Beauty is an extremely ambiguous value. That’s right, I said it. Beauty is an ideal that we cannot truly depict. Think about it: how can a person state that something they deem to be beautiful is more aesthetically pleasing than the preferences of another person? We merely don’t hold the power to make that decision, because beauty is more than just black and white. Beauty encompasses the entire long list of hues on the color spectrum. Some might tell you that beauty is defined by physical characteristics such as the shape of one’s nose, the clothes one wears, or the definition of one’s abdominal muscles. Others may tell you that beauty truly comes from within and is an abstract notion. My point is this: who are we to place limitations on the broader ideal of beauty? More importantly, why do we let ourselves fall victim to believing that allure is only attainable if someone judges us to fall within that category? Sometimes I wonder how different the world might be if we no longer possessed the power to assess someone’s beauty based on our own selfish ideas of what is significant as opposed to what is not.
Why is beauty idolized above all else in the gay community? Furthermore, why is it that someone is more concerned about what they can see visually, than what can be seen within, and what’s inside your heart—what your intentions in this lifetime are. As personally biased as it may sound, life is about more than spending every waking moment at the gym—it’s about spending time with people. It’s about laughing, having experiences, and eating good food. It’s about sharing a meal, or sharing drinks by the fire. All of these things are so amazingly gratifying and they can instantly warm your heart… but none of them are based on your physical beauty or attributes.
My question about this largely looming idea of so-called “standards” of the gay community becomes, how do you deal with navigating life in the midst of these prevalent ideas of beauty and appeal, without giving up your own values? For so many guys, leading a gay lifestyle is a fun and creative journey, unlike any other experience they have ever encountered. And by that, I am talking about the dissipation of gender norms that allows us to step outside of our comfort zones and simply have a damn good time. But ignoring these “standards” of how gays should have a “bro” and “masculine” presentation, can lead to feelings of marginalization from the community. Apparently, the new mindset is that if you don’t look like a young, hot, sweaty Brad Pitt in Fight Club, there is just simply no hope for your future romantic or social endeavors—which is completely untrue.
Motivated to explore this matter further and find out how modern culture has shaped our mindset of gay beauty, I decided to do some research. What I found were conversations that inevitably made my hopes of finding a single explanation inconclusive, yet intriguing nonetheless. On a relatively recent reddit forum, a man reached out to anyone willing to express their feelings on fitting into the beauty standards of the gay community. He went on to share that he “can’t help but feel ugly and [is] 100% sure [he] isn’t the only one who feels this way.”
As I read the comments, the majority of people advised him to ignore these preconceived fears and beliefs about beauty; however, a couple people offered valid advice that could help a lot of guys to hone in on finding their confidence. A key piece of insight that resonated with me was the idea that we as guys, need to own what we have, and we’re bound to find someone who is into what we have to offer. In other words, as conspicuous as it may sound in this case, we need to carry ourselves with confidence in order to “feel” confident. A similar idea that comes to mind when I think about confidence is the notion that we have the power to control our thoughts. A thought does not become a thought in your mind, unless you are willing to let it transpire within you. Every day you wake up, you can choose to smile over your successes or frown over your failures. But the way I see it, waking up each day is the biggest success we can encounter, and that is absolutely something to smile about.
As blatantly put as it can be, the gay community needs to move forward, and by that I mean talking about moving forward towards focusing on values that really make a person wholesome and unique. I could walk outside and point out ten different guys that I would classify as a “dime,” but let me be the first to tell you that maybe one in ten will share a connection with me on a deeper level. Recently, I realized how tired I am of trying to overexert myself in every which way to “feel” beautiful, when in reality; each one of us is innately beautiful. The most perfect example I can think of has been on my mind a lot lately and one person in particular comes to mind. In order to paint an example of how the basis of beauty lies within personal perception, I want to take a moment to speak on the current reigning Queen of Earth. I’m talking about Adele of course.
All Adele has essentially done is let her voice come through, and the world has reacted in a phenomenal way. Today, a successful artist has to be overly sexualized and controversial to even make it on the airwaves, but not Adele. Once in a lifetime an artist like Adele comes along who gracefully sings,, captivating the world with her tone. It’s incredible to see, and Adele is redefining what beauty and music mean to the rest of the world. And you know what? I feel Adele’s beauty in her voice coming from her soul, and that is what I will remember. I won’t remember how she styled her hair, or the color of the dress she wore, because those are ever-changing things. Her words and heart—now those are here to stay.
Now, if Adele can transform lives and the way we perceive music all through her voice, I think it is safe to say that physical appearance is not everything the world has to offer. God made a hell of a woman in Adele, and for that I am grateful. Truthfully, I wish the gay community could be more like Adele. Except then we’d all be white women with incredible vocal ranges—but figuratively anyhow.