Friday, July 17, 2009

Misanthropic men in movies and TV (by Suzie)

A friend lent me the first season of Showtime’s “Queer as Folk,” which ran from 2000 to 2005, and depicted gay friends in Pittsburgh. Watching it, I understood why porn has gotten more and more extreme. At first, I was amazed by the graphic sex scenes in every episode, and then I grew bored.

The misogyny among the gay men also bothered me. (I’ve written about this before.) Tops (the ones who penetrate anally or receive orally) often are depicted as strong and masculine while the bottoms are associated with the feminine. The tops definitely get more respect. Those who are more stereotypically feminine are subject to more ridicule from other gay men.

My last complaint has to do with the title of this post. The character Brian is a narcissist: a handsome, talented, high-earner who is cold, arrogant and manipulative. His friends Michael and Lindsay love him; the teenager Justin falls in love with him; and others consider him a friend. Brian gets praised when he finally sulks his way into doing something right.

It reminded me of “As Good as It Gets,” where an “obsessive-compulsive, misanthropic bigot” ends up with a beautiful, younger blonde because he finally does right. This is why I can’t get into “House,” where another selfish and arrogant man still wins praise. The anti-heroes of both of these pieces also are sexist, but that just seems part of their rebellious charm to some viewers.

Can you imagine women in any of these roles?