celebrity, culture and radical politics in the heart of the american empire
Queer white cis woman. I post a more or less equal mix of radical/leftist politics, disability rights, general US celebrity culture and One Direction stuff here. I tag all my shit so if some but not all of those things interest you I think we can still be cool.
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It can’t just be about closeting for this to work. I’m not even sure that needs to be on the list of priorities.
They are being all being dangerously overworked. They have high wages but do not appear to have much agency or power in their day to day lives.
Modest has showed time and time again that they are incredibly reactive to our every move. I think we should focus on strategies that will force them to let go of some of the agency and power they’re hoarding and put it back in the hands of the boys. Then the boys can decide what they want, you know?
Absolutely agree that closeting is hardly the only problem with this band—see, for example, how they do not have the freedom to express discomfort with being stalked by their fans because they’re supposed to maintain an illusion of ~sexual availability—but attitudes to closeting needed to be directly addressed, because it’s a widespread climate of closeting that encourages bullying, silence, and isolation. All that we are really suggesting here is being more vocal about what we see. That’s it. But there is so much mental blockage, because of how fraught lgbt gender and sexuality issues are, that proposing being vocal about what you see is…. almost revolutionary. I honestly don’t see a lot of difference between a lot of ‘elounor shippers’ and ‘larry shippers’—one group of people insists that you are required to assume that they are straight despite all the evidence against it, and besides, recognizing that they might not be straight would be ‘outing’ them. The other group of people recognizes that something is going on, but you are certainly not allowed to draw conclusions from it or to speak up about it, because drawing conclusions about what you see and speaking up about it apparently is ‘forcing a sexuality’ on them—so I guess that if you assume that an lgbt person is straight and treat them as so, then you can actually ~force them to be straight, alert the presses. And some of this attitude is emblematic of how a lot of people reacted to Harry’s scrabble queer tweet. They swept it under the carpet because it’s ‘not proof’ and therefore it doesn’t mean anything. But this attitude of treating things in isolation and looking at it through the lens of ‘proof or not proof’ is precisely how a lot of people are able to maintain their oblivion to what is going on in front of their face, Louis and Harry’s relationship and forced closeting. If Harry is as surrounded with gay rumors as he is, shouldn’t we be asking /why/ he tweeted something that he would have to know damn well would further enflame the rumors? Shouldn’t we be connecting it to all of Harry’s other homoerotic tweets and possibly draw the conclusion, hey, there’s a pattern of behavior here? If Harry, surrounded by gay rumors as he is, is continuing to feed those rumors by tweeting Scrabble board games with ‘queer’ very prominent on the board, then it is most certainly within the realm of possibly that HARRY WANTS TO BE READ AS GAY. But I’ve seen more than one ‘larry shipper’ deliberately ignore what’s in front of their face because hey, it’s not proof of anything and they wouldn’t want to force a sexuality on him.
Closeting is an enormous mental block for people that leads to silence and inaction, and this is precisely what companies like Modest wants. They’ve turned fans against each other and encouraged a climate of bullying. When the ‘larry shippers’ who refuse to allow themselves to be deceived by what is going on decide to keep to themselves and not speak up, Modest is still very much getting what it wants. Silence and passivity enables injustice.
Closeting is one of the forefront issues because of this. And refusing to be blindsided by it—allowing yourself to recognize what is going on and to speak up about it—will, I believe, help put more power in the hands of the boys.
I think that within fandom absolutely what you’re speaking of needs to be a high priority. We need to be far more militant in how we stand up to ourselves and for the boys in the face of pervasive homophobic discourses. I also think that many people within fandom are dealing with a lot of internalized shame—media corporations push us to become obsessed with entertainment products and profit heavily from our consumption, and then society turns around and tells we’re crazy for caring too much. I think that this shame drives many to police others behavior—don’t be THAT fan, if you’re too intense about your feelings then we’re all going to get it. I believe this shame is connected to how much bullying goes on in fandoms against anyone perceived to be a tinhatter.
I was more speaking to our public tactics and actions. I should have fleshed this out more before I posted it and passed out.
I think that focusing on the closeting publicly may not be our strongest card in the pile so to speak. I really want to think tactically in terms of winnable actions. Absolutely my goal is to make the closet a thing that no celebrity feels like they have to be in just to do their job (and I agree that Harry is strongly signaling that he doesn’t want to be closeted)—but how do we get to that place?
I was just speaking to this with a comrade from another cause (who is like whyyyy do I caaaare about this and is currently watching all of the music videos next to me) and he mentioned that a useful tactic might be to focus on agitating for better questions during interviews. Modest appears to be incredibly controlling in what questions interviewers can and can’t ask. What if we, for example, put together a supercut of the same questions being asked over and over again—especially focusing on the “girlfriend” or “girl” questions? This would get to the heart of the heteronormative narrative being shoved in their faces every single day, but would be an easier thing for people who aren’t as keyed into all of the small details as us to wrap their heads around.