Somehow we have all perceived that gays have a pattern of facial expression that's different enough from normal men for there to be a fuzzy yet discernible range of gay faces. In fact, right now, make the gayest smiling face you possibly can. Go ahead...
I'm willing to bet that most of you worked in some element of the surprised face – eyebrows straight up, upper eyelids raised for a wide-eyed stare, or perhaps dropping your jaw and/or opening your mouth, though without any tension in your lips, like slack-jawed.
Here are two prototypical gay smiling faces that use each one of those elements of the surprised face, the first an HIV-positive contestant from Project Runway, and the second a queer who plays a nerd on Big Bang Theory:
Go through pictures of homosexuals in google images – with the safe search ON – or watch them on TV or movies, and if you're surrounded by them where you live, as I am, just observe the range of expressions. The surprised face is one of the most pervasive features of their looks. They don't always project it in such caricatured fashion, but they are far more likely to blend pieces of it in to any given expression than a normal person would be. And that means a normal male or female – females older than 10 years old don't go around lifting their eyebrows up in any old context, normal males even less so.
Rather, the people they resemble in this way are small children. It is thus one of their many Peter Pan-isms, something unexplainable by appealing to theories about their being feminized or hyper-masculinized. Instead they are infantilized. Little kids have so little experience with the real world that they are in a more frequent state of wonder than grown-ups are.
And that's especially true for the world of social interactions, where they're often unsure of how they're supposed to behave. When a social interaction is going along well, they're shocked and excited that they haven't messed it all up – un-self-conscious social interaction is not something they take for granted, being so immature. So they respond with more frequent surprised signals on their face. Omigosh, you mean I did it right?!?!?!!! Yay me!!!!
In such a context, gays even clap their hands excitedly more than normal men do, for the same reasons as they show the surprised face, again appearing like small children. The difference is that normal onlookers read their expressions as silly and airheaded instead of cute because they're so embarrassingly age-inappropriate. (Though of course plenty of fuck-ups collect faggots as friends because they find emotional stuntedness endearing.)
In a post to follow, I'll look more at their seeming inability to produce a joyous smile, it always being tinged with nervousness, surprise, anguish, and more rarely fear or disgust. Then I'll turn to their tendency to use the disgust face where normal people would use an upset face. The common theme will be Peter Pan-isms, and the emotional trainwreck that a child would turn into if forced to interact in an adolescent or adult social world. Pressure overload!
I usually classify this type of faces as the traumatized face.ReplyDelete
In fact, most homosexuals became homosexuals because they were raped when they were children. The trauma induced on them during childhood leads to their arrested development and to multiple personalities.
I didn't know the guy who played the nerd on Big Bang Theory was gay but I'd always thought he acted way to gay to be a plausible nerd.ReplyDelete
That makes me wonder, though: can a gay personality type coexist with nerdiness? I kind of doubt it. I know nerds have a reputation for stunted social skills but in some ways it's more from acting inappropriately adult for their age rather than acting infantile.
This may be of interest to you:ReplyDelete
"I didn't know the guy who played the nerd on Big Bang Theory was gay but I'd always thought he acted way to gay to be a plausible nerd.ReplyDelete
That makes me wonder, though: can a gay personality type coexist with nerdiness? I kind of doubt it. I know nerds have a reputation for stunted social skills but in some ways it's more from acting inappropriately adult for their age rather than acting infantile."
Gays are highly social and want attention. That seems like a difference.
Just saw a commercial for the gay big bang guy. He is sitting in a nice restaurant with a guy and girl. The guy says "isn't this romantic?" the gay guy says, "I hope that question is rhetorical, since I have no idea."ReplyDelete
I don't really buy it, but the guy who wrote "The Naked Ape," Desmond, hypothesized that male homosexuality is actually neoteny:ReplyDelete
"First, it is important make it clear what one is talking about. In the 1990s somebody wrote a book that collected together examples of homosexual acts performed by many species across the animal kingdom. It was meant to show that the homosexual behaviour of human beings was not ‘unnatural’ as it has sometimes been called, but a common biological occurrence. I think he was rather surprised that zoologists were not particularly excited by his study. The reason was that we all knew about the existence of homosexual acts in other species and I myself had even written a whole paper on homosexuality in a species of fish. The truth was that the author had missed the point. The strange feature about human homosexuality is not that homosexual acts are performed, but that some individuals also find it impossible to be aroused by heterosexual partners and must therefore be classified as ‘reproductively challenged.’ If they cannot reproduce, they cannot pass on their genes and their special characteristics are lost. It is this extreme form of homosexuality that requires some sort of special explanation. A great gay icon like Oscar Wilde also had a wife and children, so even he does not fall into this extreme category. A recent book by Clive Bromhall, called The Eternal Child, offers an interesting new idea that might explain this extreme form. He points out that the major trend in human evolution is neoteny - the prolongation of juvenile characteristics into adult life. It is this trend that has given us ‘adult play’ and all our important creative activities. Fostering this trend, there has been an extension of human childhood, giving a much longer period of learning. During this extension, from roughly five to thirteen years of age, males and females tend to split apart. Up to the age of five, boys and girls play happily together, but then they suddenly start to form all-male and all-female groups. They stay apart socially during the long learning phase of childhood and then come together again at puberty, when sex hormones begin to flood their systems and gender signals start to appear on their young bodies. At this point, most teenage boys seek out girls and vice versa. But a few seem to get stuck at the same-sex phase. Some of these, like Oscar Wilde, do manage also to marry and have children as well as enjoying homosexual relationships, but some never do. Clive Bromhall makes the point that, in a sense, these are the most extreme examples of the neotenous human trend, making these individuals the most advanced forms of human being - the most playful, intelligent and creatively inventive. But reproductively they have become a little too advanced, because they are no longer capable of breeding. So, extreme forms of homosexuality are seen by Bromhall as byproducts of human neoteny. There remains the question of why this affects a small percentage, and what is special about that minority. This may vary from individual to individual and may depend on specific incidents in their childhood."
As he says elsewhere, boys/men are quite prone to developing sexual attachments to objects, subject to paraphilias, so, who knows, maybe this attachment to boys in formative years is not as crazy as it first seems.
"can a gay personality type coexist with nerdiness?"ReplyDelete
I've definitely seen a lot of gay geeks and gay dweebs in Starbucks and in the campus library, but few or none that I'd label a nerd. That's just quibbling on what "nerd" means, though...
Nerds I see more as wanting to be left alone, delving single-mindedly into an abstract obsession. Geeks and dweebs kind of want to belong to the group, but are too awkward for the cool people to like them, so they're more of the reject type. And over-sensitive about it too, thus sharing the gay mortal fear of social rejection.
"He is sitting in a nice restaurant with a guy and girl. The guy says "isn't this romantic?" the gay guy says, "I hope that question is rhetorical, since I have no idea.""ReplyDelete
I've never watched the show, but I hear that he tries to play an asexual character. What his gay nature prepares him for is not getting normal sexuality, courtship, and romance. Being mystified and somewhat frightened by it all, like a child is.
When they do try to be romantic, like children they ape what the teenage or grown-up normal people do, and it comes out caricatured, like a gay wedding.
Being romantic requires both to be willing to let their guard down, trust the other, and not mistreat them while their guard is down. Gays are stuck in that pre-pubescent behavioral state where they can only inch their way toward their crush emotionally, then run away in fear.
The only difference is that they're sexually mature, so instead of those awkward but innocuous love-hate interactions in elementary school, they use and get used sexually over and over their entire lives. It's no wonder they wind up such neurotic messes.
"Clive Bromhall makes the point that, in a sense, these are the most extreme examples of the neotenous human trend"ReplyDelete
I'll try to look into that book some time. I knew their Peter Pan nature was not unknown before, but emphasizing it as their most distinctive feature is rare... at least recently, when the theories have been about feminization or even hyper-masculinity (LOL). Maybe people saw the obvious more easily back in the good old days.
Too bad in the next clause he's said to view gays, therefore, as the most advanced human beings. Typical autistic deduction without looking at the real world to see how fucked up gays are in virtually every way.
Well, gays apparently prefer men with masculine faces, by a lot. They may be more masculine, if you adjust for infantilized features.
""Our work showed that gay men found highly masculine male faces to be significantly more attractive than feminine male faces. Also, the types of male faces that gay men found attractive generally did not mirror the types of faces that straight women found attractive on average," says Glassenberg. "Men, gay or straight, prefer high sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex that they are attracted to. Gay men and straight men did not agree on the types of male faces they considered attractive.""
Though of course, just because gays prefer masculinity doesn't mean they are more masculine.ReplyDelete
Correction: I meant to say "The Naked Ape" was written by Desmond Morris.ReplyDelete
You know, in thinking about your neoteny theory, I have to admit I'd not given any thought before to the notion that gay men's mannerisms are closer to what we think of as infantile epxressions and mannerisms more than feminine ones. (Of course, you have to admit the real swishers are definitely trying to mimic women, don't you? I mean, the limp wrists, the movement of hips as they walk, the precision with which they cross their legs, as women with tight skirts demonstrate, etc.)
Exaggeration is an infantile behavior....exaggeration of story telling, exaggeration of movement, expressions, yes. I started thinking about the sense of humor of many gay males I know well (and like). It has struck me before that their humor (like pulling practical jokes), is more similar in type (if not substance) to what one sees in teenage boys rather than in adult males. Maybe it's simply because they are very social? Or maybe it's just the power of your suggestion.
It is true, though, that seeing a gaggle of thirty or forty-something adult gay men reminds me of seeing a gaggle of 14 year old boys in junior high school, all clinging to the group for approval and belonging.
""Our work showed that gay men found highly masculine male faces to be significantly more attractive than feminine male faces. Also, the types of male faces that gay men found attractive generally did not mirror the types of faces that straight women found attractive on average," says Glassenberg. "Men, gay or straight, prefer high sexual dimorphism in the faces of the sex that they are attracted to. Gay men and straight men did not agree on the types of male faces they considered attractive.""ReplyDelete
This shouldn't be surprising, should it? Gay guys are ga-ga for masculinity, something most of them don't have. It's the complementarity thing in operation.
Women like their opposite--men and masculinity. Men like their opposite, women and femininity.
Most gay guys have had a deficit in masculine traits since they were very young. Study after study of gay men reveal that a preponderance of them say they have always wished they were more masculine, that they felt from an early age that they were not masculine in comparison to their peers, that indeed they felt they had feminine traits, traits they often tried to hide.
So, the gay male is behaving the way straight men and women generally behave--admiring and being attracted to their opposite or perceived opposite.
"Most gay guys have had a deficit in masculine traits since they were very young. Study after study of gay men reveal that a preponderance of them say they have always wished they were more masculine, that they felt from an early age that they were not masculine in comparison to their peers, that indeed they felt they had feminine traits, traits they often tried to hide."ReplyDelete
I'm not so sure this is true, though. I think its more, as Agnostic explained, they got stuck as little boys who think girls are icky and prefer hanging out with other little boys.
Furthermore, estrogen creates a low sex drive. The more feminine someone is, the less the number of sexual partners, generally. Gays, on the other hand, seem to be highly promiscuous.ReplyDelete
My guess is that most gay men are infantilized masculine.
"I'm not so sure this is true, though. I think its more, as Agnostic explained, they got stuck as little boys who think girls are icky and prefer hanging out with other little boys."ReplyDelete
Whatever it IS, it comes off as feminine.
So, if it really is some degree of infantilism, then when we say they are attracted to very masculine faces, are we saying they are attracted to what they perceive as "mature."
That may not work, actually. To me, it seems gay men are attracted to handsome, but "pretty" male faces.
For example, the guy in the first pic Ag supplies is actually handsome (were he not making silly faces) but in a pretty-boy way.
Gay men don't go for a masculine sort like Mike Ditka (in his youthful prime) the way they do a Clay Matthews sort. Matthews has a handsome, but soft, pretty face.
Speaking of infantilism--not long ago, I read an article about Jerry Sandusky's book, "Touched," (published before the truth of him was known, of course.) Interestingly, he states that felt that as an adult, he was a kid not grown up, that even as a youngster, he lived in a make-believe world and that he felt in large part that as as adult in lived in a make-believe world.ReplyDelete
It seems his words ought to be helpful in some way to researchers trying to understand sexuality/search images.
Those faces are the faces of performance.ReplyDelete
Extroverted gay gays dig affectation, but only the extroverts.
Think of a straight comedian like Don Rickles. If you caught him in a still shot performing (which is the only way you'll ever catch him since when he's on tv he is *always* in performance mode), you'd see eye wide, eyebrows up, etc. Yeah, as an 80-something guy now he wouldn't look gay, but I'll bet such of pic of him when he was very young might have the same "look."
The point is, do you really think non-extrovert gays have this look?
Very young pre-gay boys and pre-adolescent gay boys and teen gay boys and gay men all act as if Halloween was the greatest thing on earth.ReplyDelete
I don't know if it's because they simply learned as youngsters that it was their one opportunity to indulge their desire to look or behave differently and not be criticized for it, or if Halloween itself, the make-believe aspect of it, appealed to the character trait you refer to as Peter Pan-ism.
Almost all kids love Halloween when they are very young, but gays cling to it and honor it, so to speak, all their lives. It could, of course, simply have become a cultural, social marker for the gay community, but the glee with which young pre-gay boys look forward to donning costumes is intriguing.
Some would say it's because gays are creative and a day devoted to dressing up in costume and assuming another identity would naturally appeal to a creative person, but I don't believe gays, on the whole, are any more creative than straights. They do gravitate to some fields more than others, yes. Why do gays gravitate to so-called creative fields? Because, those fields have a reputation for accepting the different, the odd, the weird, even if they are not all that talented. Going back to the traveling morality plays of Europe, the traveling bands of actors were outcasts of all sorts. Also, w/out family responsibilities, they can indulge their dreams of say, being an actor or artist, more than the straight guy who has a wife and kids to support.
I think gays go into certain fields for the same reason they travel to urban centers--to find other gays, to get lost in crowd (of course, since gay liberation, they don't appear so much to want to "get lost.")
I doubt if they have the impulse towards creativity. The gay men I've known had totally mainstream taste in movies and music, and shied away from anything strange as being "too disturbing". They'd much rather watch the new summer blockbuster than suffer through a weird indie flick.ReplyDelete
Anyway, the idea of gays in the creative industry seems to be largely a myth, probably perpetuated by the few gays who do function in the entertainment world. It started up in the early 90s - the beginning of the falling-crime era. People are too timid and divided to call misanthropes out on bullshit, so a small number have perpetuated all kinds of lies.
(I make an exception for theatrical acting)
I know nerds have a reputation for stunted social skills but in some ways it's more from acting inappropriately adult for their age rather than acting infantile.ReplyDelete
The character the gay Big Bang fellow plays on that show is called out as having lots of nerdy yet childish eccentricities (model trains, comic books, science fiction toys, &c.).
Aspergery children, even though serious minded and often more "mature" than adult in terms of emotional control, are still on balance children. Childishness and nerdiness have no real incompatability.
I'm not so sure this is true, though. I think its more, as Agnostic explained, they got stuck as little boys who think girls are icky and prefer hanging out with other little boys.
I don't know if I would say gay guys think of girls as icky. As children they socialize more with girls than straight boys do, and more than with straight boys (they might prefer gay boys to little girls, but if they have that preference, they sure as hell don't get a chance to express it). Maybe they do find little girls icky and want to socialize with little boys, but are rejected, but I think they just don't really relate to straight males - even assuming agnostic's neotenous gay theory is correct, femininity is to a certain extent neoteny (even if not identical to it, as agnostic says, as women obviously have some distinct maturational features not shared with males or children).
Regarding the faces, perhaps the gay Neil Patrick Harris and Zachery Quinto provide other good comparisons?
This kind of thing generally seems hard to do due to inherent problems with cherry picking and confirmation bias. I probably wouldn't believe any results you find for that reason, as much as its entertaining seeing you speculate on a hypothesis.
The only gay face study I know of that was formally carried out found that gay male faces tended to have higher asymmetry (indicative of some kind of developmental problem perhaps) more than a feminine, neotenous or gracile face shape.
agnostic, what do you think about the studies which find brain shapes and connectivity similarities between gay men and women? e.g. - http://telescoper.wordpress.com/2008/11/12/cerebral-asymmetry-is-it-all-in-the-mind/
all smoke, lies and nonsense drummed up from confirmation bias, publishing bias and small sample sizes?
You've really got a bee in your bonnet about gays.ReplyDelete
I mostly ignore them myself.
As I explained before, gays are THE sacred victim group right now, and their issues are THE dividing lines between who's good and who's evil.ReplyDelete
It's better to start fighting back intellectually and otherwise right now, rather than wait until they've already won their major victories and brainwashed the country into believing that gays are "just like us".
It's better to start fighting back intellectually and otherwise right now, rather than wait until they've already won their major victories and brainwashed the country into believing that gays are "just like us".ReplyDelete
And like I said once before, I don't see them as any kind of threat to me and my future objectives in life. You must work harder to convince me that they constitute any kind of threat to me.
"It's better to start fighting back intellectually and otherwise right now, rather than wait until they've already won their major victories and brainwashed the country into believing that gays are 'like us'."ReplyDelete
Don't know, Kurt9, if you are bothered by this, but I am. Obama's education czar wanted 7th grade texts and/or materials for health class to include a description of fisting and to list it as a common sexual practice no different than intercourse.
Further, NAMBLA really does believe that as the GLTB lobby continues to push the narrative that homosexuality is just another normative state of being (in other words, they want to make sure that in no textbook is the hypothesis put forth that human homosexuality might be the result of maldevelopment of a biologicall origin or maladaptation), NAMBLA really does hope to establish that young boys are not in any way hurt by sexual experimentation, including experimentation with adults.
In addition, the gay organizations are priming themselves for scientific discoveries as to the eitiology of homosexuality, and much like the deaf community, are already in the "what if" stage of figuring out how to stop parents from preventing homosexuality or even changing it should the cause be foung, and should it be preventable or changeable.
Now, that is scary to me.
Me and my friends have been talking about "G-Mouth" for ages. It's signalling in my opinion. Have had friends who were closeted and then came out. All the mouth and eye contortions for guys who came out at 18 and later (meaning they were "straight acting" before, not the swishy types where everyone but them presumes they are gay) are merely affectations.ReplyDelete
A lot of this I believe has to do with the media presentation of what a typical gay man is. Go back to the 40s through early-60s films with known homosexual actors. The role playing was less intense. Doesn't mean they weren't queens in their real life, but it appears that a lot of modern gays feel the impulse to lay it on thick.
There's a corresponding term we use called "L-Face." Go look at Samantha Ronson or Rachel Maddow. There's a tendency to twist their mouths in a quasi-angry pose. It looks neither masculine nor feminine. Just more signalling.
"Have had friends who were closeted and then came out. All the mouth and eye contortions for guys who came out at 18 and later (meaning they were "straight acting" before, not the swishy types where everyone but them presumes they are gay) are merely affectations."ReplyDelete
I'll buy that there are affectations, for sure. However, I truly don't believe that there is a high percentage of gay men who weren't identifiable as likely gay before they were 18, even if they weren't exactly "swishy."
Almost always the gay male teen or pre-teen is not as his straight peer. He lacks a certain aggressiveness. He's likely to speak with a softer voice, hjave a quieter demeanor in groups, likely to have hobbies and/or interests that straight boys would ignore.
And, in his quieter moments at home, among the intimates of family, he is likely to show a side of himself he hides from peers at school.
At this point, most teenage boys seek out girls and vice versa. But a few seem to get stuck at the same-sex phase.ReplyDelete
Morris is often pretty tepid sociobiology. First of all middle childhood is certainly not an asexual (much less a homosexual!) stage, but a preparatory stage for gendered skill-sets (including same-sex competition). This is when the adrenal glands are firing up, preparing the body and mind for puberty. Middle childhood is when boys and girls report their first romantic fixation. The average age for this is 10. This is the same age gays report their first crush as well.
Gays are less likely to sex-segregate in middle-childhood precisely because they have disordered gender traits to begin with.
For the best treatment of middle childhood, Melvin Konner's The Evolution of Childhood is one of the better sociobiology books of the last several years.
"Gays are less likely to sex-segregate in middle-childhood precisely because they have disordered gender traits to begin with."ReplyDelete
My observations match this.
"In fact, most homosexuals became homosexuals because they were raped when they were children. The trauma induced on them during childhood leads to their arrested development and to multiple personalities."ReplyDelete
This is a old meme, since discredited by research. Multiple personalities? Come on, man.
Did I misunderstand you, or are you planning a part 2 or more of this topic. Just wondered.ReplyDelete
Yeah, more parts to come, but I don't know how quickly. Uploading pictures isn't hard, but finding the right ones to make the point is.ReplyDelete
"Yeah, more parts to come, but I don't know how quickly. Uploading pictures isn't hard, but finding the right ones to make the point is."ReplyDelete
Thanks for the response. I figured it might be something like that. Just wanted to be sure.
You know, a lot of Chinese women and even Chinese men open their eyes really wide when reacting to things that you say.ReplyDelete
I don't think other people do this at all.
Also, a lot of nerds have a kind of uncertain look on their faces when they speak to you. It's hard for me to describe.
Fascinating work, I've noticed the same thing, it isn't always the feminine per se, but rather Peter-panish is the sometimes the better word. Its people not wanting to face up to reality and grow up. There is often a feminine aspect there as well but often over the top and caricaturish.ReplyDelete
speaking of the infantilization, look up Ryan Sorba's work. Many sodomites were molested at a very young age. This explains alot.ReplyDelete