May 23, 2009

The Emergence of Eros

My antennae have been buzzing on the synch that it is female beauty contestants who cast themselves in the role of the defender of heteroxy, Miss California Carrie Prejean being the latest example. But I'll never forget Anita Bryant, the Miss America orange juice queen who became the voice of the emerging Evangelical Right. Perhaps beauty contestants feel threatened by gay love? Kinda leaves them out of the running.

The masculine equivalent of the beauty pageant is a bodybuilding contest, and in the old days we had Mr. America and Mr. Universe, inviting the obvious comparisons. While female pageants are undeniably straight, the male side has always had a strong homosexual sub-current, as much as Joe Weider always tried to sweep it under the carpet. Dare I say it, but perhaps it is that homosexual subconscious-current that draws in the fans and pays the bills? Apparently homoerotic is fine, as long as it avoids the label. In this respect, erotic male love is STILL "the love that dare not say its name".

Eros is his name, and for the last 2000 years Eros has been "our little secret" - something men do behind closed doors but never, ever discuss in public. Until now, when suddenly Eros is on all the talk shows.

Every archetype needs expression, and perhaps the reason that homosexuality finds itself in the cross hairs of religion and politics is that Eros is demanding to be heard? If an archetype is denied conscious expression, then it will seek subconscious expression. What if... the natural desire of a man for another man was cut off, through social and religious control? Perhaps it would seek covert expression - "perverting" other archetypes in order to express itself.

Naturally drawn to venues where men congregate, it would find subliminal expression there. Gyms and locker rooms, monasteries, soldier's barracks, construction crews - all fertile soil for Eros. But still, an existence in the subconscious margins of a straight world isn't exactly Living. So Eros infiltrates and perverts, and all the other archetypes hate on him for it, but maybe... all Eros really wants is a place to call his own. Like a gay bar is a place to call our own, and a gay neighborhood or even a church. But Eros doesn't want to live in a bar or a church, he wants a place in our consciousness. What if Eros has grown weary of all the sneakin' around, and like the prodigal son, he just wants to come home?

I know it sounds crazy, but what if the integration of Eros into the Collective Consciousness is what is going on right now? And maybe the other archetypes like Aries are angry and afraid, because on some level, they understand that Eros is the secret engine behind much of their success, and if he ever fully comes out of the subconscious closet, that might be the end of their careers.

To the scions of politics and religion, Eros is the Destroyer, and he seems to delight in bringing them down. But to us...

To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. --Revelation 3:7-8


Christopher Knowles said...

It's interesting to note how this sort of bleeds into certain subcurrents of comics fandom as well. I've been noticing a lot of the hardcore message boarders are becoming more open about their sexuality. I definitely do not agree with the theorizing (stemming from critics like Legman and Wertham) that superhero culture is inherently homoerotic, but you cannot deny these undercurrents, particularly among certain aspects of fandom. But we also have to acknowledge the sumbliminal power of these archetypes- I always say that suppressed Or even unconscious desire is often more powerful than when it is acted upon.

Anadæ Effro said...

To which might I reintroduce your readers to YouTube's one & only Gay Comic Geek? He always has sump'n t'say about what Chris (above) just said, except outright "out".

Michael said...

Interesting that in the Marvel or DC universes that there is no out and proud gay character. Just lots and lots of subliminal hinting about man/boy secret love stuff going on. Is Batman a card carrying member of NAMBLA?

Anadae - hey dude, where ya been? Welcome back. I love GCG! His X-Men review, which is actually more of a prediction? He says that Jane Grey may be coming back as a clone, and how he finds the story line pretty repetitive. Droll.

Devin said...

Originally I wasnt gonna do any blog visiting tonight due to the way i feel-but I had to check this out for the title alone;-) I very much agree that anything that is denied expression -starts getting expressed in other ways-sorry about the rought paraphrasing there-I also think the more violently and willfully Eros is repressed-the greater its force will be when it finally explodes into full consciousness-very much agree that this archetype is tired of sneakin around in the closets and alleys-there is an incident I will tell here later when I am feeling better or at my blog involving my interaction (kinda homoerotic) with a "straight" bully in middle school-i think it is very informative and telling what happened during this incident on a wrestling mat no less-i always forget stuff so i am writing note to remember to say somethings about it-nothing major-just a great example of how repressed desires come out so to speak-I think it was Norman Mailer (not very familiar with his work) who said that the American fascination with football is the "sodomy" position when they start the play-seems kind of silly at first-but when you think how repressed these desires have been in the US-it does make you wonder if there might not be at least a little truth to it-all the best to you and Varen!!

Cogent Ascending said...

But what of the alternative?
WHat if full exposure creates what has been the death of oh so many other fabulous things in our varied human culture?
What if acceptane into the mainstream forced mediocrity upon the last truly acceptable taboo?
What if the strength of this archetype comes from its need to be subervise? Perverse? Without those things what do you have left?

Esperanto Grrl said...

Trivia time!

Is homosexuality more common in cultures that repress it, or cultures that tolerate it?

The answer is that homosexuality is a lot more common in cultures that repress it. In fact, a lot of deviances are more common in repressed societies (and here I use the term "deviant" in the psychological meaning, indicating statistical uncommoness). Ever read Victorian sex stories? Those things were downright nasty: incest with aunts, lots of animals, and so on. I would point to the repressed and uptight Japanese as another example.

On the other hand, I can't think of a more sexless and boring culture than the Scandinavians, who have been so tolerant of sex that they've removed its most fun part, the naughtiness of it.

As for bodybuilding, I remember how Bob Paris was penalized for being an openly gay bodybuilder. It's nonetheless amusing to note how the most homophobic cultures have the most homosexual subtext: cowboys, gladiator movies, the Catholic clergy, etc.

As for Chris's point about comic book superheroes, I find it intriguing to note that the elements that supposedly gave superheroes their homoerotic subtext have been vanishing for quite some time now. Boy sidekicks for instance have been passe since the fifties.

As for the role of sex in culture, I read somewhere that face-to-face lovemaking was what led to the development of human civilization. The sixties were full of nonsense theories like that.

Esperanto Grrl said...

By the way, I find it interesting and a little ironic to note that almost every fan and lover of beauty pageants I've ever met has been a gay man.

And after all, why not? Pageants revel in a bit of feel-good circa 1950s Americana camp.

The trouble is, these beauty pageant contestants take things at face value. There's a moral here about the dangers of believing your own bullshit.

Michael said...

Hi EG, thanks for commenting. I would suspect that boy sidekicks became unfashionable right about the time everyone finally figured out the "Greek" subtext.

Ever seen 'Miss Congeniality'? Michael Caine plays a bitter, self loathing queen, a role he could patent he's played it so many times. I figure he was jealous because HE secretly wanted to be the one on stage. Should have gone into bodybuilding.

Back in the 50's and 60's, a bodybuilder could supplement his income doing private "posing" sessions for gay men. Arnold is rumored to have participated. However, the value for those services have gone way down now that gay men have lost their fear of the gym and the gay porn industry emerged from the closet. So then they had to start dealing roids to make ends meet.

It's interesting that it was at about this time, when Eros left the bodybuilding scene for good, that pro bodybuilders became bloated roid monsters.

Michael said...

"There's a moral here about the dangers of believing your own bullshit."

One wonders if this isn't a comment on the blogger's belief system? Thanks for the "reality check".

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