Feminists Will Probably Not Marry Any of You

First we had College Humor’s “Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends.” Then came the “straight men” response. Now the inevitable “Gay Women Will Marry Your Boyfriends” has debuted. These videos profess to support marriage equality: the original gag was that, if queer men can’t marry their boyfriends, they’ll marry straight guys’ girlfriends in retaliation. However, each new YouTube sensation traffics in such tired stereotypes of gender and sexuality that I have to say to all involved with these clips: Feminists Will Probably Not Marry Any of You. We don’t even want to hang out.

Caricatures can definitely be used to skewer gendered expectations, but these videos don’t critique stereotypes through campy enactment: they reinforce them. After all, the generalizations aren’t the targets of the jokes but rather the basis on which the humor relies.

If the whole hilarious idea is that gay men would make better husbands to straight women than straight men would, faith in stereotypes like “gay men love cooking, jazzercise, and listening to their female friends’ feelings” are essential for the video to work. So too is the belief that straight guys just want to eat meat, watch the game, and avoid commitment. Lesbians, meanwhile, are basically like hetero dudes except it’s fun for bros to watch them make out with chicks—and they’re all white, pretty femme, and slim for your mainstream male pornographic pleasure. 

Even if the three populations are equally generalized, these images still perpetuate beliefs that confine the millions of people the actors claim to represent. And besides, these comedians aren’t only poking fun at themselves (or who they claim to be for the films’ sake): everyone seems to hold real, non-joking disdain for straight women. The gay guys recognize how annoyingly demand they are and the straight men just can’t wait to get rid of their girlfriends, so long as they can still sleep with them. Even the queer ladies dismiss their hetero sisters as too busy “choosing between one slutty dress… and another slutty dress” to be fun, low-stress partners. Invariably whiny, superficial, and marriage-obsessed—lacking a single desirable trait other than penetrable vaginas—straight women are voiceless objects with which to barter. “Marry our girlfriends,” the straight men insist at the end of their video.

No one considers what the women might want because passive pawns (directed for political gain or your own physical pleasure) don’t have desires beyond who will take them to jazzercise. Maybe you should work on that whole sense of humor thing before you decide who gets to marry which ladies today.

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX, a national legal education campaign against campus gender-based violence. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. Through Know Your IX, she has organized with students across the country to build campuses free from discrimination and violence, developed federal policy on Title IX enforcement, and has testified at the Senate. At Yale Law, Alexandra focuses on antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Alexandra is committed to developing and strengthening responses to gender-based violence outside the criminal justice system through writing, organizing, and the law. Keep an eye out for The Feminist Utopia Project, co-edited by Alexandra and forthcoming from the Feminist Press (2015).

Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing.com, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/bree319/ Bree Herndon

    Thank you for this! I am so frustrated with these videos and getting called a humorless, feminist Nazi because I notice that they are all based on ridiculous stereotypes of straight women. Granted, I found the original funny. I felt they were poking fun at all genders and orientations, whereas the follow-up are all about much straight women and how lame we are. The straight guy response was so offensive I couldn’t even watch it the whole thing! So thank you for writing this!

    • scottishtanningsecrets

      Agreed, I thought the original was really funny, but that straight guy response…yikes. Not to say all straight men are like this of course, but if the guys in the video were my dating pool, it would surprise nobody that I stayed single.

      • http://feministing.com/members/dragonridingsorceress/ Jess

        So, who thinks we should do a response video? Something like Straight women wouldn’t marry any of you, but pithier.

  • scottishtanningsecrets

    Not sure this is technically a response, since it was written long before these videos were made, but Lady Mary Wortley Montagu actually wrote a response to people who said she was too frigid, and it was basically, “I choose to be single because all my suitors are jerks,” elongated into ballad poetry form.


  • fyoumudflaps

    This was really just plain awful. I’m a straight/bi male who loves me some lesbian friends, but holy poo. “STRAIGHT WOMAN SUCK!” That’s all I heard… no thanks.

  • http://feministing.com/members/blue0011/ Sarah

    I think everything should be analyzed from a feminist perspective so I wanted to throw in a couple of points to this article and discussion. I am a feminist and a lesbian so I saw this video from a different viewpoint. The women in this video do not have disdain for heterosexual women. Yes, there are stereotypes about heterosexual women that are used. For example, liking ballet and shopping. But, there are just as many stereotypes the gay women make about themselves. I’m a lesbian and I abhor sports, I have never played a video game in my entire life, and ew sports! Along with this, the comments about the way the women look in this video were slightly frustrating. I agree that the representation of white women (or who we are presuming to be white) only is not ok. However, lesbians are almost never, and I mean never, represented as feminine women. It was so refreshing to see real life lesbians and not media’s representation of what lesbians should look like (aka every lesbian is “butch”). I think this video was made entirely in jest of everyone’s stereotypes. Let’s remember that gay women are a minority. It is rare that we get this kind of representation in the media. Everything is not right with this video, but everything isn’t wrong. It is an enjoyable watch!

  • http://feministing.com/members/joeq4/ Joe

    “everyone seems to hold real, non-joking disdain for straight women.”

    Really now?

    If you read into anything hard enough with a pre-existing bias, you’ll always find the answer you’re looking for.

    The video itself is a comedic attempt to draw some support for gay marriage from the most reticent population segment, heterosexual males. Does it involve some stereotypes? Of course – all media does, in one way or another. Is this video denigrating females in order to achieve it’s ends? Hardly – it’s playing on the absurd assumption that men should support gay marriage so the dating pool isn’t expanded.

    I’m not sure when the expectation came about that all characters in all forms of media must conform (ironically enough) to a non-stereotyped, academically defined portrait of what diversity should look like. It’s the position that one neither can nor should generalize on anything ever – and frankly, it’s a non-starter.

    Should we attack negative stereotypes? Certainly. Should we ensure everything is homogenized to the point that there are no identifiable stereotypes anywhere? Good luck.