Speak Out: On Masculine-Shaming

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Hey, guys! Have you ever been masculine-shamed? We are asking because we talked about feminine-shaming in the LGBT community in the past and we have yet to talk about masculine-shaming.

Just because we hear about feminine-shaming often it doesn’t mean masculine-shaming is nonexistent, right? In fact, when pro wrestler Mike Parrow came out recently he said in an interview, “I learned you can get very much masculine shamed in the gay community as of late, which is really weird, but it happens.”

He also said, “Gay men can be the meanest, cruelest people you’ve ever met in your life. I was ‘fat,’ I was ‘ugly,’ I’m a ‘closet case,’ and at the time I was just looking to understand what’s going on.” Parrow added that his personal experience had “put him further back in the closet than going forward.”

Some netizens were quick to say that masculine-shaming in the LGBT community is a “complete bullshit” because for as long as people can remember, gay men have valued (and quite highly at that) masculinity. Other words associated to masculinity and gay men were “obsessed” and “idolized.”

Results of a survey conducted by Attitude magazine way back in November seem to support this opinion. Said survey found that 71% of their respondents (5,000 in total) have found themselves “actively turned off by a prospective partner” due to their effeminate behavior indicating that indeed, masculinity is perceived greatly in the gay community.

That being said, did Parrow’s statement on masculine-shaming come as a surprise for you or is it something that you also experienced firsthand? If yes, how did masculine-shaming affect your life? What does it mean to be masculine-shamed as a gay man and did it also keep you in the closet the way it did to Parrow?

Thoughts? Share it with us in the comments section below.

There are 28 comments

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  1. Danny

    How do I digest this? There is a large population of gay men that are masculine that have personal preferences of not being socially gay (hanging out in gay bars and clubs, circuit parties, pride events, drag shows, or hanging in LGBT ️‍ designated areas) because they prefer a private-normal serene life. With that approach, I’m not sure if this particular type of gay man is shamed, but maybe they just don’t identify with the effeminate gay men or the socially out gay men, thus maybe they don’t feel as if they fit in with what they perceive as the general gay population. I personally don’t perceive it as being shamed but more of the principle that I was born that everyone may not like me and I may not like everyone… Cheers to the ones that do like me and the great energy out there!

    • Ben

      How do I out this? Seeing someone who I assume is gay making a homophobic statement like “…because they prefer a private-normal serene life” is really sad.

  2. Side Eye

    Personally, I don’t believe masculine-shaming is actually a thing. It’s like when men say someone is being sexist towards them. There is a whole system behind you telling you that your existence is ideal, so if someone says something disparaging about being masculine it will absolutely not have the same effect as a disparaging comment to someone who is more feminine-presenting.

    For example, if someone said that a man “hits like a boy,” it would typically be taken as a positive. The same would likely not be said if someone said “he hits like a girl.” There is no real oppression when it comes to being associated with maleness or masculinity, but femininity is always under fire. Equating masculine-shaming to feminine-shaming is unfair to the gay men who are often under attack because of the way they present themselves.

  3. M

    It’s true the “culture” is very mean spirited in the recent couple decades (I’ve heard it may have been otherwise earlier, like 60’s 70’s). EXTREMELY youth oriented, EXTREMELY fixated on being super-buff, and a certain pretty-boi look (think Bel Ami, young/pretty/buff/hairless). Extremely shallow, it’s very sad.

  4. Derek

    Interesting topic – I would say that I have not personally experienced masculine shaming, but I’ve seen some profiles where this is evident, conversely, I also see feminine shaming in other profiles. I think it’s an interesting phenomenon as one has been practiced out of decades of conditioning to behave in a masculine manner to preserve one’s image in public eye despite having homosexual tendencies. On the other hand, it seems the feminine behaviors seen in modern gay men have evolved out of a changed culture in the past couple of decades. We can speculate all day about the origins of these behaviors, however, mine is but of one observation. Personally, I behave in a masculine manner, but my husband behaves in a feminine manner. I find both equally attractive; I see beauty in a lot of different people and within a variety of behaviors.

  5. Mark

    Nothing to be shamed about if you are masculine! You are a man – masculine and sexy. I don’t get what the shame is. Nothing says a gay man should be feminine. I do not care for femininity in men, isn’t right. Yes, I am gay

  6. Robert

    This is the first I am hearing the term. I am not surprised if it does exist. I can see some gay men, me for example, may be too shy to approach a masculine guy or being intimidated by a guy who appears to be masculine but shaming someone for being confident in their own skin is wrong, no matter who they are. If they don’t interest you as a possible love connection, then walk away without a word. No one losses anything by walking away. Life goes on and both people are happier for the lack of a negative experience.

  7. Mike

    Nah, I’ve been masculine shamed several times. I’m not really selective based on masculine or feminine. I mean if your internal word bank has YAAAAAAASSSSS in it we might not work but other than that be fem. For me it’s about personality and whether or not you’re intellectual or stupid. I’m tall muscular and fit, wear a beard, and have curly hair. I like bears, Cubs, otters. All races.

    I’ve gone on a few dates here and there and my masculinity has been called into question a few times. One guy going as far as saying I “can let it go” cause we are in a safe space. And another was turned off because apparently working on cars and carpentry is too masculine for him. Look I was raised in a marines household, I love to fish, use to hunt all the time. Lifting heavy and drinking beer is my past time hobbys. But at the same time my brother who is 3 years older than me is basically Ru-Paul personified. Realistically from shaming is way more prevalent in the gay community, but that is a bit of masculine shaming. I chalk it up to “some people’s kids man” and go about my day.

  8. Dallas

    Masculine-shaming? In the gay community? I like to believe that is bullshit, and just something they claim happens to them to aim back at everyone else who claims they are the ones who shame everyone else, which I believe 100%. I’ve never in my life heard a single gay person shame someone for being “masculine”. But I can’t tell you how many times a day I see someone who carries that masculine douchebag attitude shame everyone else for not being like them. Get real.

  9. Realistic

    I call BS on this. A brief reason as to why. I work in the retail industry. In the epic center of my cities gay district. 98% of our customers are gay. I’m nor “fem” or “butch”. I consider myself just in the middle. I deal with drag queens, transgender/transexual, “butch”, “Masculine” and “fems”, and any other label we stone upon each other on a daily basis from all over the country. I can tell you, the biggest assholes I’ve had to deal with, are the “butch/masculine” queens who come in thinking they are gods gift to man and that’s how real men should be. Ive had these types of gays come in, completely ignore my offer of help only to walk past me to ask for help from another employee who was more “butch” and their idea of a real man. So I don’t know where these surveys come from, but in my 15 years of being an open gay men who has lived in several of the largest cities in the country, this is crap. I find the most genuine and kind people in the gay community, are the ones who are made minorities by the ones who base someones value on their looks.

  10. Bernard

    I must say the title is very interesting.

    Im 24 but from what I THINK I understand from the older guys that I’ve been with, the Masc and Femme shaming did not exist before we were completely liberated from the judgements of people who live hetronormative lifestyles.Being a millennial, I could personally say Im not experiencing that same spirit from my fellow Mils. The cause of the Gay culture began to become mainstream is the effect of what we see now to be self-loathing individuals who also aren’t being excepted by peers of the same sexual orientation. I think the title is completely ridiculous because “Masc shaming” is only a product of what the gay community has become through the eyes of those who put masculinity on a pedestal. I mean its gotten to the point that guys who claim to be masc go directly after (or “prefer”) straight guys. Its as if being with another gay guy is a passed fad. And god forbid its a Fem guy that would be just taboo. I don’t know..Call me crazy buuuut I think the title should be something like “Speak Out: On The Existence of Masc Infatuation” because that’s all that is ever advertised which does not exactly leave room for pity parties on team masc.

  11. P.A.

    I’m sorry but what a load of crap. “Masculine shaming”…if you read any profile on any website, app, or personal add they all contain some variation of “masculine only” whether it’s worded as “man’s man” or just the flat out “masc only” it’s just a replacement for the almost now unheard “straight acting”. Any kind of shaming is wrong and an expression of insecurity. But to say that masculinity is a cause of shaming in the gay community is ridiculous. I’m sure a bunch of guys will come out of the wood work to say otherwise but I’d be willing to bet those who think they are being shamed for their masculinity are also the same ones that work extremely hard to not have anyone know or suspect that they are gay. At some point I hope that gay men start having the hearts of women, because they seem to at least be able to see below the surface and judge based on the quality of a persons heart rather than some ridiculous idea of outer beauty and mannerisms.

  12. Francis Asissy

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but the underlying problem is a legacy of bitchiness, along with other behaviors that are leftover legacies of the dark past of oppression. Either these are characteristics innate to being gay, or they are being passed down via bars from generation to generation as enshrined culture, which it is not. Like drag, it is not a sign of liberation or freely accepted masculine identity. Some men are naturally feminine, but most are unnaturally so, because they apparently failed to bond with their fathers and grandfathers, and over-identify with their mothers and other female relatives. Being gay can be a barrier to bonding, but it doesn’t have to be, and masculinity, our patriarchy, can be acquired from other male role models. And if you’re an actor or performer, you need to do that, because seeming gay onstage when not called for in a role is a real liablility. We have to learn how to channel our creativity and sensitivity through our masculinity. Just like those macho guys who renovate their Victorian homes themselves, haha.

  13. andy198096

    Not really sure what this means. Most of the gay men I’ve known are neither effeminate nor hyper-masculine. They are just people. This may happen when a guy goes too strongly after someone who is just not attracted.

  14. Throatabuser

    I personally won’t talk to a guy if him seeems too str8/masculine. I feel like he’s going to be too much work and require me to have to put on a facade ( “Butch up” ) to deal with them.

  15. JaysSN

    What homophobic bullshit, but not the least bit surprising. Masculinity is fragile and insecure, so I’m not surprised to hear whining like this. I’d guess he wasn’t sufficiently worshipped by every guy that crossed his path so he threw a tantrum and threatened to take his toys and go home. Fem guys have gotten a hard time from all sides forever and in return started the movement that earned us so many of our rights. Maybe Mike could learn some fortitude from those sissies, or if not, maybe his journey back to the closet wouldn’t be the worst thing for all involved.

  16. iamoiamo


    will there be a discussion on every possible “shaming” bias?

    You are trying to hard to make a victim out of everyone and it will have the counter-effect where people tune out the shaming, discrimination, bias claims.

    It’s right out of the liberal playbook, though no one reads the chapter about taking the narratives beyond reaity into the realm if delusion.

    And if this is actually a phenomenon, then it shows the gay community to be as (or more) discriminatory than the general population of non-gays which is contantly under attack for discrimination, whether real, implied, felt, sensed etc….”well they didnt do anything to me BUT I JUST KNOW THEY DONT ACCEPT ME BECAUSE I’M ______________ ” (insert chosen victim group in blank)
    WTF people toughen up

  17. Kamikapse

    Masculine shaming is a fabrication of some guys to rationalize why they are rejected by some…

    Looking at Parrow’s pics he’s definitely a bear type, which is not everyone’s cup of tea… but I guess it’s easier for him to make the leap and claim he was “masculine shamed”

    Apparently if you’re not everyone’s type these days you must be oppressed…

  18. hardtopftl

    ?? so some insecure (gay?) guy thinks someone is too butch? too muscley? too steroidy? too Tom of Finland-looking? too good doing stereo-typical “man’s work/activities”? too good at team sports (and is the captain of the team?) likes watching sports too much? too military bad-ass? drives a bad-ass truck or muscle car? and he calls you out for being too “more than (him)”? am I even understanding the issue?

    society does have a set of norms, I can see people throwing shame (judging) at someone for being “not enough”, i.e., not meeting that person’s idea of what _____X_______ should be or do….. I guess it is like in high school, the smart kids were nerds, the creative kids were freaks. Making one’s self feel better (trying to) tear someone else down. Mostly a deep down fear of them-selves not measuring up, fear that they are gay. Or maybe in this case, afraid they are too stereotypically gay to “pass” as straight as a hyper-masculine guy…. am I even understanding the issue?

  19. tony

    Gay men are so trippy I’m sure there is truth to that statement you bash bisexuals, fem guys, over weight people, black, Hispanics, Asian, gay republicans, men who are HIV positive anything not consider the norm which is funny cause when it comes to this community nothing is normal

  20. Joe

    While the entire “everything-shaming” fad gets a bit tiresome—men who are traditionally masculine can be both shamed and sought after. Both my partner and I were formally married, athletes, professionals with children and grew up in modest sized communities. In the process of coming out and finding our community, we visited gay population centers. Occasionally we were admonished for our “butch act”, “hyper masculinity,“ etc. Most frequently it seemed to be seemingly intelligent, urban gays who —I believe-had limited interaction with normally masculine men. If you’ve spent your life in urban areas surrounded by a vast gay community—trust me— you don’t know traditional masculinity.
    Most of our experiences have been considerably more positive and welcoming.

  21. Milford

    It’s messed up: I really never gave it much thought until I saw this. I CAN say that I have heard it numerous times “I am so glad you put the moves on me, I had NO idea that you were gay.” One guy went to the extent of shaming in the form of saying ” You should act more gay.”
    &^$* That! I didn’t see it as shaming, I took it as complimentary. For ME mind you. I Feel that that is what I want to be and if I get laid less-sobeit. (I don’t think that most guys would be unhappy with my sexlife if I divided it equally among 6 guys.) Everyone wants ‘special status’. Just look at Hollywood lately. A pat on the butt 30 years ago is sexual harassment now. Come on. Granted there were some that shoulda gone to jail. But the bandwagon has rolled into town-HOP ON! right? We’re becoming a nation of “woe is me- feel sorry for me” The GAY community with all of the hurdles that we have surpassed(Anyone remember being ‘in the closet’?) isn’t immune to this same crap. I thought that we were better in this sense. Maybe I am wrong. Regardless, I’ll still act the way I do- I like me. That’s where you all need to start. No-one can ‘shame you’ if you can say to yourself, “I like myself, I am a good person, and, I deserve to be happy.”

  22. Frizzurd

    I am a guy who nobody can tell is gay without asking me, and I am attracted ONLY to gay acting men. Yet, I am treated like shit because I am not some big buff model dude. Masculinity is definitely put down if it isn’t the “hot” kind. I can’t stand “pride” culture, not because of femininity; but because of lewd public behavior and superficiality.

  23. GCM

    Masculinity shaming exists and is acknowledged in much of the news and academic community and will become more widespread. It comes in the form of toxic masculinity and hatred of heteronormativity. Cause when you ask what form of masculinity is not toxic, either people have no answer because they assume all forms of masculinity to be toxic or answers are behavior associated with femininity. And pushing heteronormativity as a negative concept, that a masculine gay man must have internalized homophobia because if they accepted themselves, they would out loud, flamboyant, etc gay man.

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