“u masc” “Are you masculine?” “I prefer masculine niggas.”

I’ve talked about online dating here a couple of weeks back, and what I failed to mention is that online dating governs and dictates how a good portion of Black Gay Culture responds and reacts to things. It almost drives conversations at some point or another.

When I was a contributor at Mused Magazine, I’d often read Black Gay stories and the most visible, or shared, were ones about online dating in relation to preference. In essence, a lot of the things I read were about people being upset at the no fats no fems no whites credo that some folks to which adhere. I would never understand someone’s anger, hurt, frustration, or fear of someone else’s preference. I would always shove it off and say, “Well, let me focus on who likes men like me.” Whereas I do continue to share that same sentiment, the idea of masculinity has come up a lot in the thoughts I’ve had recently.

Folks argue that gender is a social construct and all that bullshit. Frankly, I don’t care about an ongoing sociological argument that won’t ever be palatable to an audience that would need to hear it most. What I’m trying to figure out is why masculinity is valued? And further, what does it mean to be masculine anyway?

I had a phone conversation with my good girlfriend who just finished her doctorate. We had an in depth conversation about…niggas. What rang true to both of us was something that I just happen to blurt out.

Well, I think men, straight and gay, do a lot of shit for appearances. They aren’t sure how to adjust their lifestyle to make it look a certain way. Masculinity is designed to be measured by another man’s worth….

That’s why I can’t get jiggy with gay men chasing this idea of a masculine man cuz it’s super insecure and silly

I’m not posing this as law, so much as this is something I’m questioning and leaning further to reject. We do a lot of shit for appearances, you know? Buy flashy things to “get women” or “get men.” We tend to honor this belief on making people feel bad about their circumstances. And don’t get me wrong, I do this. The other day, I tweeted something about “balling on fuckniggas,” because I mean…why wouldn’t you? I also think about tests of strength, like arm wrestling. I tend to think about men and their quest for their next nut to add to their list of bodies (this is more so for the straights, but it still rings true).

This all sounds so destructive, to me. Femininity isn’t the antithesis of masculinity as it comes with it’s host of issues. But in the context of us, or me, rather, I’m not sure I can continue to acknowledge masculinity as a commodity. In fact, it might just be a defense mechanism.

I’m still flushing this out. Maybe you can help. Share your thoughts.


  1. Bougiehippie June 10, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    I was ready to hate this post but it was pretty good. Short, objective and made good points.

  2. Pascal June 11, 2015 at 2:22 am

    I agree that it’s almost all for show and it’s something I struggle with as I try to navigate gay social scenes or apps. I find myself more self conscious and effacing in a room full of black (gay) men than I do just about anywhere else. There is always a pressure to either conform or be deliberately non-conforming. It’s even more complicated because, like you said in last week’s post, we are all working blind. There is no chance to test ourselves and figure out what works and what doesn’t before we hit the scene itself. We don’t have generations of family and friends delivering advice or social cues about how to present ourselves or approach other men.

    So especially with each other, I feel as if we spend more time trying to compare our experiences and reality to our expectations, however realistic or not. Trade, masculine, butch…sometimes I can’t treat any of those terms with a straight face but then I also have a lot of work to do unpacking how I react to them on all levels. Cause whether I feel submissive ornot, on any given night I react to overt masculinity and machismo on instinct before my brain kicks in and I start digging in my heels and resisting.

    Masculinity is a sticky issue for black men in general and adding sex only seems to make us more foolish and unforgiving. We deny ourselves simple, basic shit over insecurities noone cares about.

  3. TJ June 11, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Masculinty seems to be a remnant of the patriarchy of white men. The archetype for masculinity may vary amongbraces from the jock to the thug but the idea is still the same. I think men exude this to gain acceptance. “I’m gay but I’m not that kind of gay.” It’s some ol’ white male heteronormative bullshit and we’ve let it permeate into our own social circles and in some regards, turned it into a symbol of the ideal.

  4. R0ckthemike June 25, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Often times the preference for masculinity isn’t something specific but a rejection of femininity. Instead of a guy saying “I don’t want to date a guy that thinks he’s a girl” or “if you’re Miss. Lawrence, I’ll pass” they say “I want masculinity”. In my experience, most men want a man that mirrors them self in terms of behavior. I’m not overly masculine (whatever that means) but my romantic tolerance for someone more feminine that myself is low.

  5. Luther Lewis July 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    First, I just stumbled on this blog and I’m excited to read more!

    This subject is very complex and I believe there any many different factors that contribute to this preference. Most I find problematic.

    As Gay men, there is often an esteem given to heterosexual men, making them idols in a sense. Some gay men seek out straight or DL men in particular. This most-likely stems from the idea of straight men being ‘untouchable’ or off limits. There could even be a feeling of redemption that a member of a group of men that once harassed or ostracized us, is now within our grasp on a sexual level. However, the notion of “masculinity” is largely appearance/facade-based when pursuing other Gay men.

    A guy ‘acts’ or ‘looks’ masculine. The definition of Masculinity changes as much as fashion trends and is just as subjective. What’s masculine to one person might not fit someone else’s defimition. I think it’s impossible to ‘be’ something that is constantly changing and evolving based on what is acceptable by the general public. I think that guys who search for ‘masculine’ men are really trying to avoid the opposite; perceived femininity.

    This could be considered “fem-phobic”. Sure, we are men who like…MEN. But not all men are the same. I personally don’t go for the ‘thug’ persona when I meet someone, but looking and/or acting thuggish does not equal manliness. Some ‘trade’-looking guys will be the first to be voguing on the dance floor at a club, which most would not consider masculine behavior. I believe that the misogyny (male supremacy) that is prevalent in society at large is at work within the Gay Black Community as well.

    For instance, as little boys, we are told not to act ‘like a girl’, ‘girls do this, boys do that’. These gender roles solidify a degradation of women. So, as we get older, femininity is seen as weaker and thus, a less-desirable trait for men. I’ve heard many Gay men call other gay guys “Fags”, “Queens”, and “Sissies” in reference to that person’s perceived masculinity. I think there is residual damage done from the anti-feminist teaching of our youths. When, in actually, the majority of Gay men lie somewhere in between traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity.

    Some buff, muscly thug-types like to be cuddled from behind and present themselves in other vulnerable and submissive positions, just as some ‘feminine’ guys like to ‘top’ or perpetuate dominance with their sexual partners. I think it is important to examine ‘Why’ we adopt certain preferences to insure that we aren’t blindly discriminating against people just because we’ve deemed them as lesser-than based on silly gender-roles.


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