Body Health, celebrity, fashion, LGBTQ, pop culture

THINK TWINK: “welcome to the age of the twink”

T, the New York Times Style Magazine, published a piece yesterday called, “Welcome to the Age of the Twink.” Firstly, I love that title and it makes me think of a Jetson’s-era world of beautiful twinks in Lycra bodysuits and astronaut helmets, jetting around on those little space-cars. Oh! They could go to Hamburger Martian’s for drag queen bingo!

But after I got over thinking about that (a good twenty minutes) and after I realized that T is something I’ve not really gotten around to reading much of (it’s shocking!), I put Troye Sivan’s “Bloom” on repeat, took a hit of poppers and read the article. Just kidding, I didn’t read the article!

The thesis of the piece, the piecis if you will, is this: as women begin to dismantle the “legacy of toxic masculinity,” twinks represent a similar departure from the male shackles. “These twinks, after all, aren’t just enviably lean boys or the latest unrealistic gay fantasy, but a new answer to the problem of what makes a man.”

First, after bingeing several T articles, I’ve noticed that they’re (mercifully, because I can’t handle some long diatribe) short and typically include a final graph that pivots to make some larger, societal point. It’s a cute look, and one that I definitely am guilty of, but I wish that this piece was longer. Give me more, hon!

The piece introduces itself with a scene from Call Me By Your Name, where Oliver (Armie Hammer) steals Elio’s (Timothée Chalamet) drink and gives him a brief, tense massage. The author notes that Oliver’s body – broad, hairy and muscled – is in stark contrast to Elio’s – smooth, lithe. In the negative space, it draws comparison and highlights the youth of Elio as well as the older appeal of Oliver.

The author, Nick Haramis, touches upon the rising popularity of “twink” models in more mainstream culture: Ryan McGinley’s photo-series of slim, sloppily dressed Saint Laurent models; leading men Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One), Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird, Manchester by the Sea), Nick Robinson (Love, Simon); singer Troye Sivan and celebrity-child-savant Jaden Smith. As these men, and their bodies, are being pushed to the forefront of culture and propped up as sexual objects as desire, their twinkiness, and its entrenchments in effeteness and femininity, are similarly propelled.

It’s a little too close to Chris Pratt having to totally reinvent his entire body in order to get a leading role in a movie for me to safely see the rising prevalence of twinkish body types as anything more than a trend or the beginning of a movement.

However, I do agree that prioritizing body types other than the traditional “Leading Man” body – any of the Hollywood Chrises – is a step in the right direction, and the appreciation for androgynous, lithe and sometimes-feminine bodies in men is worthy of attention. But what that made me realize is that, for the most part, twinks still operate within a certain paradigm of toxic masculinity.

Twinks, at least the ones that came to mind when I read the piece as well as the ones who were mentioned in the article itself, are typically portrayed as white or white-passing. The cover photo of “Welcome to the Age of the Twink” includes men of color, but the overarching notion of “twink” is young, cis, white, attractive, slim.

There is the notion that twinks are, inherently, slim. There can be branches:  Haramis discusses “twunks” (he mentions Zac Efron; I counter with Tom Holland), Euro twinks (the BelAmi boys) and femme twinks (Adam Rippon). I would argue that otters – slim, hairy men – exist on the twink spectrum; and who among us has not fallen in love with a tattered-knee skater boy or a stoner, drawn gaunt by the love for their respective crafts?

So twinks can be slim, or muscular, or hairy, but they are never fat. They always adhere to the beauty standard that thinness is ideal. Through the promotion of twinks in mainstream culture, we are saying that we are widening the lens of attractiveness – but not that wide. We will dip outside of our ideals, but just slightly.

An essential part of twinks is the idea of prioritizing youth. I’m not saying there aren’t old twinks, looking at you Charlie Hides, but when you look at that through a critical lens, you realize: if twinks are young, then they are meant to idealize youthful, boyish figures. I wonder if their bodies are prized only because it is implied that they are temporary; no one stays young forever, so the twink body will eventually evolve into something else. You can be feminine, but only because eventually you will become something else.

The point of the piece, in my eyes, was acknowledging and celebrating that different types of bodies are being seen as viable, valuable and attractive. And I loved thinking about twinks and bodies and queerness for an hour, so I’m grateful for the piece. But I love it more for reminding me that we still have a long way to go in terms of body inclusivity. Ugh, I did the T thing of putting my thesis (my piecis!) at the very end!


Alternative titles include, but are not limited to, “Pretty N’ Twink,” “Twink Twice,” “Twinkin’ About You,” “Twinkpiece,” or “Twink or Swim.”
Advertisements
Standard
fashion

MY MET GALA SAINTS AND SINNERS

I normally don’t post on a Tuesday, and I’m not exactly a fashion monster (although I did briefly have a men’s fashion column in college, and I was a fashion writer…wait never mind, I’m Donatella Versace) but the 2018 Met Gala, themed: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” so inspired me that I had to write about it.

I was raised Catholic, and while I don’t particularly subscribe to the religion anymore for a multitude of reasons, I find myself heavily influenced by it in my writing. It centers so much on rich, baroque and intricate iconography, which has definitely had an impact on my poetry at the very least, and my love for things gaudy at the very most (I once unironically wore a ton of zebra print). So I was excited about this theme, and I wanted to go through my best- and worst-dressed, or as I’m calling them, my Saints and my Sinners.

First, before the lists, we have to acknowledge God, a.k.a. Rihanna. Her look, Maison Margiela, was encrusted in diamonds and featured a literal pope hat. She was co-hosting the event, so it makes sense that she went the largest, and most literal, with the theme. I find the length of the coat to be slightly off, especially when seen from any point other than head-on, but I love the poofy, balero-style sleeves that she kept adjusting and the dress underneath. I will never, ever forget Rihanna’s Guo Pei dress from the China: Through the Looking Glass Met Gala; she was one of the only people to actually wear Chinese couture, and it just shows how seriously Rihanna takes fashion and the Met Gala.

Saints

MV5BMTk4MDcxNjE5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTUwMDc0NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,664,1000_AL_

  1. Lily Collins, Givenchy:

Along with Hailee Steinfeld, Lily Collins is one of those actresses who’s never really in anything, but is consistently invited to red carpets because they fucking kill it every time. This was, without a doubt, my favorite look. The headpiece invoked the gates and wrought ironwork that you see in old cathedrals, and the dress was both evocative of priests and maintaining a structural simplicity. There were a lot of tears during this Met Gala, but I found that Lily’s, along with SZA’s, were done the cleanest and the best.

  1. Chadwick Boseman, Versace

Men really get the short end of the stick with red carpets (hello, toxic masculinity) so whenever a man really steps up his game, it’s noticed. However, I think that even if every other man killed it, Chadwick Boseman would still be the absolute top. His Versace look, caped suit, was the perfect blend of edit and ornate. The pants were amazing, but they were almost an accent. My favorite detail was the delicate chain connecting the crosses on his cape and the red-ombre tassels. He looks like a king going to the Vatican for a blessing.

  1. Priyanka Chopra, Ralph Lauren

I think about Priyanka Chopra roughly four times a year, and I’m so glad that I got to think about her again. Her Ralph Lauren, deep red velvet dress reminded me of confessional booths, and the gold chain hood served to draw the eye upward and made her seem twenty feet tall. She, along with Janelle Monae, also did the smart, and very Catholic, thing of focusing on the face. So much of religious paintings feature women in heavy veils and long dresses, with the most exquisite, often pained, faces.

  1. Kim Kardashian West, Versace

I hated Kim’s Vivienne Westwood look at last year’s Met Gala. I generally hate when people eschew the themes, because this isn’t an excuse to look pretty. But Kim looked so pretty this year that I don’t mind that this is tangentially on theme. She looks like a golden angel, a celestial honey. Her body is so incredibly snatched, probably painfully so, but she does what she does best: makes a simple dress and simple hair into an event.

  1. Cardi B, Moschino

Cardi B walked with Moschino designer Jeremy Scott, which is a massive honor. They were matching in heavily brocaded fashion. I actually love Cardi’s dress, because it’s so Catholic to be so fucking extra. The headpiece was perfectly framed around her face, and the stiff neck choker reminded me a lot of Elizabethan collars. I could’ve probably done without the satin side-pieces coming off her waist, but that’s minor. This look, however, was major.

  1. Zendaya, Versace

Versace won the Met Gala, but Zendaya won Versace, honey. The look, a recreation of Joan of Arc, is perfect. Chain-mail was a big theme this year – thanks, Crusades – but I didn’t see anybody who did it as well as Zendaya. This isn’t surprising; she consistently kills at the Met Gala, but I think I loved this look the best. She has the perfect face for wigs, and this wet, auburn short-bang was perfect. She could’ve just done pretty hair and the dress, but then that would’ve been boring. The Met Gala isn’t just any other red carpet. It. Is. An. Event.

  1. Tessa Thompson, Thom Browne.

Tessa Thompson is my favorite person on Westworld right now, and I loved how fashion this was. There wasn’t a lack of priest references, but Tessa’s was the most artful with the heavily beaded priest collar. I loved her make-up as well, this very drawn, almost alien concept that looked, frankly, celestial. Her designer was Thom Browne, which is surprising because I would’ve guessed, based on the fabric, that it was Chanel. My only qualm is that I wish the jacket was a cape. The pattern is incredible, but there’s something about having it be a jacket that is slightly pedestrian.

  1. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Ralph Lauren

Rosie was serving FACE at this Met Gala. She is so beautiful that she didn’t detract from it at all. The gown is pretty and all, Ralph Lauren, but I almost wish it was all cape, and completely cloaked her like a Christmas tree topper. What seals the deal for me is the halo; it’s so perfectly pulled back and compliments her golden, dewy skin.

  1. Janelle Monaé, Marc Jacobs

In a lot of religious iconography, a celestial halo is represented by a broad, gold disc around someone’s head. I’m assuming that this is what Janelle is referencing, and I love it. Focusing on her face, surrounded by a Crusades mail-coif (look it up) and framed by the halo-hat, is smart. She has such a perfect, angelic face. The rest of the outfit is pretty – black and white – but the styling and make-up is what makes this pop for me.

  1. Greta Gerwig, The Row

Apparently, despite regularly attending the Met, The Row’s Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen rarely dress celebrities. This, combined with the fact that I love when unexpected people pull off bold concepts, puts Greta within my top ten. This is basically drag: taking something we’ve seen and blowing it up into exaggerated, breathtaking couture. Greta is doing priest drag, and the simplicity of the design, married with its billowing size, is just, simply, fucking cool. She keeps her hair and make-up simple, her jewelry is pared down to a single huge ring, and the effect is remarkably austere for how much of a moment it is.

Sinners

050718-kendall-embed.jpg

  1. Kendall Jenner, Off-White

Remember how I said I hate when people don’t come in theme? This was ignited by Kendall fucking Jenner. She’s a high fashion model who could literally wear anything, and is the darling of every fashion house. The fact that she skipped the theme is only made more infuriating by the fact that she’s not even serving a look. I like how the pants end in that mermaid-esque tail, and I like the covered hands, but it’s a look for a red carpet of a movie you’re not in; it’s not Met Gala. Literally, say a prayer, Kendall, because you have been judged by a Higher Power.

  1. Katy Perry, Versace

Wig.

No seriously, why couldn’t you wear a wig, Katy? Weirdly, even though I loved Cardi B’s over-the-top ensemble, this is the wrong direction of over-the-top. It’s far too literal, and looks more like something she’d wear on tour. There’s nothing…bad about it, but it’s just so obvious. Katy is not one for subtlety, and neither are Catholics, so I can’t really describe why this annoys me so much. Actually, I can – it’s because Katy probably thinks she nailed this look. Her delusion annoys me.

  1. Tom Brady, Versace

He looks like a priest, and not in a good way. He looks like an off-duty parish priest that you’ve run into in your local Barnes & Noble. He’s buying The da Vinci code and it’s surprising because you thought priests couldn’t read that. Fashion-y red carpets are not really built for men, so either go big (Chadwick Boseman) or go home (Kanye). It’s just not…anything. It’s not utterly repulsive or a total show-stopper. It’s bland, and it needs to be done.

  1. Ariana Grande, Vera Wang

Too literal, and I hated the bow. She’s so angelic and small-looking that she could’ve worn Katy Perry’s wings with a slip dress, and made the whole thing fashion. If the bow was made into a veil, and covered her face in a sheer, diaphanous waterfall, it would’ve been a little better. But the gown wears her, and that’s never the look you want.

  1. Katharine McPhee, Georges Chakra

Katharine’s only here as the plus-one of David Foster, right? We all agree? Her gown is pretty, but it’s not quite on-theme (or striking enough) to warrant her a spot on the carpet. Maybe if she had done something a little more daring with her hair (either eclipsed by a headdress, or slicked back, or ornately braided) it would be more Met-appropriate. But I’m sure that she’s just happy to be there, and I guess I’m happy that she’s happy.

  1. Shailene Woodley, Ralph Lauren

Shailene is cool, so this should’ve been cool. It’s not, and I think I know why. This looks like her stylist caught a glimpse of what Zendaya would be wearing, and made Shailene the Party City version. The material looks too shiny and cheap, and it’s evident that she’s wearing a clip-on bang. If the bang had been blunter, and the dress more knight-like and structured, this could’ve been a total bomb outfit. But instead, it’s just a little sloppy and more than a little forgettable. Excited for Big Little Lies, though!

  1. Rooney Mara, Givenchy

Rooney looks absolutely beautiful in this dress. It’s structural and fits her perfectly, and I love her make-up and hair. The reason she’s a Sinner for me is that the Met Gala is tailor-made for people like Rooney. Particularly with this theme, she has the pared-back and severe beauty to pull off sepulchral and Catholic. It feels like a missed opportunity, even though on any award season red carpet, this would be a 10/10 for me. I’m sad, Rooney.

  1. Kate Moss, Saint Laurent

I think I don’t like this one because everyone on the E! News round table kept calling it so “fresh” and on “theme.” They had Elaine Welteroth on, so they were doing something right, but overall I find them – Giuliana Rancic, Zanna Roberts Rassi, and Brad Goreski – so tired. Anytime anyone wore a ponytail, they called it “fresh.” Not fresh. Stale, honey, stale. So maybe this is a cute look, but I didn’t find it particularly in theme.

  1. Mindy Kaling, Vassilis Zoulias

I don’t mind the dress, and I actually love the gloves. It’s the crown that I have a problem with. Not the crown in itself, but the fact that it seems too big for her head. It looks like it’s been photoshopped (badly) into place. I wish she had gone with something that sat a little better on her head.

  1. Jonah Hill (and basically every man), Unknown

Okay so this is Jonah Hill but I mixed him up with Seth Rogen and fully had “Seth Rogen” written down as my number ten. Jonah is here as a placeholder for every man who just wore a boring tuxedo/suit to the Met Gala. There’s a reason we are so thirsty for men like Chadwick (well, there are a lot of reasons why we’re thirsty for Chadwick but I digress) and it’s because men think they can get away with a suit. No! Also GQ has this weird fascination with Jonah Hill’s fashion and their write-ups of his looks always confuse me. He wore a camel coat with gym shorts and they thought it was revolutionary. Are we looking at the same person??

Purgatory (My “Whatever’s”)

  1. Olivia Munn, H&M

The look is cute, but I truly don’t understand why Olivia Munn was there. Also while there, she apparently told some news outlet that she got cut on her leg while getting into the dress. And that’s just the kind of quirky little anecdote that makes me annoyed by her.

  1. Kerry Washington, Ralph Lauren

I loved her hair, and I actually love this dress. I like that it’s not belted or particularly form-fitting, because it looks like literal liquid gold. She’s in Purgatory because her look needs…something. It’s not elevated to the degree that she usually brings to award season red carpets. Something about it feels unfinished, and I’m sorry, Kerry. I love you.

  1. Blake Lively, Versace

Apparently people loved this, and I do agree that it’s cool, but I don’t understand the boner that people have for Blake Lively. I also don’t find this dress to be particularly in theme; I think it’s just so big and elaborate that people are confused into thinking that this means it’s thematic.

Standard
Body Health, Humor, Rambles

THIGHS THE LIMIT

Because of the way my face is, I could easily play the cruel son of a British business magnate intent on shutting down a small, mom and pop establishment. And while it’s nice to have that as a back-up if this writing thing does not pan out (or if my plan to snag a rich husband backfires on me) it’s not a look that I seek out on a regular basis.

To counteract my inner scion, I try to dress how I feel: sloppy, a little nineties-inspired, and in love with my thighs.

Belying my skinny frame, I have the thighs that four years of constant running built. These are the thighs that propelled me up countless hills, the thighs that kept my body in forward motion even as crippling muscle cramps doubled me over, the thighs that brought me into the fastest mile I ever ran (and that promptly sealed my running peak in junior year). Even if I’ve had to work on other parts of my body, my legs have never disappointed me. They’ve, pardon the phrase, always held me up.

I have an on-and-off relationship with my body (we’re on speaking terms right now, but she’s tough). Regardless of our fraught relationship, we’ve always put our differences aside and come together for the sake of the thing we can both agree on: my thighs.

I’m moving to Los Angeles in a few weeks (quelle surprise!) and so I’ve been slowly formulating my LA style (as well as thinking of LA-centric puns). I’ve decided that my aim is going to be very skate-centric, despite the fact that my only experience skating was gingerly perching on a longboard going at glacial paces. I’m afraid of skateboarding, mostly because I’m so tall that falling is a two-hour event. I put on the latest Star Wars just to have something to watch while it happens.

Because I’ve got such long legs (brag) shorts can be tricky. If I’m not careful, I look like a flamingo, or one of those blow-up toys at used car lots advertising great deals. I try to break them up with tall socks, which fulfills two purposes: it stops the eye from creating one continuous line, and it makes me feel like the hot, alt boys I had crushes on in middle school. Two birds.

After a barrage of Instagram ads, I broke down and bought a pair of 7’’ Chubbies shorts. They are, no exaggeration, so fucking stretchy. By mentioning them (and praising them, to boot) I’ve basically sealed my fate and I will see a Chubbies ad every single day until I die. Hopefully they sponsor the funeral. But seriously, I adore them and wore them to work. They’re flirty. Like, they’re a brown chino color, but they’re not taking things so seriously.

Speaking of which, yesterday at work I spotted a boy wearing a pair of short, loose gym shorts, ratty Vans, calf socks and a striped t-shirt. As a gay guy, whenever there’s a pull towards someone, I have to wonder, “Do I like him or do I want to be him?” His face was alright (5.6/10) but I was so into his outfit that I stared at him, i.e. “be him.” I don’t wear glasses at work (TMI but I sweat and they slip) so me staring is the absolute most obvious thing. I kept maneuvering what I was working on so I could keep him in my (very blurry) eye-line until I had committed his outfit to memory.

I’m sure I’m not alone, but I’m so swayed towards a certain style when I see someone else pull it off. I bought a lilac t-shirt from Topman because the model was gorgeous. It looks amazing on me, but different-amazing. So this guy at work, who was built along the same lines as me, really hooked me to the style. It was like looking into a brunette mirror (but I’m a 7, so).

I’m nervous about moving, so I’ve kinda focused on some of the sillier aspects of it, like my new style. I’m sure that eventually, I’ll get bored and lax and start wearing socks with my Birkenstocks (I’ve done this, and I do not regret it), but so far it’s been fun to troll online shops and scour the internet for my new threads.

Standard
2018, celebrity, LGBTQ, Politics, social media

AM I A BAD GAY PERSON FOR NOT CARING ABOUT JOY REID’S BLOG POSTS?

I’m young, and I love my computer, so I didn’t come across Joy Reid, an MSNBC host, from her show, A.M. Joy, or guest-hosting on other programs. I discovered her through Twitter, when I noticed that several writers and journalists whose opinions I respect retweeted her. I scrolled through the profile, enjoyed what she had to say, and hit the follow button.

She remained largely out of my mind except for the occasional tweet in my timeline. Her opinions were always valid, sharp when needed, and seemed to be well-researched and reported.

Then, the first story popped up – a Twitter user posted screenshots of blogs using homophobic rhetoric written between 2007 and 2009 on the Reid Report, a now-defunct blog of Joy Reid. I felt disappointed, like “Ugh, someone I liked did something bad.” But I didn’t unfollow her, because I still trusted her political opinion, and expected the story to blow over. There are plenty of journalists who I personally might be annoyed by, but whose reporting proves valuable, so I didn’t give it a second thought.

Until the next story popped up. More screenshots, more homophobia. More crassness.

When I say that this story does not matter, I do not mean, “It does not matter if someone is homophobic.” It does matter; and it matters very much to me. But in the context of everything else going on, I find that I care very little about what Joy Reid said about gay people a decade ago. She does not make policy; she is not in charge of any government programs or bodies. She is not promoting active anti-LGBTQ laws. If she were a lawmaker, or campaigning on a platform of equality, then yeah, it would be good information to know. But she is not. She is a journalist, she had an opinion, she said that opinion. A decade later, that opinion is seen as ugly and inappropriate.

I do not agree with the words she used; I do not agree with her trying to out people, or the way she spoke about Ann Coulter, or Lindsay Graham or Charlie Crist or any of it. I think it was offensive, petty, hurtful and mean-spirited. I think it was a shitty thing to do, even in the social climate in which it was written.

For the record, I also don’t believe Reid’s claim that she was hacked. I think she said those things, and she’s embarrassed now, and because the internet trolls would have a field day if she admitted that. I am not defending her; she was and is an adult who wrote those things, regardless of whatever excuses she’s using now. I think it’s stupid that she’s lying, but I also think this entire thing is stupid.

I also recognize that I, as a white, cisgender, able-bodied queer person, largely have the ability to say, “This story does not matter.” I’m sure it matters to other members of my community, and I do not diminish that, their feelings, or their reactions.

But to lampoon Reid for thoughts she had a decade ago would require us to go back and lampoon every single thing like that. In the early 2000s, most people in the mainstream media were not doing a good job talking about queer issues. Because, frankly, Will & Grace was homophobic – it was femme-shaming and white-centric. Modern Family portrays Mitch and Cam more like platonic roommates than a couple. Golden Girls had a gay cook that mysteriously disappeared after the pilot episode. I will never forget you, Coco (his name was Coco!).

The reason I care about this (and why I’ve spent 700 words saying I don’t care) is that there are queer stories that desperately need to be told. And while I think it’s nice that support has rallied around Reid – no one should be an island – I resent that this still is the story that’s rolling around in everyone’s head. In a world that already prioritizes everything above queerness, there seems to be precious little bandwidth dedicated to covering queer stories. It’s like arguing about the curtains when the house is on fire.

For instance, it’s been a year since news broke that, in Chechnya, gay and bisexual men were being targeted, persecuted and abused. There were stories of concentration camps, luring and violence via social media apps, and many victims are still missing. There has been no significant response from the Russian government, and the leader in Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, denied the allegations by simply stating that there are no gay people in Chechnya. Other than outlets that specifically traffic in queer stories, such as NewNowNext and the Advocate, and papers such as The Guardian, there has not been significant media coverage.

Stateside, there are still seven states with “No Promo Homo” laws on the books – “local or state education laws” that expressly prohibit the “promotion of homosexuality” and, in some cases, “even require that teachers actively portray LGB people in a negative or inaccurate way,” according to GLSEN.

The Human Rights Campaign reported that, in 2018, eight transgender people have already been murdered. Transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by fatal violence. Insider recently reported on the health gaps that the LGBTQ community faces in receiving medical help.

These might seem like separate issues, and you could argue (rightfully) that reporting on Joy Reid’s past blog posts does not mean that we cannot also report on other things affecting the LGBTQ community. And you’d be right, except that that’s not always the case. Too often, we focus on click-driven news, too often we focus on things on little consequence.

What do Joy Reid’s past writings have to do with the very real risks that the queer community is facing today? In reality, very, very little. So why does this continue to be a story? Report on it, lay it all out there, and then move on.


Header source: Vimeo

Standard