Another day, another think piece that required little actual thought. Today, it comes from The New York Times, explaining the obsession with twinks well, not really explaining it, so much as pointing out that there is, in fact, an obsession with twinks. Call it a twink piece, if you will.
While the thought of The New York Times laying out the definition of this ridiculously outdated gay stereotype to its readership is cute, who actually thought this was worth the word count? Not only do they exhaustingly dissect the nomenclature of the term to their straight readers (“twinks are young, attractive, hairless, slim men”), but they go as far as to dub such straight white males as Timotheé Chalamet and Tye Sheridan as twinks, as if Nick Jonas didn’t fully ruin the idea of gay men glorifying straight celebs. And with that horrifying example of unwashed thirst, they went on to declare this the “age of the twink.”
Millions of years from now, an archaeologist unearths a bottle of poppers from what was once Fire Island. “What we’re looking at here,” he says, blowing the dust off the relic, “is an artifact from smack-dab in the middle of the Age of the Twink.”
— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) May 14, 2018
I’m just so glad THE AGE OF THE TWINK is no longer just a question at a Bryan Singer deposition.
— Guy Branum (@guybranum) May 14, 2018
Straight men can have the word “twink” when they pry it from my cold dyke hands.
— Janine Brito (@janinebrito) May 14, 2018
Although I hate to be the one to throw down an outrage gauntlet over every ill-conceived think piece, I just have to point out the absurdity of this “revelation.” For gay men, it’s been the age of the twink since long before Oscar Wilde engaged in indecency with Bosie Douglas. It’s that constant epitome of youthful, skinny gay men in a culture that contributes to this heteronormative idea of what it means to be queer, often forming the first impression of our community to young closeted kids who are both under formative influence and eager to define themselves.
A study from theNational Eating Disorders Association found that some parts of the LGBTQ community are disproportionately affected by eating disorders. On the list of potential factors playing a role in the development of eating disorders in our community is the “inability to meet body image ideals within some LGBTQ+ cultural contexts.”
“Research shows that, beginning as early as 12, gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens may be at higher risk of binge-eating and purging than heterosexual peers,” the study states.
Meanwhile, if you dug just under the surface of the actual queer community that you so liberally label with these passé designations, you’d see a movement of body positivity among many other nuanced subcultures. We’ve become bored with the vanilla 1996 Skeet Ulrich model of male beauty. If anything, we’re tired of being defined by such shallow terms, especially when every other dating profile includes “no fats, no fems” as if they’re customizing their Chipotle order.
Actor, comedian, and body positive activist, Daniel Franzese chimed in on the article with a particularly tasty analogy.
“It’s annoyingly basic, for the usually white twink, while delicious to look at is the jelly doughnut of gay subculture,” he says. “When presented with a jelly doughnut, most people will say, ‘Sure, I’ll bite.’ But give me the ferocious audacity of a French cruller or the humongous presence of the glazed bear claw any day. The jelly doughnut may be more palatable to mainstream America–especially when presented in the straight examples of this article–but a true connoisseur of the gay world will testify that the most delectable flavors are as diverse as the rainbow in our flag.”
“These twinks, after all, aren’t just enviably lean boys or the latest unrealistic gay fantasy,” the Times writes, “but a new answer to the problem of what makes a man.”
I sincerely hope the writer of this article is not, in fact, gay. Otherwise, they just fell into the most antiquated ‘90s sitcom cliché of what it means to be a gay man. If twinks really are the answer to the construct of masculinity, I’d say we’ve run out of resources.
Photo by Brian de Rivera Simon/WireImage