Recently, an individual I know posted a meme with a giant steak and the phrase "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach--unless he's vegan, then it's through his vagina." This post bothered me for two specific reasons. Firstly, the carcass of a dead animal bothered me, as I am vegan. Though I could speak more to veganism, I'm bothered by the sexist remark of using a vagina to describe a compassionate choice.
What does a vagina have to do with being vegan? More so, why the heck is a vagina a means to mutilate others' empathetic behavior? Is it because vegans are weak, feminine or overly compassionate, much like the sexist remarks to those who identify as female? This was posted by a gay man who is very sex-positive, artistic and for the most part, a nice guy. But why do we remark veganism (and other compassionate values) as being vagina-esque?
Though as to not group all individuals of a community under the same umbrella and faults, I am bothered by the amount of sexism existent in the gay, cis-gendered communities. Sure, being promiscuous and outgoing are traits we aspire to in gay outings and it's fucking fun. We are horny, we are uninhibited and we like to swim against the stream. But why do we sit around and differentiate our sexual lewdness from those of females? Speaking to our greater society, it's acceptable for gay men to perpetuate the sexual stereotypes, but the moment one is compassionate, gentle or even vegan, we are regarded as "having a vagina."
First of all, a vagina does not constitute the gender of an individual--what is in someone's underwear is not the business of others (unless they want it to be). Secondly, a vagina is by no means correlated to gentle, compassionate, or feminine behavior. Why is a vagina the tool to grouping those of us who express femininity, who express compassion and voice concern to the rape culture we all live in?
This reminds me of the talk I've had many times with gay brethren who complain about they way they get treated. I wish I wasn't always looked at as a piece of meat, an easy lay, getting cat called and bought drinks. I wish I wasn't approached based on my looks. I just want to chill; I don't want to be sexualized. Well, this sounds familiar. Last I checked, women receive these remarks on the daily--while getting morning coffee, at the bar, on the walk to work, the subway, restaurants, bathrooms, clothing stores, and so on. I always like to throw out the fact that, yes, it can be exhausting to be sexualized, but do you not acknowledge this is the every day life of our female friends? Do you not realize that you can speak against these sexualized remarks and still "be a man"?
I'm sick of this rape culture. I'm sick of remarks to vaginas when I want to express my feminine, caring or any side that isn't the male, slutty, accepted norm of so many gay men. I acknowledge that myself being white and male-bodied is a privileged state. Even though I identify as gender nonconforming, my male-bodied appearance places me in a different zone of society's rape culture. But I am also fed up with situations where gay, cis-gendered men feel the need to differentiate their sexual promiscuity, their feelings from women and those who identify as female.
So to the gay men who want to use a vagina to make yourself feel more of a man or more powerful, please stop. Vegan or not, sexual or not--stop perpetuating these systems of oppression, like sexism, with your gendered remarks. They have nothing to do with being compassionate; they have no thing to do with straying from a purely masculine identity. The intersectional nature of oppression, sexism, racism, ageism, ableism, speciesism, homophobia, and transphobia are proliferated by simple remarks like these. Get off your high, sexist, male stand and help the rest of us gay men support our trans friends, our female friends and stop hating on the vagina. It's a beautiful thing.