Sorry, Pride Only Celebrates Your Body If You're Fit

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Jayson Flores

I'm no body-image expert, but it seems to me that Pride has a big problem when it comes to the representation and celebration of bodies. It's one of the most explicit messages we send without saying anything at all, and it's an insidious problem, but it eats, sleeps, and breathes among us at Pride (and throughout the rest of the year).

Ask yourself a few questions: What do the men you see dancing in their underwear at the club look like? What do the men you see modeling for clothing and liquor companies look like? If you had to imagine the ideal body for yourself, what would it look like?

I don't presume to suggest that everyone in the queer community, nor that every Pride across the world, is contributing and/or unaware of this problem. Maybe you don't envision a tight, muscular body for yourself as the ideal. In which case, good for you for being outside of the mainstream, socially-constructed and ever-changing ideas of what a "hot bod" looks like.

But the reality is that much of society still remains stuck worshipping one or a few types of bodies. Can anyone please tell me if we have an equivalent of "The Pit Crew" in mainstream media that sports a different body type, whether that be size or hair amount? Muscular bodies are, and have been for a very long time, the ideal when it comes to men, whether queer or straight. And Pride, being part of society and culture, is not immune from being influenced.

Bodies that are hairy, thin, plus-sized, or differently-abled, are often fetishized or ignored. Big and hairy bodies are usually labeled as bears, and bears are often thought of as hot lays, but not respected as the complex, three-dimensional people that they are. For thin people, there's the twink label. We love to put these people together on a float during pride parades and enjoy the view, but this support does not seem to go much further than those few moments. (And, just a reminder, fetishization is not love or celebration.)

The muscular, fetishizing powers of Pride do have impacts on queer thought. Many people still keep muscular bodies in the forefront of their mind when they think of their fantasy partner(s). It's hard not to when we see something treated like it's better than everything else. The heart and mind tend to want what it perceives as best and/or the most unattainable.

If Pride were to appropriately display and honor bodies that look different, it would certainly have an impact. Look to Twitter's celebration of bigger men, #BigGuyTwitter. People were thirsting all over the web because collectively, people changed the perspective of these types of bodies. If Pride could only do the same thing, all over the world, it would be a truly beautiful thing.

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