Pyschology Today (via Towleroad, to me) has an interesting piece on the racial diversification of gay male porn over the past 3 to 5 years. Psychology Today is sort of like light beer… all packaging and marketing without much really satisfying inside. But I like the connections that the article draws between identifying what gay men find attractive and broader socio-demographic trends in racial politics.
As for me, I’m 100% in favor of more diversity. As a born-and-bred middle class suburban white boy, I was raised with deeply engrained, implicit lessons that chisel-chinned white boys are the physical ideal. Happily, just like other sexual tastes and attentions, I’ve since discovered that beautiful boys of all sorts of complexions offer treasures of objectified lusts.
I don’t really spend much of my time or money in the gay porn world, sans wrestling. It’s one long yawn for me. But even in the wrestling kink corner of homoerotica and porn, I think that we’re seeing more racial diversity and less a need to fetishize racial diversity, at the same time, which I think is a good combination.
Whereas it wasn’t long ago that products were prominently marketed that specifically catered to the tastes of those looking for cross-racial wrestling, these days when opponents reflect different racial-ethnic backgrounds, it most frequently goes uncommented on. In most cases, I think that’s progress. My homoerotic wrestler of the month, Bobby Horton, is a white guy who came into possession of that title on the merits of his smokin’ hot, edge-of-insanity dismantling of bodybeautiful muscle god, Tyrell Tomsen. I’m sure for many people still, a battle like that continues to be first and foremost a morality play in contemporary racial politics. And, true enough, the white boy delivers a beat down and humiliating defeat of the physically dominant black hunk, which stands in a long tradition of white fantasy about subduing and possessing the physical threat from men of color. But as far as I read the text (and I’ve been happy to read and reread that text over and over again to enjoy Bobby’s delightful performance) the story that’s primarily told is really about the battle between the beauty of brawn and the cunning of ring savvy. If anything, Tyrell plays the role of the refined, sculpted, entitled muscle god to Bobby’s crazy-ass, brutish, uncivilized short-cutter. I realize that this doesn’t eliminate the racial politics that play out in the homoerotic wrestling ring, but it screws with expectations and long-held prejudices enough to be at least resistant toward white privilege, if not entirely dismantling of it.
BG East has been promoting a lot of Latinos lately, and that’s 110% just fine with me. If white Eurocentric privilege managed to keep the likes of Rafe Sanchez (mmmm…. Rafe….), Rio Garza and Lobolito off of my shelf, my life would be much less entertaining.
Can-Am has been tossing the likes of Michael Vineland, Max Munoz, and yes, Rio Garza onto the mats, making their typically-happy-ending wrestling formula much more diverse than it may have been at one time.
Naked Kombat frequently puts up men of color, like recent battlers Jack Hammer, Derek Reynolds and Race Cooper. It’s not all one formula for fetishing the racial composition of the match, by any means. Depending on the fighters on any given day, Naked Kombat’s wrestlers of color end up battling each other or white guys, and they end up on top or on bottom with seemingly similar frequencies.
I’m intentionally taking a look at Thunder’s Arena with fresh eyes lately, particularly after reading the very enjoyable interview that Joe did with Mr. Mike and Ace Hanson at Ringside at Skull Island recently. Young stunner rookie AJ looks like another case in point of the expanding pool of skill and beauty to which homoerotically-inclined wrestling is turning.
More is better… variety is the spice of life… the pithy sayings go on and on to explain why it is that all of this is a very good thing. Still, I think we need to keep an eye on the way that racial politics play out even in (especially in) our erotic fantasies. I know, I know. It’s a buzz kill. But it also reveals something about what we believe down deep, how we live, and underneath any socialization or commitments to political correctness, how we picture ourselves in relation to racial difference. I like where things seem to be heading, and I think that we would all do well to remember where we’ve been, and the ways that racism have long played a major role in dominant homo-culture, much less hetero-culture, in the past forty years.