobia of movie executives as part of that compassion. :(

  • Liz

    Also, I agree completely with Damndirtyape that no one has any constitutional right to be represented on film (or represented a certain way). Movie studios are private companies who can do whatever they damned well please. This doesn’t mean we have to be passive audiences and accept this. If they are indeed only in it for the money, then we can vote with our wallets and support films that exhibit diversity and inclusion instead of sameness and exclusion.

  • What I’m wondering is why one of the arthouse distributors doesn’t pick up the U.S. distribution. Gay-themed films do well in arthouses – “Mysterious Skin”, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, practically anything by Almodovar…

    I don’t know what it is like in the U.S. but in Australia there is a bias IN FAVOUR of homosexuality when it comes to getting arts funding, just as it helps to be non-white. As Australian exploitation movie director John Lamond put it :

    “There’s a whole generation of film-makers in Australia who’ve been totally constrained by the government hand-out process. And there must have been a hell of a temptation to go along when you’re a film-maker and think, ‘Right, I’m going to have to second-guess, because if I want the money, I may have to turn my private eye into a lesbian social-worker, so maybe I’ll go the whole hog. I’ll tell them that the hero’s a lesbian aboriginal and they’ll send the money around in a truck that afternoon.'”

    It all comes down to political correctness. We all have a choice about how we act, but none of us have much of a choice about what we feel. I can treat gays, women and people of other races as I would wish to be treated myself. That is the essence of social justice and also of personal morality. But I may, internally, feel a fear or hatred of any of these groups of people. Some people use terms like racist, sexist or homophobic not just to criticise behaviour which harms non-whites, women or gays, but because they realise that these words can be used to play on a sense of guilt that we may have about internal feelings over which we have no control. The problem is that, if we are going to grow less fearful and hateful, it is only going to happen if we are able to talk about these fears and hatreds without being condemned as “homophobic”, “racist” or “sexist” for feeling them. As long as these feelings are internal they can only increase as we are hurt by criticisms we can’t answer and only see these things expressed in truly destructive behaviour. When we find a quiet spot safe from the jackboot of political correctness we talk amongst ourselves and find that we are not alone in feeling these things. Other people who don’t mistreat or discriminate against other people still feel the same disturbing fears and hatreds that we do. And, thus reassured, those feelings start to die down in a way they never would in the presence of “do-gooders” who just feed the evils they think they are fighting.

  • Jage

    The biggest complaint about the “Watchmen” movie I’ve seen has been “a big blue penis on the screen.”

    It doesn’t do anything. It just hangs there. I can’t imagine similar complaints about big blue tits on the screen. As hip and modern as people claim to be… homophobia is alive and well – and it doesn’t even need actual homosexuality to spark it.

    That said, I had no problem with the big blue peen, but I would absolutely hold no interest in viewing male homosexuality. Hey, I don’t like guacamole, either. I don’t like tasting it, I don’t like smelling it, and I don’t even like the way it looks. I don’t think guacamole lovers are bad people or anything, but please keep your guacamole away from me. Enjoy guacamole all you like, but count me out.

    You feel that way about peanut butter? Holy smokes, I love peanut butter. However, I’d be just as much a jerk-hole if I thought less of you as a person for avoiding peanut butter just to give people who like it some false sense of positive affirmation.

    Think about it. Meanwhile, I’ll be avoiding gangsta rap, hip hop fashion, and “urban” comedy while still not being racist and thinking less of people who enjoy it or believing they should be taking in an equal amount of korean pop music and so on.

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  • Steve

    As long as we don’t have gay and lesbian characters in these movies dying off at the end as they always do after showing some expression of being. Good lord, this deal gets so boring and shows the cowardice of Hollywood producers attempting to appease for bigots with fundamental brain power.

  • Kirk

    I’m a gay man who has never so much as kissed a woman, yet I have no trouble watching a straight romance or lesbian romance so long as the story is well done and the acting is good.

    I will say this. If you don’t normally like interesting, critically-acclaimed movies with romance elements to them then it’s entirely understandable you wouldn’t want to go to this movie. However, if you do normally like interesting, critically-acclaimed movies with romance elements to them but refuse to go to this one because the romance aspect is between two men instead of guy-girl or girl-girl then that is plainly silly. Dare I say that such an adverse “gross out” response to any softcore, rated R, gay sex scene is a product of being brought up in a homophobic culture where any whiff of gay male romance is quickly and automatically swatted away as unnatural and gross.

    Why do you think these bromance movies are so successful and popular? I would argue that a large component of their popularity has to do with the fact that the “I’m doing something stereotypically gay but there’s no way in hell I’m actually gay, I’m 100% straight, Bro” punchline is so effective due to the fact that we find authentic homosexuality unnatural, gross, and disturbing. And those jokes don’t even involve any sexual situations, just even the thought that a previously assumed straight male character could be homosexual elicits huge laughs precisely because we as a culture still think deep down that male homosexuality is something to be ridiculed, something that is very bad to be even accused of, something that is disgusting.