There are many, many problems with the argument (not the least of which is that humans have been having children both in and out of wedlock for as long as marriage has existed, and unmarried parents are perfectly capable of being responsible child-rearers, while married parents are just as capable of being irresponsible). The only way their argument could even begin to make sense was if the laws were changed so that any time unmarried humans get pregnant that they are forced to marry, and if divorce became completely unavailable. But even then it would have big logical holes. One of those being that allowing non-straight people to marry didn’t take marriage away from straights.
This is hardly the only time that fundamentalist religionists have argued that some people must be oppressed because other people are terrible and incapable of self-control. This is why in some countries it is illegal for women to go out in public without clothing that conceals their faces, et cetera. Men, the reasoning goes, are incapable of refraining from randomly raping women if they happen to get a glimpse of a woman’s cheeks or hair, apparently. Similarly, dress codes in schools and the like are are built around restricting girls (seriously, go look at them: the codes for girls are complicated and specific about concealing this and that body part with notes about how far above or below the knee skirts must reach and so forth, while the boys’ rules almost always boil down to: wear clean, mostly untorn clothes) because boys are deemed incapable of refraining from sexually assaulting a girl if they happen to get a glimpse of a girl’s shoulder or knee.
In other words, women and girls must be tightly controlled and restricted because men and boys are terrible people. This is also the source of a lot of the victim-blaming that happens around rape: it’s not the rapist’s fault if the woman was out in public alone, or dressed “that way,” or drunk somewhere, et cetera, et cetera.
This logic shows up in a lot of other policies and practices, and has come to light this week because (among other rightwingers) our Vice President believes it would be immoral to have any female friends, which is also why there are virtually never any women in any significant staff positions under the veep now, nor in any appointed state positions when he was governor and so on. Having women as managers and directors and so forth would necessitate occasionally having one-on-one meetings. There’s also the fact that governors and similar executives are most likely to appoint and promote people they develop friendly relationships with. If a boss believes it’s immoral to be friends with a women, guess what that means about women’s chances for advancement?
This assumption that people who might potentially be attracted to each other can never be in close proximity without supervision is why the churches I was raised in insisted on separating Sunday School classes and Bible studies and similar activities by gender. And it’s the reason that people from such churches get so freaked out about being around gay people, particularly in locker rooms and bathrooms. That meme that defines homophobia as “being afraid gay men will treat you the way you treat women” isn’t a joke.
It’s why fundamentalist communities that claim to be accepting while “disagreeing with the lifestyle” discourage friendships between straight guys and gay men and straight women and lesbians. When you combine that with the fundamentalist belief that sexual orientation isn’t an inherent trait, that means that such communities also discourage friendships between opposite sex straight people and queers. And it’s all subtle and usually not even talked about. But it manifests in lots of ways. In my 20s, for instance (when I still hadn’t come out), I learned that throughout my teen years I had been excluded from some activities and some positions within my church and the evangelical teen choir I was in for all that time because everyone suspected I was gay. These were adults making this decision about a kid without ever talking to me about it. And that’s on top of the bullying and related activities from the kids my own age.
It’s another layer of cruelty. Just like the religious people who claim that they welcome queer people into their church so long as they are celibate, never date, et cetera. You’re welcome as long as you’re lonely with no love in your life.
But all of it comes back to that idea: the reason rightwing leaders (who are always men for supposedly theological reasons) assume that gay men can’t refrain from assaulting other men is because they believe that they, themselves, are incapable of refraining from jumping the bones of anyone they are sexually attracted to if given half a chance. So we can’t use public bathrooms and have to stay out of locker rooms and not work in jobs where we might be around people unsupervised, can’t live in their neighborhoods, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera because they are terrible.
It is beyond stupid. If they’re so bad, they are the ones who should resign and go live like hermits, right?
I was skimming twitter during a break yesterday and saw a string great tweets:
I, being a smart aleck, had to butt in with, “This (queer) nerd boy would buy every Slave Poe action figure I could find! Oops… Did I say that out loud?”
The problem with even well-meaning smart asses throwing in such jokes is that our comments can undermine the serious point that Vivian was originally trying to make about double standards and the male gaze, with some commentary on the small wave of nerd rage that happened when an official Star Wars tie-in novel featured a gay protagonist earlier this year, and similar splash of nerd rage that happened when the trailer came out showing a Stormtrooper pulling off his helmet and revealing black actor under the mask.
So, to be clear: back in Return of the Jedi when they put Leia in that slave costume on a leash when she was taken prisoner by Jabba the Hutt it was a sexist action intended as fan service, and entirely unlike the way any of the three male heroes also taken prisoner in that same sequence were treated. And it made very little sense, internally. Seriously, Jabba is a giant slug, he’s not human, and it makes no sense for an alien (particularly a non-humanoid alien) to find any human body erotically attractive. I’ve seriously seen some clueless fans argue because another alien woman was shown in a similar role in an early scene (when she refuses Jabba’s advances, she’s thrown to the monster in the pit where the entire party takes great glee in watching her die), that this proves Jabba had some sort of fetish for the humanoid female form.
Jabba is fictional. Jabba didn’t make the decision to put either woman in a slave girl costume to be leered at. Human filmmakers made that decision. Male human filmmakers made that decision.
Just as when authors and show-runners claim that they would love to include queer characters, but the right story just hasn’t come to them are either deluding themselves or outright lying (they can make the decision which characters to include in their stories), filmmakers who claim that Slave Leia was because of Jabba’s kinks are simply shoveling BS.
If Jabba had a kink for naked humanoids, there’s no reason it should have been limited to female humanoids.
So if the idea of Luke being the prisoner in a scanty slave costume after Jabba catches him upsets you—if you find yourself constructing arguments that it would be inappropriate because Return of the Jedi wasn’t a gay porn film, and that it’s just not the same as putting Leia in a scanty outfit—you’ve just stumbled across a great big internalized misogynist double-standard. Congratulations!
For the record, when I was 22 years old sitting in that dark theatre after waiting in line for 10 hours to see Return of the Jedi and the first scene with the other alien woman on a leash in a scanty costume appeared on the screen, my first thoughts were, “Why would Jabba put a woman from another species in that costume? Why would whatever species she is fetishize barely concealed breasts just because humans do?” Not that I was necessarily that enlightened back then. I recognize that even as a deeply closeted queer guy, I didn’t see the costume the same way 90-some percent of the other guys in that crowded theatre were. But that’s the thing, without hormones clouding my vision, I could see the incongruity for what it was.
So I hope my comment didn’t detract from the message of the original tweet. Besides, I wasn’t joking. I’ve already said publicly that I am searching for the Finn and Poe Honeymoon Suite Playset, among other things. When a friend pointed out that there was a place taking orders for a Poe Dameron body pillow I have to admit I felt immediate temptation. If there is a Slave Poe scene in one of the sequels, and if they made action figures of him in that costume, I’d buy it so fast!
I’m not even sure where to begin. Pastor Manning’s most recently posted youtube video explains how NASA’s Voyager spacecraft proves that homos are perverts, with a long digressive rant about rectums. Pastor Driscoll’s supporters have been trying to distance themselves from recently unearthed postings on the church’s forums in which Driscoll explained that god created each woman as a special home for a particular penis.
You can’t make this crazy stuff up!