’The trout pout! It’s a pandemic! It’s a “pout-demic!” Lol!’
So said Boy George on Twitter yesterday, responding to new Lady Gaga pictures in which the Applause singer, as the MailOnline might overstate it, looks ’unrecognizable’.
In other words, she’s wearing extra lipliner and posing a certain way. Or, maybe she’s had fillers. So what if she has? She can do whatever the hell she likes with her body. I’d have my teeth done if I could afford it.
Either way, my response to BG (himself no stranger to toying with his appearance through extreme make up over the years) is: yawn. I’ve heard the Karma Chameleon singer had a rep for being snarky, but this is lazy.
Firstly, although definitely derogatory, comparing a person’s mouth to that of a fish isn’t new or original. I first heard it on the damned playground 15 years ago.
‘Why do gay men feel the need to comment on women’s appearances?’
There are plenty of valid questions around cosmetic enhancement – should the likes of Kylie Jenner be profiting off her impressionable fans’ insecurities? Does cosmetic enhancement among public figures popularize dangerous and expensive practises? – but the question I’m addressing today is: why oh why do gay men feel the need to comment on women’s appearances?
The trout pout! It’s a pandemic. It’s a ‘pout-demic! Lol! https://t.co/WpCNgCBu3r
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) August 30, 2018
The Culture Club frontman isn’t alone. Many of us do it. Society and RuPaul’s Drag Race conditions us too. I include myself in this, especially when I was younger, although I strive not to now.
Women get enough of that from straight men, and occasionally each other, don’t they? As gay men, do we really need to be sticking the boot in? What business is it of ours what a woman looks like, when we aren’t interested in her sexually?
We’re looking for cheap shots of validation, that’s what is is. ‘I look better than that person.’ With the amount of judgement gay men subject each other to for our faces, bodies, ages and behaviours on apps and beyond, you’d think we’d know better, especially the ‘femme’ among us, who often get the harshest treatment.
And yet misogyny among gay men is everywhere. The example I always come back to is the gay guy I know who once dismissed ARTPOP-era Gaga by saying: ’I’d rather have a nice figure to look at.’
This is a guy who used to dress as her – that’s how much of a fan he was, until she gained a few pounds. I just couldn’t understand why it mattered. Four years later, I was similarly confused when, after leaping off Houston’s NRG Stadium as part of her iconic Super Bowl performance, body-shamers still sought to undermine her for having a ‘pot belly.’ Gladly, she clapped back.
‘This whore looks like dolly parton’
I felt a dull sense of resignation when I saw Boy George’s tweet, but didn’t and don’t feel it’s crime of the century. I might have let it go by, but then I saw the ugly feedback it legitimized among his followers.
‘Lol @ladyagaga looks disgusting and too old,’ said one.
‘This whore looks like dolly parton and Brigitte Bardot corpse,’ said another.
’She looks 60’ was perhaps the most absurd. (Gaga is 32).
It turns my stomach.
Female pop stars should be judged for their singing, songwriting and performing. (And in Gaga’s case, selling gazillions of records and literally saving lives with her messages of inclusivity.) How many of them ever claimed to be perfect-looking models? And yet, they’re among the most-judged people for their looks on the planet. Is it any wonder that, for better or worse, some of them turn to plastic surgery, with that sort of pressure?
The judgement they get is the real pandemic, and it’s a glaringly obvious indication of a global problem that has damaging repercussions for all of us, including image-conscious teenage girls prone to self-harming and grown up gay men who should really know better.