‘Gay Men Touch Vagina For The First Time!’ is the newest addition to the 'gay people do straight people things for the first time' video series. There are things that lesbians are trying for the first time too.
Some would argue that there is some educational value to these endeavours. The makers of this video, Bria and Chrissy, certainly seem to think so themselves, commenting:
“Men are allowed more sexual freedom than women. In our society, when a man has sex he's ‘the man’, a woman has sex, she's a slut. We expected a lot of backlash for this video, it will be interesting to see if this video gets the same attention as the ‘Lesbians touch Penis’ video since there are female genitals (and a topic about females as a whole) instead of a male genitals. What are your thoughts?”
The attempt to depict these videos as some kind of contribution to the anti-misogyny debate is nonsensical. A gay man squealing in horror at the sight of a vagina will in no way push forward progressive debate. This crass venture serves only to perpetuate these regressive opinions.
It reflects an unhealthy preoccupation with body parts so often the subject of misogyny and transphobia.
Having witnessed many incidences of unsolicited intimate touching of women and trans people by gay men, I can testify to the existence of misogyny in gay culture. All too often, such behaviour is excused on the grounds that the man concerned “isn’t getting off on it”.
It promotes the idea that breasts and vaginas are objects of curiosity, of novelty, to be dehumanised and detached from the human being for sport.
The pantomime misogyny in the disgust expressed at the sight of a vagina or the mere prospect of contact with a breast may seem amusing. However, it only serves to rationalise misogyny prevalent among cisgender gay men. One man says ‘I feel like I’m going to smell tuna’ – case closed.
This reductive attitude towards genitalia is also transphobic. The ‘gay men hate vaginas’ argument is devoid of any acknowledgement of the diversity of gender and sexual identities.
There is a very real cruelty at the heart of this whole debacle; reducing human beings to objects and encouraging derision of another person’s body. This is neither educational nor responsible; it’s regressive and potentially incredibly damaging.
No doubt Bria and Chrissy will bask in the limelight of their short-lived viral ‘stardom’. Meanwhile, those for whom the objectification of the human body is a painful reminder of an all too personal struggle will wince, sigh and cry.