Until a rather problematic article by Conservative Women writer, Caroline Ffiske appeared online recently, I must admit that I wasn’t very educated on the idea of “Queer Theory”. But apparently, it’s something that we all should familiarise ourselves with because we need to protect our children from it.
Here we go again. Another homophobic article wrote by a privileged white person who really doesn’t have a fucking clue what they’re talking about.
So, what exactly is “Queer Theory”. Well, according to Ffiske is it based on the 1960’s neo-Marxist idea that our sexual acts and sexual identities are ‘socially constructed’. Apparently, the focus of ‘queer theory’ is all about the personal and the private and what people deem as normal can be challenged as so form of social construct and that basically what goes on in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom and not be brought out into the light of day. The article then goes on to suggest that sex should remain as an “extraordinarily intimate act which touches our soul and goes to the heart of our human experience”. Clearly, she’s never had a one-night stand. Ffiske also goes on to imply that we are normalising and encouraging sex among teenagers.
Let’s be very clear about this. Teenagers are going to have sex. They are going to have straight sex, gay-sex, threesomes, oral sex, anal sex because that’s what teenagers do. It’s not about normalising it; it’s a fact of life. I remember being a horny teenager and wanting to bone everything that was on two legs. Well, within reason. But isn’t your teenage years and your early adult years all about – experimenting? It’s about finding what you like and what you look for in a sexual partner. Your teenage years are about discovering who you are as a person. For some, that is quite straightforward, but for others, it’s a struggle. You grow into yourself as a person and sometimes that doesn’t fit with social stereotypes. Surely, we should be encouraging this exploration. We should encourage conversations for teenagers because that’s how we learn and break down social stigmas and prejudice.
Laying the blame for sexual exploration at the door of the gays
What Ffiske is actually doing, and probably doesn’t realise it, is laying the blame for encouraging sexual exploration at the door of the gays. Whilst it might be true that gay men can be very promiscuous and have multiple sexual partners during their life, it’s not fair to blame it on them. Historically, the queer theory was born out of a movement of living your life as the way you fit and how you want to. It’s about how you want to identify and isn’t having the choice to do that is the best thing for us to have in society. If you want to identify as a man or a woman or be trans, you’ve got that choice, because you have been struggling with the thoughts inside your head as a kid. It’s not been pushed on you, and the media don’t push it on anyone. It’s about education and allowing conversations to happen. Just because you don’t fit into a box, it doesn’t mean you are a freak and should be banished to an island. You should be allowed to live your own life as you want to. Bollocks to anyone else.
Ffiske talks about sex, and specifically anal sex as being degrading. She says that “young women feel that they do want to take their virginity seriously and that their psychological well-being is at stake if they are encouraged not to do so”. Let’s look at this in the broader sense. The first time for anyone is going to be something that you remember because let’s be honest – it’s never the best. It’s often clumsy, clunky and extremely uncomfortable, but it’s a part of life. I’m not saying that people don’t take that decision lightly to become sexually active, but it’s not always as black and white as that. Teenagers are hormonal, they are going to have curiosities about sex. Isn’t it more dangerous not to educate them about it? Let’s look at teenage pregnancy in the states, for example, a study in 2019 by the American Journey of Public Health showed that in states where sex education is more abstinence-based, the education actually contributed to an increase in teenage pregnancies.
Surely if we are not having more open conversations about safe, consensual sex then we’re doing the younger generation a disservice.
The problem isn’t about over sexualising teenagers. The problem is really that people think they have a right to dictate and decide what’s best of other people when they have really not got a clue about what they might be going through. The ones that that feel threatened by queer theory are those that have absolutely no idea about what being different or being queer is all about. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s often a long dark road with bumps and kinks in it. Discovering where you fit into society. How you are accepted by society and what prejudices you’re gonna encounter.
I want to side-step for just a second because I think this is important. It’s not just queer equality that is under threat from the right-wing. But equality as a whole is under threat when there are MPs in parliament like Ben Bradley who is calling on more rights for white straight men because he thinks that they are underrepresented. In a speech in the House of Commons this week; Bradley stood up, and with a very straight face, went on to moan that there is a minister for women but not men, complained about more women than men in higher education, and mourned the death of “banter”. He said that; “men are often talked about, all too often, as a problem that must be rectified”. Oh, Ben. Going on to then condemn the Equality Act as being “willfully and regularly misapplied across gender, race, and every other characteristic”. Asserting the importance of “holding the door open for a lady”, expecting a man to “provide for his family”, and “wanting to be a man’s man” who goes “down to the football at the weekend” and has “some banter with the lads”. Bradley then complained; “that banter is now bullying”.
There is nothing that riles me more than a straight white man complaining that they aren’t represented.
He’s clearly never experienced prejudice for being a straight white man. Bradley also went to say that he wants “straight equally protected as gay”. Can someone enlighten me, in how many countries you can be executed or imprisoned for being straight? Or how many victims there are of anti-straight hate crimes in the UK? Not surprisingly, the government have also ended funding aimed at reducing homophobic bullying of LGBT+ students in schools in England, just as new research by the Diversity Role Models (DRM) shows that just 27% of students think that their school is a safe space for classmates to be themselves. Leading LGBT+ charity Stonewall has started a new hashtag initiative allowing members of the community to tell people about their experiences at school. Have a read through some of the stories using hashtag #LGBTatSchool.
Back to queer theory though, Fiske’s article finishes with a quote from Oscar Wilde saying, “we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”. She thinks that Queer Theory is pulling us all into the gutter and diminishing rather than dignifying. Well, if we’re in the gutter, then the gutter to me is pretty fabulous. Come join us here – because we are living our best lives. But more importantly, take some time to educate yourself. It’s all very well to sit and say that you should do this, or you shouldn’t do that, but that’s not for us to decide – it’s up to the young person
I’ve said this so many times now, but I just keep coming back to it. Education is the power to change. Educate our young people that there are different types of families. Educate our kids on the importance of safe sex. Encourage conversations between youngsters. Let them make the decisions that they want to make, but make sure they are given the facts. Not what you think is right. And if you feel threatened by queer theory, don’t just blast it as not the normal thing. Take some time to research about that being queer in 2020 is like and what queer relationships genuinely look like. You never know; you might learn something. It’s not about being a snowflake or being ‘woke’ but it’s about teaching our young people that equality a right – not a privilege.
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