A Healthy Life isn’t racist: Another gratuitous accusation of racism against the gay community by the LGBTQXYX.
The is the article in Medium by Jeffry J. Lovannone recently published. At end of this page is the Internet Archived link to this essay. Also, since one of the key points supporting Lovannone’s article is a journal for which questions regarding the credibility of the journal can be raised, Lovannone might decide to edit his article.
White Gay Men, Anti-Racism, and Diet Culture
If white gay men want to be anti-racist, they need to dismantle diet culture.
I have generally decided not to critique essays on Medium because Medium seems to be the repository of cranks and people who don’t have impact beyond their Medium column. (Yes, I am on Medium, but I am thinking of moving.)
Lovannone is however, in the academic world of “Queer Studies.” He is a good example how an academic can exploit the serious issues of racism in American society to empower some pet peeve a gay person has against gay society or some repressive agenda.
Lovannone start his essay discussing the issues of police violence against African Americans mentioning George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the issues of violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
He notes that:
White gay men, like many others, took to social media to profess their support of Black Lives Matter and their commitment to anti-racism by posting and retweeting anti-racist content, or adding #BLM to their profiles.
Lovannone points out that this in itself isn’t sufficient to address the issues of race in American society. No one who is serious about changing American culture things that hash tags or social media posting alone will by themselves be a substantial program to make change. Not doubt there are people who might believe so, but this would not be a specifically gay phenomenon among white people, though Lovannone is suggesting that it might be. He doesn’t make an effort to be clear on this.
Then Lovannone states:
Feminists of all identities who are committed to anti-racist work have increasingly called out Western diet culture as a fundamentally racist system of beliefs. Similar critiques are rarely present among white gay men. If white gay men are truly committed to practicing anti-racism, then they must also work to dismantle diet culture.
Lovannone then quotes Christy Harrison to assert that “diet culture” is about “demonizing foods and good groups” and that it “oppresses people.”
The following is the link to her book.
Book - Christy Harrison - Intuitive Eating Dietitian, Anti-Diet Author, & Health at Every Size…
Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating 68 percent of Americans have dieted at…
Now there are those, as in any activity, over do stuff, and fad diets are certainly ridiculous. However, there is a difference in that and watching what you eat and getting exercise. There is a tatic in which the extreme of some group is used to characterize the entire group. It is called using stereotypes.
Lovannone claims that “diet culture,” whatever that might be is a central part of gay culture. Though whether is its or not I think can be questioned. Certainly gay men tend to watch their weight more, are careful about what they eat, have more interest in food preparation, and often want to look good to attrack sexually desirable men.
What really shows Lovannone’s disconnect from the reality of being a gay man versus straight men is the following sentence.
Because dieting is primarily associated with women and femininity, gay male culture cloaks diet culture within a language of muscularity and fitness as a path to self-actualization.
The reason gay men and women both diet is that they both comprehend that they can be objects of sexual desire. Straight men generally didn’t, though this is now changing and we have discussions of “metrosexuals” because straight men in urban environments have realized that they can and wish to be objects of sexual desire. Lovannone is asserting that gay men justify dieting in a certain way because of not wanting to be like women, that is they justify diety because they are misogynists. What essay of the LGBTQXYZ would be complete with without this accusation. The old accusation that gay men were women haters is revived.
Gay men generally want to watch their weight and be in shape to get laid by hot men. Whether that is what Lovannone considers self-actualization I don’t know.
Lovannone after asserting that “diet culture” is central to gay male culture, and that gay men conceptualize the reasons for dieting in a certain way because of misogyny he makes this statement in bold letters.
These norms are also rooted in anti-Black racism.
Before getting into how this is racist Lovannone brings up the rather dubious, in my opinion, study by a National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) that asserts that gay men are plagued by eating disorders. This study is based on a small online sample of 64 “homosexual men.” The following is the citation for the article. Examination proves to be very revealing.
This article was published in the International Journal of Men’s Health in the above citation. However, the link given for the article leads to a 404 error.
One divided by 64 is 0.015625 or 1.5% rounded off. Also, Lavannone doesn’t give the actual percentage of gay men supposed to have this problem. We get relative percentages. If the percentage of the comparison group is 1%, then having this sample having just three people with an eating disorder would mean (3 X 1.5 = 4.5) would make the relative percentage 4.5 times more. I am going to have to get the numbers. The journal is no longer published.
It would be interesting to see if it has been replicated or any study has been done with interviews. I question that online sampling might be skewed.
What is interesting and very revealing is that Lovannone reports what the NEDA reports, that eating disorders are over represented in gay men, but we aren’t give a frequency that this occurs. If this eating disorder is one 1 out of 10,000 with the general public, the fact that it is 8 out of 10,000 for gay men is not desirable, but it isn’t catastrophic or a raging plague either, though Lovannone does his best to make it seem that this is a real issue plaguing the gay community.
Lovannone then asserts that gay men diet and exercise because of homophobia, that gay men work out because of hetrosexism so they aren’t seen as feminine. Again, it doesn’t occur to Lovannone that gay men realize that they can be objects of sexual desire and wish to be objects of sexual desire. Gay men exercise and watch what they eat because they don’t buy into patriarchial ideas and conceptualize themselves outside of the regular norms of society.
So after characterizing “diet culture” as being pathologically plaguing gay men and driven by homophobia Lovannone then has a section titled, “Diet Culture as White Supremacy.”
This claim by Lovannone is based on some racist ideas that some European imperialists had about non-white people in the colonies of these Empires.
However, Lovannone doesn’t establish that there is a linkage between so-called gay “diet culture” and these racist myths of the past.
One observation is that the Japanese are generally thin and obesity among Japanese has become a problem as American fast food has been introduced into their society. Were the thin Japanese filled with white supremacy? Eating habits have many origins. Lovannone is just pulling stuff out of the air.
Also, watching what you eat and working out at the gym is a global phenomenon in gay cultures around the world. Are Taiwanese gays who watch what they eat and work out at the gym being influenced by white supreamcy. Are Thai gays? Are Korean gays? Are gays in Latin Ameria or the Indian subcontinent acting out white supremacy when they watch what they eat and work out at the gym?
In a multipolar world we live in and with easy access to information this would be an obvious question to ask. The ethnocentricity of Lovannone is astounding. Of course this information wouldn’t fit into Lovannone’s Calvinist condemnation of the gay community so the question isn’t asked.
A counterfactual question can be asked.
If dieting was for men was related to racist ideas we would expect that “diet culture” wouldn’t be that of just gay men, but all white men, whether straight or gay. Also, we would expect that it would be prevalent among white supremacists.
One obvious observation that can be made about white supremacist in America by even the most casual observer is that they don’t have a “diet-culture,” and are often overweight, and often appreciably so, much like former president Donald Trump.
Is former president Barack Obama being in shape driven by white supremacy?
Also, many African Americans work to end food deserts and establish community gardens to have healthier eating for the African American community in disadvantaged areas. Are they driven by colonial white supremacist ideas? Where I live we have multiple vegan restaurants run by African Americans. Are they driven by white supremacist ideas?
Lovannone then goes on a lengthy discussion about the issues of racism in American society. I don’t think sensible person denies that there are serious issues concerning race in society, but since Lovannone hasn’t established a linkage between race and so-called “diet culture” it isn’t relevant. Perhaps the strategy is to discuss the problem of racism in American society such that it will be vaguely connected to so-called “diet culture.”
I encourage white gay men to ask themselves the following questions: If the so-called “fitness” practices you engage in did not result in increased social and sexual acceptance within the gay community, would they still be of interest to you? In other words, are you really pursuing health and fitness, or are you pursuing acceptance within a system that values certain bodies — and lives — over others? And what oppressive beliefs and institutions are you reinforcing through this pursuit?
Let me answer Lovannone here. Gay men do like the health benefits, but they also want to be hot to get laid. It is a sexual liberation culture. As much as you would like to stigmatize it, that is what it is.
Are there issues with this sub-culture in the gay community, yes, there are, but racism isn’t one of them. There are excesses as in any human activity.
Lovannone also talks two ways on this issue. Realizing that he might be seen as dictating what people do with their own bodies he makes the following self-contradictory statement:
Diet culture is a collection of racist, sexist, heteronormative, classist, and ableist ideas. With this said, we should not shame anyone who has, or wants to, lose weight, exercise, or alter their body. Our bodies are, or should ideally be, our own to do with as we wish.
Lovannone has this long, long essay about how watching what you eat and excercising to look good is racist evil, etc., but then says, “Our bodies are, or should ideally be, our own to do with as we wish.” Which is it Lovannone?
Maybe some gay men “wish” to look hot to meet hot men and are willing to expend some effort to do so. It might not be what other gay men want to do, but it is their bodies to do with as they wish.
Gay culture can be very much disregarding of the social and status hierarchies of straight society, and have their own. You might have a graduate degree, own a business, or have a high income and the other objects or elements of status in straight society. But once you go to a bar you might find that that really doesn’t count and the hot guy dancing on the floor, who you desire, doesn’t give a damn.
There are gays who get upset by this. However, there are multiple venues and channels where gay men can meet gay men and if the gay club doesn’t meet your needs you can pursue meeting people in these other channels. Gay clubs for some people are not good venues. Also, there are a variety of gay clubs for different groups where it isn’t so focused on sexual desire.
Also, the clubs are not the meat markets that some alienated gays would like to assert. Personality does count to some degree. Meeting people is always a choosing between multiple factors for different purposes.
The thing though is in some cases the alienated don’t want to use these other channels, they do want the hot guy on the dance floor and when they realize that they are unlikely to get the interest of that hot guy, that their status outside the bar doesn’t mean anything in the club, they lash out at the gay community. This should be viewed as the incel ideology it is.
In other cases there is just a phobia about sex.
It could be unresolved sex negatism. Or intoxication with being self-righteous.
Don’t forget also American Puritanical elements that worry that someone somewhere is having a good time.
I don’t know what Lovannone’s particular issue, but he is alienated from the gay community and these are serious and unfounded attacks on the gay community.
There are issues of racism in the gay community and they should be address. Lovannone in his exploitation of the issue of racism in society undermines the crediblity of anti-racist activities in the gay community. Lovannone enables dismissal of complaints of racism as being irrational or unreasonable.
What is of concern of the gay community is that these attacks on the gay community by persons such are Lovannone are not rejected by the LGBTQXYZ establishment.
INTERNET ARCHIVE LINK TO LOVANNONE’S ESSAY
White Gay Men, Anti-Racism, and Diet Culture
If white gay men want to be anti-racist, they need to dismantle diet culture.
CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO MOBILIZE AGAINST THE REPRESSION OF THE GAY COMMUNITY