Don’t be startled. As you can see, we’ve undergone some changes. We popped in for a little nip, a little tuck, and here we are: ready to roll for some new things here at Queerty. In addition to our daily words of wisdom – if you can call them that – we’ll be delving a little deeper, taking on new topics each month. Thus, we bring you the first installment of “The Narcissist Issue.”
Gay people get a lot of shit for being narcissistic, for loving ourselves a little too much. This comes as no surprise. So many of today’s – and yesterday’s – gay icons have gained recognition for being primped fashion mavens; or, like today’s Morning Goods, Peter Berlin, for flaunting their exceptional beauty. Sure, there are plenty of famous gay people whose fame rests less on their aesthetic and more on their talent, but even they shine with the glow of cosmetic awareness.
But, we wonder, does narcissism have to be negative? Can narcissism be reclaimed, rescued from the muck of an over active ego to take on a more constructive meaning? We certainly think so.
Find out why, after the jump.
Narcissism comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus. Popular knowledge holds Ovid’s version of the Greek myth: the beautiful Narcissus was doomed by Nemesis to fall in love with his reflection after he spurned the lovely nymph, Echo. Eventually he turned into the narcissus flower. Of course, we prefer an older text, which asserts that Narcissus’ punishment stems from his rejection of a string of male suitors. Sure, Narcissus was condemned for his obsession, but had he been someone else, would he have loved himself so much? Judging from the myths, yes.
So much of attraction is comparison, either to one’s self or another. So, too, is repulsion. If you see someone attractive, you may wish you looked like him or her. If you see someone altruistic, perhaps you’ll seek to emulate his or her selfless ways.
While sometimes it may seem that gays are as doomed by self-obsession as Narcissus himself, but, as hokey as it sounds, we too are evolving. That’s an undeniable, international fact.
As communities, gays have an immense amount of potential to steer a new path, a course that stems from as much love of ourselves as a quest for a new social vision. To do so, we must form a new definition of narcissism, one that pulls the word from the sludge of simple self-reflection (and approval) to encompass communal consideration, comparison, emulation, and, yes, a healthy dose of self-love. Here at Queerty, we’ll take a look back and a look forward to arrive at a new vision of narcissism, one that’s more fulfilling than simply pride and arrogance, but a definition we can embrace (much like we’ve embraced once negative words like queer) to guide ourselves and our allies toward new horizons.
So, why are we doing all of this? Because we love you…