Alex C. sent in an example of the belittling of men by men in the context of sport. Two teenager fans of the Red Sox found themselves verbally assaulted by Yankee fans for the sin of sitting amongst them. They surround the boys and sing, aggressively, to the tune of YMCA, after a mostly indecipherable lead in:
Why are you gay!
I saw you suckin’ it, D-I-C-K.
They have every size, you’re about to enjoy.
You can hang out with all the boys!
Why are you gay!
I saw you suckin’ some D-I-C-K.
It should be clear to everyone that this behavior represents a sick society. Team affiliation follows the rules of the minimal group paradigm: humans appear to be willing to form meaningful groups based on just about anything. Sports just happens to be an arena in which hypermasculinity is rewarded, even demanded. This makes it acceptable to be cruel to one another and makes it inevitable that that cruelty will take the form of hatred towards gay men (deemed masculine failures) in the form of homophobic slurs. It’s not even that they think the kids are gay, but calling them gay is good for a laugh and a great insult.
This is what it’s like to be a man under patriarchy: moments of inhumanity in which men accept and reproduce hatred against others and moments of victimization when other men aim that hatred at you.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Eli Shrinks — October 25, 2010
I lived two blocks from Fenway Park and whenever my thin, effeminate, gay male roommate would go out on game nights, he'd come back with a horrifying collection of new taunts that had been hurled at him.
Here's a list of questions he was asked in one night during a trip to the grocery store:
1. How do you fit a dick in those pants?
2. How are those pants going?
3. How’s it feel to be gay?
4. Are you even a boy?
In other words, I'm not remotely surprised.
Andrew — October 25, 2010
This is so fascinating, I can't even muster the outrage it seems to deserve.
For some context: the group of chanteurs who appropriated this famous gay anthem was not just a few normal Yankees fans acting out some random hostility. Rather, they're the well-known "Bleacher Creatures." For years, their chants and songs have been almost as much of a feature of Yankee Stadium as the game itself. Their tiny subculture revolves entirely around fandom and their own notoriety, and they always sit in the same section.
I can certainly empathize with the awfulness of the situation for the men being harassed here. But at the same time, I think the singers' behavior is an interesting mirror of what's going on down in the field. After all, competitive sports are nothing if not rehearsed, mannered aggression, contained within a set of parameters and regulated by a set of rules. You probably don't actually hate your opponents, but the nature of the game obliges you to deploy all the tools allowed to defeat them.
Can we realistically expect that people who find that sort of thing entertaining won't reflect some of the underlying ideas in their own behavior?
This is not an anti-sports rant, though. Just as I'd expect anyone actually in the Yankees to be perfectly polite to players on other teams when they're not at work, I'd also guess that the Bleacher Creatures don't go around harassing strangers when not emboldened by the attention they get in the stadium (which is its own culture, not necessarily a microcosm).
I could be wrong on both counts, but I think there are more ways to look at this than just concluding that it's "representative of a sick society."
(And yes, I know what it's like to be queer-bashed and bullied, and it's nothing like a musical number.)
Tom S — October 25, 2010
It's worth pointing out that if you go to the youtube page, the uploader clearly approved of the assault- "The Bleacher Creatures serenade some douchebag red sox teenager who thought it would be a good idea to sit in section 41 for a Mid Summer Yankee Red Sox game. Moron." - while nearly all of the comments seem to find it immature and rather disgusting.
Andrew — October 25, 2010
Also - from AfterElton:
I just spoke with the Yankees and they report that this video is from four years ago, and that they have previously dealt with the Bleacher Creatures and told them this behavior is unacceptable. They are meeting with them again this Friday and will reiterate that fact.
In all likelihood, the attention directed to this video now is attached to the recent spate of press around antigay bullying. I'm very impressed by how quickly counterprogramming such as the It Gets Better project has gone viral, and how much these behaviors that most of society has long been complacent with are now being examined more critically.
Sally — October 25, 2010
I wonder about the "teens" being taunted. They look awfully young. To me, that's especially bothersome, because the Bleacher Creatures look like adults.
I don't know how seating goes at the stadium. Is it open seating? Are these kids being harassed for sitting in the seats they paid for?
I think trash talking the other team at games is part of the game. If you sit among fans of another team while making your affiliation known, you're going to hear a few insults.
I've seen mob rule take over in the name of team spirit. In college, we were visiting a school that beat us. After the game the fans ripped the goal post down and shoved it into our side of the stadium. At least one person went to the hospital after being hit in the head.
Ultimately, it's about the fact that calling people gay as an insult is problematic. But I can't believe these adults took such pleasure in ganging up on a group of kids.
Susan — October 25, 2010
Trash talking may be one thing, but openly chanting homophobic slurs as your physically standing over two kids is foul and loathsome!! Who are these depraved people? I would love their names to be broadcast far and wide.
Lucia — October 25, 2010
It's annoying that taunting of any sort seems to be part of the whole sporting experience, at least from the spectators. I remember once going to a L.A. Galaxy soccer game versus the Chivas USA. Me and my friends were rooting for the Chivas, while a pretty big group of people in our section were Galaxy fans. (They appeared to be mostly Caucasian, but who knows for sure...after all I am a fair-skinned Latina who most confuse for Caucasian. But I digress.)
They would yell a lot of racist things to the tune of Latin songs, saying stuff about going back home or being illegal since the team is connected to the football club in Guadalajara, Mexico (even though a lot of the players were American, go figure). All that seemed more or less normal, I guess. It all changed when a couple of female friends and myself began to cheer more loudly for the Chivas when they'd score or steal the ball. There were a few times that their taunts became directed at us personally, and we were called the 'c' word and the like. I don't think I can ever erase the looks on their faces when those fans would yell obscenities at us. It definitely meant more than just feeling angry that we were rooting for the opposite team, that much is sure.
fog — October 25, 2010
Quarterback Tony Romo broke his collarbone during a football game tonight and will be out for a number of weeks. Currently trending on Twitter is "Tony Homo."
Lane — October 26, 2010
I attended a Seattle Seahawks game with a gay group. It was 10 of those guys against four of us. We were spit on, soaked in beer and food. Strange thing is we were not acting out at all, we were just sitting there watching the game. I never went to another public sporting event EVER.
But there are things these guys do that they do in groups that are a dangerous form of latent homosexuality. How does a group of guys get together, get naked and have sex with one girl? I can't think of a more homosexual act than that. How does a group of "straight" men get together and start talking about gang raping a girl then actually form a pack and do it? I am completely stumped. Thank god I'm gay, I don't think I could handle the pressure.
Yankees fans taunt Red Sox fans with homophobic chant — October 28, 2010
[...] Sociological Images, here is video footage of Yankees fans taunting Red Sox fans with a homophobic chant, ironically [...]
Ben Gleck — October 29, 2010
"Humans appear to form meaningful groups based on just about anything [and then belittle one another accordingly]"
I think you might be right. I see another example of it in the comments section here: e.g., the group of enlightened folks setting themselves up as superior to the inferior, stupid, immoral men who find it possible to enjoy sports. But that probably doesn't count, huh? I mean, since that's a group you *like* denigrating another group you *dislike*.
Scratthecat5 — June 6, 2012
Typical classless, moronic piece of shit New Yorkers never mind the fact they're Yankme fans! Hopefully the gutless fucking pussies were tossed after that display bullying a couple young kids who were probably fucking scared shitless. Fuck you assholes!