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Jay Leno’s “Manliness” Doesn’t Measure Up

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Lil’ gay boys have it rough.

A survey out of England indicates that young men face more homophobic bullying than their female peers. This should come as no surprise. As musician Quentin Harris suggested this morning, there’s more pressure on men not to seem weak.

Yes, he was talking about the hip-hop scene, but we say that’s a pretty universal rule: men are meant to act like men, and those who don’t will face the consequences. Lawrence King’s widely covered murder perfectly highlighted the perpetual assault on feminine men.

What a perfect time, then, for homo hip-hop artist, Q-Boy, to come out against bullying. And, on an even bigger scale, the uproar against Jay Leno.

Q-Boy traveled to British schools this week to speak out against schoolyard taunts, saying:

When being bullied as a teenager never did I imagine it would play such an important part of my dream career of being a performer. It feels good to turn my unhappy experience into something positive and hopefully help other people going through similar experiences.

Homophobia doesn’t just affect those who are gay or perceived to be gay, it affects all of us and it is a problem we all need to help resolve. In the end, every one of us strives to live in a society which is happy and accepting of one another.

Real men – and women – in the bullying battle are the ones who stand up for the little guy. It may seem banal, but Q-Boy’s remarks remind us of an older, oft-quoted statement from Martin Luther King, Jr: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”


Kids aren’t the only ones picked on the lavender set. Comedian Jay Leno caused a stir last month when he asked actor Ryan Phillippe, who played gay on As The World Turns One Life To Live, to give the camera his “gayest look.” (See video above.)

Avenue Q creator Jeff Whitty retaliated by giving Leno his own gayest look: the middle finger. Whitty’s wry response has since spawned a website, My Gayest Look, from which we’ve selected a few of our favorites and included in a gallery below. Leno’s spokes folk offered People no comment.

Sure, Leno wasn’t bullying a gay, but his flippancy sends the same pejorative message as any taunt. It seems to us that the people “speaking out” against Leno are far more “manly” than the comedian, which may explain his motorcycle hobby.

Update: Leno issued a half-assed apology. Via People: “In talking about Ryan’s first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn’t mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say, and I apologize.”

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By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Apr 1, 2008
Tagged: , , , , , , ,

  • 11 Comments
    • Jack
      Jack

      Phillipe played “Gay Teen Billy” on One Life to Live, not ATWT.

      Apr 1, 2008 at 3:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blayne
      blayne

      I thought Leno’s piece was in terrible taste. I don’t think he meant it that way, but it just goes to show that gay insults and innuendos are more than tolerated, they are commonplace. Jay made it sound like Ryan should be embarrassed for his past gay role and apparently there is a “gay look” that we should all be aware of, and that is very disturbing indeed.

      Apr 1, 2008 at 4:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FLAMER H8ER
      FLAMER H8ER

      well i agree…men shud act like men NOT fucking pansy little fruits. its sickening that the gay community brain washes these young gay boys into acting like girls and the rest of us get hated for it.

      Apr 1, 2008 at 7:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blayne
      blayne

      Flamer H8er, I think you misunderstood what I was saying. When I said, “apparently there is a ‘gay look’ that we should all be aware of, and that is very disturbing indeed,” I was suggesting that we are a diverse community and that there isn’t a specific “gay look.” We are a very diverse community, and it was disturbing that Leno thought Ryan could recreate such a “look,” almost as disturbing as your comments.

      Apr 1, 2008 at 7:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cindy
      Cindy

      You really believe men are under more pressure to not appear weak than women are under pressure to be skinny, pretty little feminine things? The idea that aggressive bullying happening from men isn’t an indicator of more pressure for men, but a different kind of response to men that don’t conform. Women act out differently. I believe the pressure is equal to both men and women to conform to societal standards. You’all get bullied, and we get anorexia or any number of indicators (boob jobs, nose jobs, etc.) of the pressure on women to conform.

      Apr 1, 2008 at 9:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phoenix (the nancy boy, not the Pale one)
      Phoenix (the nancy boy, not the Pale one)

      Oy, Flamer H8er, who do you think got the gay civil rights movement started? It wasn’t chicken-shit, I-wan’t-people-to-think-I’m-normal-and-like-me guys like you. It was Trannies, baby doll. Google Stonewall Riots and you’ll see who had the balls then and who has the balls now. It was the ‘ladies’! I wear what I want, when I want, and you can kiss my pansy, geeky former goth-boi arse if you don’t like it. Guys who try to be too ‘normal’ so straights like them are just a modern form of closet case.

      p.s. I may be a ‘fruit’, but I’m also the ‘butch-est’ guy I know. Comes from being the youngest in a large family of hell-raising hyenas. You don’t survive by being a ‘wuss’, even if you are short and look like a girl.

      Apr 1, 2008 at 9:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • emma
      emma

      He did his time. He didn’t make a big issue out of it. My friends on (intimatemingle.com) love him very much. It is a niche interracial dating service

      Apr 2, 2008 at 2:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      While I don’t watch those T.V. shows much at all, it seems to me that whether or not Leno was homophobic depends on whether or not he serious y wanted a “gay” look. G
      Given what I think is Lenos style, he was probably asking a question that couldn’t be answered: he might have been putting Phillippe on! nothing homophobic in that.

      I can’t see him wanting a serious response: he’s not that stupid.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      I suppose if he was sucking someone off.

      Apr 2, 2008 at 1:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QBoy
      QBoy

      Thank you for your support. x.

      Peace.

      Q.x.

      Apr 11, 2008 at 1:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QBoy
      QBoy

      P.S. I understand the seriousness of your point, Jay Leno is not being hateful towards gay people but using homosexuality as a way to belittle and undermine Ryan. He obviously thinks that being gay is something to be laughed at, embarrassed about and makes you are target, which is a shame. The good thing to come out of all this is I have always found Ryan Phillipe attractive to the point of husband material and had Jay never said what he did I may have never seen that clip, heh heh! :-)

      Apr 11, 2008 at 2:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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