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.

However, 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.

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.”
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2018, feminism

Man to Man: What Men Can Do

In the aftermath of the 2018 Golden Globes, where women (verbally and sartorially) expressed their anger, hope and sadness surrounding the #MeToo campaign and the Time’s Up fund, there was a lot of criticism leveled at the male celebrities who, besides wearing “Time’s Up” pins, were noticeably silent.

Some men offered the explanation that they wanted to give the platform to women; they did not want to overshadow women; they did not want to mansplain. But what men don’t understand is that they, we, can use our various platforms to educate and call out other men to be better friends, allies, lovers and peers. We cannot, and should not, expect women to change an entire culture single-handedly.

So here are some things that I, as a man, think other men can do to express support.

1). If you hear something, say something:

Harassment takes a lot of forms. It can be sexual, workplace, verbal, nonverbal. It doesn’t even have to take place in front of women. If you’re with your male friends, and they’re speaking inappropriately, condescendingly or rudely about a woman or girl, say something. We have access to spaces that women sometimes don’t, and, unfortunately, we can have undue influence over other men simply because of our gender. So if you hear something inappropriate, your silence is a sin of omission. It doesn’t matter if you did not say anything. By saying nothing, you’re cosigning their action.

2). Listen:

Men are born with such levels of privilege that we are often unaware of how much it plays into our everyday life. If a woman, person of color or gender-nonconforming person tells you something, just listen. You don’t have to fully understand why it’s upsetting, but you have to acknowledge that it’s upsetting to them. There are certain things I’ve experienced as a queer person that, when complaining to heterosexual friends, didn’t seem to cross that boundary. Don’t minimize or attempt to explain away. Just because it doesn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen at all.

3). Seek consent:

This applies in a major way to sex. Seek constant, enthusiastic consent. Consent is not a one-and-done thing; keep asking, keep making sure that your partner is actively consenting to whatever you’re doing.

4). Understand your own language:

This in particular can be applied to gay men, and especially white gay men. We are oftentimes guilty of being misogynistic towards women. It might fall under the radar or be explained away by “cattiness” or “sass.” But being gay does not give you a pass to demean, disrespect or condescend women. Any man calling a woman a “bitch,” “slut,” or “cunt” is being misogynist, regardless of his sexuality.

5). Don’t cosign gendered behavior:

It’s easy to fall into gender tropes, and to pass those along to children can be incredibly damaging. It might be as small as complimenting a little girl on her clothing, but saying how “tough” a little boy is. Avoid romanticizing kids (i.e. “Is that your boyfriend/girlfriend?”). They’re kids, dude. Allow boys to be vulnerable; let them express their emotions. If we teach boys to suppress their emotions, say that being emotional is feminizing, or urge them to be “big boys,” what we’re really saying is, “You don’t deserve to have emotions.” That pain, sadness and anger comes out regardless, and can be leveraged against women and girls.

6). Promote women:

Look at your Twitter timeline. Is it all men? Is it all white? Starting small, like following people of different genders, races, socioeconomic statuses and political affiliations, can fundamentally change the way you think by exposing you to different perspectives. Read the work of women; retweet them; highlight them amongst friends.

7). Confront your own thinking:

There was a time when I realized that I was uncomfortable at the sight of my female friend’s nipples poking through her shirt. I ignored it for a while, until it came up in conversation and we talked about it. Even as you actively try to be feminist, you grew up in a society that suppresses female sexuality. It’s okay; we all did. Understanding why things make you uncomfortable does not make you a bad person. It means accepting that we all have been damaged by our upbringings; it means that, once recognized, we can change our thinking. Try to understand why you think something; analyze whether that’s valid or not; adapt accordingly.

Understand that, consciously or not, you have probably participated in harassment of women. Understand that, and work to change it.

I’m ending with the closing paragraph of an article Roxane Gay, a celebrated feminist, author, writer, and social commentator, wrote for the New York Times on October 19, 2017:

“Men can start putting in some of the work women have long done in offering testimony. They can come forward and say “me too” while sharing how they have hurt women in ways great and small…It’s time for men to start answering for themselves because women cannot possibly solve this problem they had no hand in creating.”


Below is a list of women that I follow on Twitter whose work, opinions and writing inspires me, challenges me and calls to me. If there is a woman who you think I should be following, please let me know!

Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for the New York Times

Roxane Gay, professor, writer, author

Patti Harrison, comedian

Janet Mock, writer, producer, activist

Evette Dionne, writer, editor

Parker Molloy, writer

Ashley Nicole Black, comedian, television correspondent

Celeste Yim, comedian

Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor for Washington Post

Ijeoma Oluo, Editor-at-Large of The Establishment

Kamala Harris, U.S. Senator

Erin Gibson, writer, comedian, podcaster

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LGBTQ, Pride 2017

PRIDE and PREJUDICE: BOOBS

(This is the second most-creative Pride and Prejudice pun I’ve made. The first one was a concept for a Teresa Giudice spin-off show entitled Pride and Pregiudice).


I saw boobs at Pride, and I need to be chill about it.

I wore a Golden Girls t-shirt to Pride this year; it got a lot of positive attention and led to me screaming, “OLD NAVY” in a lot of public places. The doorman of my friend’s apartment building confided in me that his favorite was Blanche (mine as well); a woman whose path I crossed in the street screamed at me and pointed to her own Golden Girls t-shirt, which she had cut into a cuter shape. We screamed together, hugged briefly and then went our separate ways.

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