August 2, 2006
Here's a follow-up to yesterday's post, more on what I want to discuss at Sunstone this year. This is a topic I've already explored on my blog, in entries entitled Mormon Social Taboos, A Happy Marriage with a Good Man, and The Exclusive Terroritory of Straight Men.
It ain't gonna be pretty, that's for sure.
Over Christmas I went to see Brokeback Mountain with Saviour Onassis while we were both in Arizona for the holidays. I was staying with my sister, who is both a dutiful Mormon who avoids R-rated movies, and a devoted and knowledgeable fan of good cinema. She knew she wouldn't be seeing the movie, but she wanted to hear all about it when I got home. "Is it really as good as they say?" she asked.
"It really is," I said. "Heath Ledger is amazing. He deserves an Oscar." (He was robbed, by the way. So was Jake.) "He reminded me of some of our cousins," I told her. "He does a thoroughly convincing job of playing a taciturn western cowboy."
"I hear both characters have wives," she said.
"Yes," I said. "And that's one of the things I liked about the movie: all the characters are treated with respect and sympathy. The wives aren't the focus of the movie but they're not neglected, either. The situation does incredible damage to the women, but they're not treated as acceptable casualties. Anne Hathaway's personality becomes as brittle as her bleached hair, while Michelle Williams--oh, it's just heartbreaking."
"Well," my sister said emphatically, banging pots around as she emptied her dishwasher, "it's great that they portrayed it well, but the situation itself is not OK. These guys have got to stop marrying women."
"You looking for an argument?" I asked. "I was engaged to a gay man, remember? I don't think gay men should marry straight women, either."
"They've got to stop," she repeated. "They've got to stop hiding behind wives. It's not fair to use women like that."
"I couldn't agree more," I said. "And it's a time-honored practice with a name, in case you didn't know: marrying someone of the opposite sex for the purpose of passing for straight is called ‘having a beard,' and I think there should be no more beards. But I also think that if you want gay men to stop marrying straight women, one good way of helping that happen is to let them marry each other." She made no reply to that--as a Mormon Republican, what could she say?--but she at least nodded.
Posted by holly at August 2, 2006 5:10 PM