The Butch Factor, and where the hell do I fit in?

Hey, don’t answer that!

I’ve never thought I was very butch, but then again, it’s not something I think about often, if at all. Maybe if I did, I’d be more studly, but I digress…. I really enjoyed Christopher Hines’ documentary The Butch Factor, which profiles a wide variety of gay men (and one – at least –  transman) and their feelings about masculinity and what all goes into it, etc. Most importantly, how earlier life situations shaped expectations  – or didn’t.

There were a number of Bay Area interviewees and locations, and I recognized one fellow from the Gold’s Gym SOMA – next to Dolby – where I used to work out when I lived there. There was a nice selection of guys on gay athletic teams – for me at least, a group I don’t hear much from in the gay press or otherwise. Also, a great section on black gay athletes, something I don’t believe I’ve ever seen.

There did seem to be an emphasis on the bear scene as the current pinnacle of a masculine ideal in the community (that is only because we can’t make the Tom of Finland cartoons actually come to life).  I’d love to see someone take on the obesity issue as well, or as a part of it – there were plenty of shots of shirtless bears hanging out and socializing, etc., and I couldn’t help but focus on the unhealthy aspects of these guys being, well, fat. Someone else’s big fat guy is another man’s big beautiful bear. OK. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in Michael Pollan-land, now reading his In Defense of Food as a follow-up to The Omnivore’s Dilemma – but I’m getting off-track.

A thought-provoking and well-made documentary. It’s on netflix. He’s working on something called The Adonis Factor, which is scheduled for this summer. Can’t wait.


~ by jimarnoldla on February 21, 2010.

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