Orlando Soria knows how hard it is to be a fat gay man. He's not fat — not even by the broadest definition of the word — but he was fat once, so he gets it, OK? Over at Hommemaker, he writes about why gay men hate their bodies from the privileged perspective of a former fat person.
I'm a former fat person, too. I'm also a current fat person: I am significantly overweight by medical standards, so please, let's not argue about this one way or the other. I would prove my point with a shirtless photo like Soria does, but as an actual insecure gay man, I'm not comfortable baring that much skin on the internet.
Soria also includes photo after photo of fit, conventionally attractive men, I guess as meta-commentary on the images we're faced with every day. Or maybe because he likes looking at perfect abs: I'm not a mindreader. The end result is an article about impossible standards of beauty illustrated solely by the physical embodiments of impossible standards of beauty. To any genuinely insecure person reading Soria's piece, good luck trying to feel any less shitty after finishing it.
I think a lot of what Soria writes is accurate: men are, for the most part, shallower than women; gay men compare themselves to their partners; media representations of gay men, which are limited, mostly focus on unequivocal hotties. But I don't think Soria holds himself accountable for the role he plays in that. Every bullet point on his list perpetuates the bullshit he attempts to underline.
Because men are inherently superficial and inferior to women, we rely on visual cues for arousal. Marketers know this and they use hunky pictures of gay men to get us to do stuff. Like go to clubs, buy underwear, and drink more alcohol. This teaches us that we are only having fun if we look like models. Which is probably true.
I'm not an idiot: I get the tongue-in-cheek tone. But there has to be some sincerity to the piece, or Soria would not cop to his own insecurities. If he were writing a "death to all fatties" screed — reprehensible as that would be — it would at least be consistent. Instead, he pretends to be just another gay man, suffering through life being less than perfect.
On the other hand, Soria does wear his suffering as a badge of honor.
I have no idea why everyone around me is so skinny. Sometimes I resent it because I tend to be the chunkiest person around and I'm not even fat. Sometimes I appreciate it because it inspires me to keep in shape and think of kale as an acceptable meal replacement. All of this will lead to me living a longer, healthier life, aside from the mental anguish that comes with not having perfect abs.
If he is consciously reinforcing the myth of the perfect gay male physique, maybe it's because he truly believes fat people are better off being unhappy. His last line, however cheeky, betrays that motive: "Ultimately our body dysmorphia is a good thing which will force our community and outlive our straight peers and take over the world."
Yes, body dysmorphia is truly a force for good. Also, anorexia is positive because the end result is you getting super skinny.
Soria writes that he hopes his bitter and insecure tone doesn't make people think he's really that bitter and insecure. I don't give a shit: feel free to call me both of those things. But my own body image issues aside, articles like Soria's piss me off — they contribute to a culture where you can never be thin enough or tall enough or hot enough to be happy. Why do gay men hate their bodies? Because they should, Soria argues. Look in the mirror, fatty. He's talking to you.
I can't blame Soria exclusively, as that would be absurd. There are lots of reasons why gay men hate their bodies. All I'm saying is, he's one of them.
And whatever, like what you like, date whom you want, work out for hours a day or sit on your ass and eat Bugles. It's totally your call, and Soria's perspective is his own. But there are limited gay voices out there, and gay body image in particular is something we still don't talk about enough. If we keep letting Soria and his army of sculpted gods take all the attention, it only further skews the notion of what it means to be a happy, healthy gay man.