04 March 2007

Gays should support censorship, says Andy Ho

The Straits Times writer strains to make a case why gay men should support the ban on Leslie Kee's book SuperStars. Full essay.


Jacob said...

"The third of Ho's paragraphs that I quote here is possibly difficult for many readers to understand. You'd likely ask how he drew such tenuous connections...

The best I can make of his logic was that gay men feel so debilitated by the "impossible" standards of gay porn, that they end up supporting the superior status of straight males. There isn't a shred of evidence for such an assertion."

I think you missed Andy's logic entirely, and had you picked up on his not-so-subtle insinuations I bet your article would be much more strongly-worded.

In essence, Andy was operating under the assumption that gay = effeminate/subordinate and straight = masculine/dominant. This insult comes out very blatantly in this sentence:

"Try to become like the straight and dominant men portrayed -- whom society says you have really never been -- or be the effeminate subordinates you are, whom 'real men' like those in these pictures use and cast away."

While he tries to disguise this under the cover of "what society says", you can see plainly that it is plainly his own opinion that gays are effeminate subordinates to be used and thrown away by "real men".

When viewed in this light, the meaning of the following paragraph becomes clear:

"Gay porn says to gays that they are less relevant in society and not entitled to equal respect because they are less male. It supports a system of inequality where men trump women and straight men trump gay men."

Essentially Andy's logic is that since gay porn depicts straight, masculine men with perfect bodies, gay men, when viewing these pictures, would feel inadequate in comparison, not only because of their inferior bodies, but because such pictures promote the ideal of the masculine male (which gays are not).

YCK said...

K. Bhavani said of the contents mr brown's last column in Today:

They are polemics dressed up as analysis, ... His piece is calculated to encourage cynicism and despondency, which can only make things worse, not better, for those he professes to sympathise with.

If applicable to Andy Ho, maybe he does symapthize with the gay community. Yeah right!

Anonymous said...

The Straights Times indeed. I agree with what Jacob has said.

The assumption that being gay automatically equates to being effeminate personally insults me.

The fact that homosexuality continues to be forced into the underground by the vicious, judgmental and unthinking society we have in Singapore does nothing but aggravate the problem. Historically, it is a fact that our minority has been marginalized worldwide, and forced into underground, rebellious behavior. Mr. Ho's article certainly has achieved a similar effect - in my humble opinion as a gay man - that his irresponsible article continues the incorrect and insulting stereotype that us gays are all flaming flamboyant faggots.

Far from sparking a debate or some kind of intellectual discussion of the homosexuality issue in Singapore, Mr. Ho's article has done nothing but reinforce my personal resolve to find a community that will allow me to live my life in an open, caring, and most importantly, honest fashion.

The way things continue to pan out in Singapore - with the government controlled media still continuing to not only refuse to address our civil and moral rights - but seem to continue to actively repress our minority - evidenced by these irresponsibly published subtle, damning and judgmental articles - does encourage me to look elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Love your last paragraphs Andy Ho's incoherent analogy.

Stick to reporting on scientific facts, Andy! Logical thinking is beyond you.

Anonymous said...

In your article, you mused:

To that, some would say: well, since porn doesn't serve any positive good, even for adults, why not ban it altogether... for the sake of the children?

To those who subscribed to this line of thinking: think video streaming!

If it were not for the porn industry, would we be getting the kind of advancement in this technology?

Anonymous said...

Ah, great! A (presumably) straight man telling gays how they should think. Andy Ho would do better to examine his own hang ups about the male body before attempting to speak for society.

Anonymous said...

what caught my attention was he mentioned that if Aaron Kwok's picture was doctored, then Leslie Kee was less than honest. And I read your previous article of how TCS censored the lesbian marriage comments in the oscar award, and how the Chua sisters censored PM Lee comments about fixing the opposition and I smiled!

Anonymous said...

Dinosaurs are not extinct. Evidence? They can be found in the employment of the 147th, e.g. andy ho, jenadas devan, amongst others. Don't bother reading this two of seriously questionable intellect.

ben said...

Thanks Alex. Sometimes you read ST and you really cannot believe what your eyes are looking at. This was one of those times. Ho's piece has to be up there as one of the most weirdly deranged bits of 'wrong-thinking' they've published in recent years...

Anonymous said...

Freedom is a good, a very important good. Respecting others' rights to do what they want is a social good. Giving space to creativity, even when no material benefit can be observed, is a civilisational good.

This part I do not agree with. If I support killing Malays, and I express my opinions, should I still be respected for my right to freedom of speech? What if I were able to sway the majority of the population to my views, and actually pass a few laws to limit propagation of the Malays?

Anonymous said...

First off, I cannot believe a senior writer of the ST, Andy Ho could think this way, or even put it in writing. Ho's writing is dreadful. He writes to 'show off his English'.
All said...Ho's thought process of gays supporting a ban on gay porn is illogical???
So, the thought process is that straight men should think of banning regular porn, of men n women???
C'mon Andy Ho, can't you think of something worth better to write?

And btw- 'What does Ho know about gays and their lifestyles, and what they want and don't want?'

Anonymous said...

I agree that calling the piece of work 'porn' has political implications (political as in it involves the issue of power).
On the broader issue of whether porn should be available as it could be considered an issue of the freedom of speech, i can only say that i am divided. Having the freedom to speak is inextricably linked to what is spoken. And we are still discussing who should have the authority to decide on that.
As for the disjointed argument leading on to Ho's stand that gay porn marginalises gay people further, we need to look at how magazines targeting women - which are not called porn by anyone - leads to an unhealthy body image for women. Feminists have constantly tried to hammer home the point that the beauty industry imposes unrealistic expectations on women and the extent of this damage to their self-esteem. Should we therefore ban magazines where these stick-thin, perfectly-chiselled supermodels are featured?

Wolfgang said...

This is because gay porn promotes an illusion of gay males as young, muscular, good-looking and able-bodied.

Fed a diet of stereotypical images of perfectly buffed men with large penises, gays may develop unrealistic expectations about their own bodies.

One question I'd like to ask (young, muscular, good-looking and able-bodied... buffed men with large penises...), how does he know all this? Has Mr. Ho been watching gay porn? I mean what straight man would watch gay porn let alone take note of what type of men gay porn has.

Anonymous said...

Is there some international most-incoherent-piece-of-crap-published-in-a-national-broadsheet award we can nominate Andy Ho's article for? He'd face some strong competition from his colleagues, though.

Anonymous said...

Qn: How does one tell the difference between straight porn and gay porn anyway?

Anonymous said...

Why bother with Andy Ho. Never really read nor understood his columns. We should not even seriously read the Straits Times


Anonymous said...

"Qn: How does one tell the difference between straight porn and gay porn anyway?"

Good point, is it gay porn because the photographer is said to be gay? Since the male models were photographed on their own, can't it be argued that the pics are meant to be for (straight) women? And if so, said women will have unrealistic expectations of their male partners to have buff bodies and large penises? By the same token, the female bodies with large breasts will also cause straight men to have unrealistic expectations of their female partners. Gee, let's just only allow women and men to be photographed in loose tunics, why don't we? If anyone expects their potential partner to look like Bradgelina, then good luck to them. Or shall we blame Hollywood for that?

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

To anonymous, 5 March 22:11 -

It is obvious to those who have read Yawning Bread before that when speak of freedom, it is to the extent of not causing harm (note: harm, not offence) to others. While you have rightly pointed out that I have not dotted my I's and crossed my T's in making my statement, I think the question your comment posed was why you would wish to exaggerate the scenario to killing Malays? I think we need to be careful in how we write.

charles said...

In Lebanon, there was a campaign called. "I Love Life".

Maybe, in Singapore, there can be one misappropriately titled, "We Love Porn"

Anonymous said...

That article by Andy Ho is so utterly absurd that I dismissed it instantly - any further thoughts on it is an affront to my intellect. The only use for it is as toilet paper.

I'm writing this not because I have anything to say to YB or to Alex, but merely because I'm sure Andy Ho will be reading. Just as he had surely read YB before he wrote his article, he will be back to look for honest reaction to his article that he won't get elsewhere. So to Andy - a big Thank You for that sheet of toilet paper!

Robert L (shaking his head)


But I do find YB's analysis worth reading. Here's a part that interests me - YB said:

"If there is any effect on straight males at all, I would say it's the other way around. Sexualised male imagery can also be attractive to heterosexual females; they thus make the male a sexual object to be consumed by the female, with the effect of diminishing the power status of heterosexual males. This explains why heterosexual males find gay porn so threatening (and why they might weave such tortured arguments to convince gay men to help them support bans on porn featuring males)."

That reason may be valid, but I'm sure there are also plenty of other reasons, only because of the sheer diversity of human nature.

Here is the strongest reason that I can think of. I do not believe that human sexuality is either straight or gay - I believe it must be a combination of straight and gay in any one person. Any particular "straight" person must have a component of inherent gay inclination - ranging from 1% to 99%, depending on how unfortunate he is. It is this bottled-up gay inclination in every person that makes them fear their own attraction to the pornographic images. Bottom line - they find it threatening because they are attracted and such an unfortunate attraction causes great fear to them in the present society. Hey, fear is a very powerful motivator and people can do very nasty things out of fear.

Robert L
(Homophobia is fear of homosexuality in oneself, not fear of homosexuality in others.)

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

This is a comment by Bert Bjarland who is unable to upload himself as he's travelling:

Giving gays wrong ideas

In The Strait Times Saturday Mar 3 senior writer Andy Ho has a column headlined ‘Nude shots give gays wrong idea’ where he pretends to be concerned with how Singapore’s poor gays might have been misled by a book ‘Superstars’ – portraying male stars more or less undressed – to believe that gay males are young, muscular, good-looking and able-bodied. Fortunately this idyllic community has the Media Development Authority that once again saved the poor gays from this illusion, by banning the book. Ho even hypocritically argues the gay community should be grateful for the ban.

Hypocritically indeed – The Strait Times, particularly its Life section is continuously hysterically packed with ads, advices and propaganda mostly addressing young women on how to be or at least seem young, muscular, good-looking and able-bodied. Might they not ‘develop unrealistic expectations about their own bodies’ as Ho puts it ? Cosmetic surgery seems to be very popular here. But no bans are advocated. Not by Ho, not by anyone else. So maybe it is not so dangerous after all to be concerned with your body – unless you are gay of course.

The basic wrong idea propagated here without Ho or anyone else protesting seems to be that to be gay is to be a criminal. The law, if I understand it correctly, says that homosexual acts between men are criminal (lesbians being so far out they are not even mentioned). If you are per definition a criminal, then of course everything you do or are concerned about might seem suspicious to well-meaning and paternalistic authorities who’d just like you to be straight – like The Straight Times.

ben said...

For the record, on the gov-created p65blog, 'MP' Baey Yam Keng, says in answer to a comment about the column appended to one of his postings:

"YK: Yes, I read that.... I don’t really agree with his (Andy Ho's) point that gays should also object to the book as the male nudes there do not represent the normal male body. I think that actually applies to everyone, whether male or female, gay or straight. It’s very natural that one may feel inferior when seeing pictures of beautiful people around, but if one is that easily affected or disillusioned by such images, many more things should be banned. =)"