As part of my weekly penance I endeavour to read at least half as many articles from left-wing publications as from right-wing ones.
After Brexit and Trump, many of the talking heads warned us about a group of right wingers living in their own echo chambers surviving on a diet of Breitbart and the Daily Mail. This, of course, was a gross caricature of people seeking a bit of refuge from the BBC, CNN or any mainstream comedy show implying every five minutes that they were a Nazi. Nonetheless it is important to read the opposition in order to hone your own arguments, perhaps even to be persuaded by some of theirs or more often than not to have a good laugh.
On Wednesday morning I logged onto the New Statesman website to be greeted with its most viewed article by a journalist called Louis Staples with the headline: “Why gay men love this photo of Prince George looking fabulous”, followed by the explanatory subheading, ‘It’s not about sexuality, but resisting repressive ideas about what masculinity should be’.
Both the article and photograph can be viewed here. The photograph shows the prince wearing an expression of awe and delight having been placed in the front seat of a helicopter. An expression that any young boy (and indeed most men) would make if given the chance to play near the controls of any piece of heavy machinery. An image that could unite both monarchists and republicans under the banner that the photo was indeed cute, a warm innocent image that one would think could in no way have any sort of political connotations at all.
WRONG. This is after all 2017. Mr Staples’s article remarked that:
“As a man who was visibly gay from a young age, the distinctly feminine image of George smiling as he delicately places his hands on his face instantly struck a chord with me” before entering the caveat that, “I also understand that speculating about a child’s future sexual orientation, especially from one photograph, has potential to cause them distress”.
He goes on to say the reaction to the photo among the gay community, “isn’t really about sexuality” but rather it reminds him (and other gay people), “of those precious years in early childhood when I didn’t know I was supposed to be manly”.
Well saying that you are not doing something isn’t the same as not doing it. Despite what he says, Mr Staples is labelling the prince by drawing parallels between his young self who he describes as, “effeminate” and “visibly gay” and the prince’s pose, a pose the author terms “feminine” and by his own logic would be a sign of being, “visibly gay.”
Moreover, there is a gaping hole in the logic of the article, Mr Staples laments the fact boys are told to like, “boy things” and celebrates the Prince’s “feminine” pose. Now firstly his pose could only be termed feminine or masculine by somebody who seeks to foist his agenda on every area of life, having been corrupted by identity politics. Only somebody possessing a Marxist-like fervour for ideology could draw such wild conclusions from something so innocent. Secondly, the prince’s facial expression, which is merely one of delight, was brought about because he was standing in a helicopter, a machine that could easily be placed under the label of, “boys stuff”.
Rather humorously, Mr Staples does not realise he has defeated his own argument; he comments that the prince is at an age where he hasn’t been forced to be manly by a “heteronormative world.” Yet the prince’s face is filled with pure delight at having been allowed to play in a, “manly” piece of heavy machinery. Thus he is acting (to use the stupid made up language of the postmodernists) heteronormatvely without having been forced by the heteronormative world. In plain English, the little prince is showing the social constructivist narrative for the BS it is.
Towards the end of the article, Mr Staple (making it about sexuality, something he initially stated the article wasn’t about) states that: “People expressing outrage at any comparisons between this image and growing up gay should remember that projecting heterosexuality on to a child is also sexualising them.”
He then proceeds to warn us that, “if you are outraged at the possibility that the future king could perhaps be gay, but you are happy to assume your son or nephew is heterosexual, you should probably examine why that is.”
To answer his question most people probably assume their son is heterosexual because there is a 93.7 per cent chance (according to the Office of National Statistics) that he is heterosexual. Thus only a 6.3 per cent chance he is not. So No, “projecting heterosexuality on to a child” is not sexualising them, it is making a fairly safe assumption, an assumption that does not even register with most normal people, because most normal people don’t spend their time thinking about their child’s or any child’s sexuality.
Projecting homosexuality or effeminacy onto a child merely because they strike a certain pose, on the other hand, is sexualising them and is creepy.