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Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  471 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Gay culture has become a nightmare of consumerism, whether it's an endless quest for Absolut vodka, Diesel jeans, rainbow Hummers, pec implants, or Pottery Barn. Whatever happened to sexual flamboyance and gender liberation, an end to marriage, the military, and the nuclear family? As backrooms are shut down to make way for wedding vows, and gay sexual culture morphs into ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by AK Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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374th out of 540 books — 256 voters
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AK Press Books
101st out of 146 books — 15 voters

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Community Reviews

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Shay Gabriel
Oct 28, 2014 Shay Gabriel rated it did not like it
Some of the essays were great. Many were thought-provoking. Some of them, as with Sycamore's other book ("That's Revolting!"), were filled with a misguided nostalgia for "the good old days" - you know, when gay bars were run by the mafia, queer people faced more serious repression, etc.

There's also - and I'm writing as a gay man who works to fight economic injustice with poor mothers - a very disconcerting anti-child stance that permeates a few of the essays.

And can we admit that just like ther
É F.K. O'Conghaile
Disappointing. I like to think that the disappointment I feel with this anthology is sourced in the authors' disappointment with the successes of gentrification and assimilation. Whereas the first two (That's Revolting! and Nobody Passes, respectively) were, albeit sometimes average collections, a pretty good reflection on history, advocacy, opportunity, and the complexity of identity - this one instead seems to give up while desperately kicking and screaming for a better world, the one they wan ...more
Mar 17, 2012 J.P. rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, essays
Being gay isn't a choice, but have you ever wondered if there's a different way of living your gay life? One not prescribed by The Advocate and Out and a white, fratboy-esque, dude pornography? Well, then, this book is for you. Gay Marriage and gay people serving in the military may sound good on paper, but have you ever wondered why Marriage and the Military are so freaking important? Isn't there another way of being? Being gay should call into question some of the traditions of society, so why ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Caty rated it it was amazing
The essays in this book are some of the most visceral, intense pieces of writing I've ever read. The dogmatism and self-analysis that cluttered MBS' previous anthologies are minimized, if not gone. Instead, the book pushes you headlong into the subjective reality of everything that's wrong with our current consumerist macho queer culture--into being closeted in prison, fucking bareback while HIV positive, and a thousand other fucked up experiences. And these vignettes are a better argument again ...more
Jan 21, 2014 Phillip rated it really liked it
I got this book for Christmas. Every year I peruse the Lambda Literary Awards and this was nominated in the LGBT Anthology section. As a progressive queer activist in college I’ve read some of the other works edited by Mattilda including That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation. This is a collection along the same lines as others in that there are 30 short entries with most about 4-5 pages each as the book ends at 208 pages.

I was interested in reading this because as a somew
Feb 14, 2012 A rated it really liked it
I needed a dose of liberation when I received this book in the mail from a friend. Consumerist forces and the need to fit a certain body type to feel attractive have plagued gay male subcultures in the United States for a long time. This book mostly filled the need for a dialogue on some of these issues by offering up a sobering number of perspectives in the form of essays. That being said, I can't help but expect more from a book that claims to challenge rather than reaffirm problematic subcult ...more
At just over 200 pages, this book collects 31 essays from a diverse array of LGBTIQQ writers and scholars. A few of the essays seemed sufficiently, if superficially, developed in the span of a few pages, but for the most part, they were woefully short. A few didn't even quite manage to state a thesis before the author was signing off. In truth, I feel rather cheated because this is subject matter that much of LGB (as distinct from TIQQ) scholarship shies away from (a point hinted at several time ...more
Anthony White
Jul 15, 2014 Anthony White rated it it was amazing
This book has to be the most powerful collection of essays I've read in my life, especially relating to queer identify and gender performance. I'm grateful for the good fortune I had to stumble upon this text. Each essay is brilliantly written and boldly attacks common prescriptions of how we should think of gender and sexuality. Some of these essays made me uncomfortable, exposing my AIDS-phobia as the oppressive monster it is, others made me cry, narrating agonies with which I am intimately ac ...more
Corvin Cordes
Oct 12, 2014 Corvin Cordes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer
This anthology showcases the blood, sweat and tears of the proudly deviant, where being queer is sensual and filthy, and homonormativity and whitewashing can take a seat.
With the neo-liberal hyper masculine social circles that now dominate every aspect of gay life its made for a little literary oasis for this punk ass femme boy.
Some standouts for me are Jones' The Unlikely Barebacker, Fagan's My fear, The Forces Beneath; and Clarkson's Penis is Important for That. But it was Ezra RedEagle Whi
duck reads
Mar 07, 2014 duck reads rated it liked it
Shelves: qw, tgqw, nonfic, short-s
I disliked a lot of this book. I liked a lot of it also. Most of all, I found myself wanting to talk about the subjects raised with everyone all the time, in an attempt to figure out how I felt about all of things it churned up, and also just because there were interesting ideas to discuss.
Ami Kismet
Feb 06, 2014 Ami Kismet rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading the essays in this book but I felt that some of them read more as personal essays about being gay, coming out, or knowing/having AIDS. There were a few essays that made the connection between personal experience and a larger societal or cultural issues of misogyny, and patriarchy. A few of the essays read more like men whining about why they can't just have sex with each other even if one of them is more 'feminine' acting or is Latino or Asian, but that is where it stopped. The ...more
Joseph Wilburn
Sep 08, 2013 Joseph Wilburn rated it really liked it
The subjects that this anthology deals with are (I think) going to be of increasing importance for the LGBT community in the not too distant post-civil rights struggle era of the future.

This book holds up a mirror to the members of the dominant gay culture and demands that there be an accounting taken of the skeletons still remaining in our communal closets. There is a common resignation that issues of gender, gender expression, size, racial, class, and HIV status will not be dealt with if life
Jan 21, 2014 Steven rated it really liked it
This book was great! At times hilarious, insightful, depressing, hopeful. It was great to see the experiences of such a wide variety of queer people. You can tell Mattilda tried very hard to represent as many people as possible in this book. I was surprised, but the book changed my life and how I view things. Some authors really make you challenge your views. The stories were not afraid to talk about the dirty, the messy, the scary, and the taboo. They also have found ways to add perspective and ...more
Mar 16, 2016 Corvus rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite queer anthologies. It had been on my wishlist for some time and I finally got a hold of a copy.

I found myself relating to things in this more than I expected and being made to think more than I expected. I'm a trans person who's read somewhere along the lines of butch dyke, what is that, or strange gay guy and I've also found myself feeling lonely in different LGBT communities, even radical and queer ones.

Some essay ripped my heart out and others put it back.

P.S. I als
Oct 27, 2013 Jed rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jed by: Ben
I'm not sure the question the title asks is ever answered. This isn't a sociological look at internalised homophobia. It's a collection of stories about, often, how mean LGBT people are to one another. And, disturbingly, how often gay men are mean to transgendered people. Booh Eduardo's story "A Rock and a Bird" is especially haunting because the "antagonist" is apparently completely blind to how awful and selfish he is.

It's not all depressing, though, some are quite funny; and there are a few
Jan 27, 2016 Ari rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
For someone who doesn't identify within the specific populations the writers of this book occupy, this collection of essays was certainly a culture shock, though one I readily leapt into. Regardless of identities or personal stories told, each essay was packed with important insights and probed issues that matter significantly to the queer population, as well as the societal majority. Additionally, more often than not, the central issues discussed were not those of the majority within the minori ...more
J Chritsian
Jan 27, 2016 J Chritsian rated it liked it
I'm pretty sure I have read this book before but the whole "essays collection of ppl" format I am not fond of and they run together. Three stars because people getting paid off essays etc is great, and in theory this book could be good for someone, but it just kind of ran thru me.
Daniel Lowen
May 30, 2012 Daniel Lowen rated it really liked it
This was great! A series of essays, each 4-8 pages, on all sorts of topics relating to queer people who don't fit the dominant queer mold. The irony, of course, is that gay male America has become a minority that mirrors the mainstream in marginalizing those who don't want to or can't fit in.

The first essay was stupid, but I'm glad I kept going. The quality was of course mixed, but mostly very good and eye-opening. And each writer had a different style -- some more academic, others very personal
Oct 01, 2012 Cian rated it really liked it
A thought-provoking breath of fresh-air in an age of assimilationist HRC conformity. The book includes over two dozen short essays by a variety of authors, and my reactions to the different pieces varied greatly. The collection gives voice to experiences and identities that are too often overlooked or silenced in the seemingly single-minded drive for marriage at the expense of all (and everyone) else. With such an array of authors, the style and quality varied -- some were more successful than o ...more
Mar 13, 2013 David rated it liked it
Shelves: glbt, non-fiction
I believe this collection of essays definitely provides strong voices and diverse perspectives within the gay community, many of which (I admit) were completely new to me. I particularly found the voices of gay men of color to be very enlightening and provocative, causing me to reflect and meditate further on their experiences both within the gay community and in the general scene. Admittedly, I found many essays to be counter-productive and excessively radical....BUT, I feel that the important ...more
Aug 25, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
This book is a collection of short essays, reflections, and interviews. I really loved reading this book. The format meant that it was constantly new and different. Some essays made me feel like I was reading my own life experience printed on a page, and others confronted me with thoughts and experiences that I'd never pondered or encountered before. Some were very uncomfortable, and I'm grateful for them, too. This book will inspire reflection. I will never think about masculinity the same way ...more
Grey Rodriguez
Mar 26, 2015 Grey Rodriguez rated it really liked it
There are some really great essays on queer culture in here, and it is doesn't shy away from radical viewpoints.
Jan 06, 2016 A. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology, queerness
I need to read more of Sycamore's writing, this was an enlightening read.
Apr 26, 2015 Ch rated it it was amazing
I am giving this book 7 stars but the goodreads website only has a maximum limit of 5 stars.
Apr 02, 2012 Blane rated it it was amazing
A great anthology of what it means to be a non-conformist queer in the early 21st century, challenging the very nature of what "masculinity" means. As an anthology, some of the essays are better than others, but overall a unique book on the subject. There are femmes, trans, fats, browns, blacks, arabs, older (but mostly younger) name it & they are probably represented here. Recommended for anyone interested in the queer historical continuum.
Jun 28, 2012 Eighteen rated it really liked it
It’s got a couple dozen short essays by alllll types: fat femme genderqueer faggot drag queen Arab indigenous disabled trans immigrant etc etc etc etc. Quite a few essays are from Philly elders, about gay culture before Stonewall, about passing, being racialized, being an immigrant queer after 9/11, having a penis, not being masculine, body policing, current white gay male standards of conformity—it goes on.
Ryan Mishap
Whether gut-wrenching, wistful, poignant, or raunchy, the pieces in this anthology make a two things clear: everybody wants to be whole and loved in whatever way they define and our culture of masculinity and patriarchy so often prevent the achievement of those two things. The breadth of experience and themes covered here is large, but those two opposing forces cut through much of the book.
Ac Panella
Apr 29, 2012 Ac Panella rated it liked it
I love the ideas and the intention of this anthology. I expect to not love every piece in an anthology but the ratio of loved/liked to disliked/ not-as-engaged-with was lower than I would have liked. That said, I would still recommend the book for those who are seeking an alternate perspective to the dominant gay voices who have framed the rhetoric of contemporary issues
Corey Zerna
Apr 28, 2015 Corey Zerna rated it liked it
an interesting collection of queer essays from the US, loosely tied together by the book's theme. some of the stories are quite confronting and/or depressing, but still worth the read
Michael Andersen-Andrade
I found this book in my local bookstore and everything about it interested me...the title, the topic and even the cover. I was disappointed, however. A few of the essays were mildly interesting, but it was a struggle to finish the book. I just didn't find the writing inspiring or the content very compelling.
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Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is an insomniac with dreams. She is the author of a memoir, The End of San Francisco (City Lights 2013, and two novels, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights, October 2008) and Pulling Taffy (Suspect Thoughts 2003). Mattilda is the editor of five nonfiction anthologies, most recently Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectific ...more
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