1. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    When does camp become offensive or cliche?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Elgaisma, Aug 13, 2010.

    Being British I have been brought up on a diet of camp humour. Have had interesting discussions tonight with some of my gay readers and would like more opinions about what makes you cringe in a gay character and what you really like to see?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It becomes offensive when it draws blood.
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You need to show the characters as real people with feelings, not cartoons or cardboard cutouts. Even if they are camp, everyone has his/her special individuality. Guess this goes for all the other stereotypes out there: working mum, little rich girl, 35 yr old male accountant still living with mummy, 55 yr old woman whose husband throws her over for his secretary, etc. If you don't belittle your characters and laugh with not at them, the odd typical example is easier to take.

    Edit: As to what is cringe-making, all the gay men I've known have certainly been men, I mean, they may collect embroidery or be interested in old books about turn-of-the-century debutantes (just 2 people I know) but the way they react to certain things is masculine. They've been pretty good shoulders to cry on without talking and analysing the problem as much as women do. The limp-wristed thing is vastly overdone, so that's what makes me cringe.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am really curious about this as I wrote a bit and so far one of my readers said it was too much of a stereotype, the others considered it funny. Mind you the others think I have done my usual of accidentally writing gay porn, they keep teasing me about it because of my very first handwritten draft:) which had way too many unintended innuendos. Only slight issue but none seem bothered is the fact I have a falcon which is a gay porn film site I believe. My character is pretty normal aside from a pink umbrella and his ability to ice skate lol
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I kinda' agree with Cogito.

    Being a card carrying friend of Dorothy myself, so long as the humor is with an eye for humor and not to bash then I'm all for it. I just saw an episode of The Venture Brothers where the OSI was "manned" by a group of guys that were obviously The Village People. It was wet your pants funny! :D

    Now, there are polito-gays who just live to take offense at anything and who would find me offensive for my opinions.

    *shrug*

    Can't make everyone happy.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    ;) would never have guessed

    Hmm I think I am going to work on my piece, I like it and think its going to be a good way to end what is turning into quite a dark novel on quite a fun note. But I do want to be careful, its natural for me to put humour in:)

    Unfortunately my searching lead me to Mein Studel and now I am wanting to overdo it lol
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm gay and I've met many gay men, but only one who even comes close to fitting the stereotype of the limp-wristed lisping queen. None of the gay men I know are into fashion or interior decorating or Judy Garland or Liza Minelli or chick flicks. They tend to like football and fast cars and movies about guys doing guy things. Movies like Die Hard and the Clooney version of Ocean's Eleven.

    The gay guys I know tend to be offended if they see gays portrayed on TV as cross-dressers and crybabies.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know a good mix actually. My best friend is very definitely a bloke but he also loves his cliches he is fussy about his clothing, he loves decorating cakes, he cooks, does blokey sci fi and action movies but then is very gay stereotype in his music:)

    I'm just aware with the exception of the one bloke that has issues, the other gay men I know are hyper secure about themselves, don't think twice about holding a handbag for me etc (unlike some straight guys who are nervous:)) He is the only one that is quite militant and insecure. Generally they are very much men, but also have the confidence to let their hair down and have fun, and won't let being manly get in the way.

    Like my friend said he's not only out the closet he's forgotten where he left it. I am aware that my book is Young Adult and at that stage he was more touchy and less secure with himself.

    Your's and wreybies posts have been very useful I think maybe my balance is about right. I think my character should come to a good degree of self confidence and acceptance.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure what you mean by this. Are you saying that men don't usually have the confidence to let their hair down and have fun, or that for gay men, having fun means not being so manly? Most of the gay guys I know, when they let their hair down and have fun, do pretty mannish things.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    just generally at least my friends, gay men are more confident than straight men. As a result they will do things a straight man would be embarrassed to be seen doing. My gay friends have never been embarrassed going up to the bar and ordering me a lemonade or hanging onto my handbag etc Its not to do with being less manly just more confident I guess. Or maybe I just attract confident people around me. A gay friend is more likely to ask me to dance for example umm maybe its just my friends:) lol
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Wow. I don't know any guy, gay or straight, who'd be embarrassed to order lemonade at a bar. I do it for myself since I quit drinking alcohol. As for holding a woman's purse? Most would consider it more exasperating than embarrassing, I think. It doesn't have anything to do with manliness; it has to do with "Why don't women wear clothes with POCKETS????"
    ;)
     
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  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Alright, this thread is getting a little off track. Suffice to say that gays come in EVERY flavor, color, ilk, nationality, and level of gender identification from tranny to XYY chromo.

    I don't think that is the question.

    The question was at what point does camp become offensive.

    Let us stay on track, please.
     
  13. Phlogiston
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    Phlogiston Member

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    When it turns into Will & Grace.
     
  14. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for this, even off topic its been very useful. I have a better idea of other people than I did before I started:) Sometimes living in the sticks makes having a world view of things hard. My view is mostly Scotsmen hence the embarrased not to order anything with alcohol in it;)

    Thanks for letting the discussion go a little off track its given me great ideas for a couple of other men in my book:). I am still interested in knowing more opinions. It is slightly relevant because in my culture camp does not automatically equal gay, I would say most of the men in my family were mostly camp but not gay.

    I don't really watch Will and Grace, what is wrong with it?
     
  15. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    In Bollywood movies (movies made in Bombay/Mumbai), gay chars can be occasionally seen as sidekicks drooling over guys, winking with mascaraed eyes, saying something like "Hellooooo" to guys and the guys desperately trying to shrug them off and run. They put such brief scenes without any connection to the storyline or the plot whatsoever, just for the laugh, you know. And people here do somehow find humor in it and laugh. As a closeted gay myself, I sometimes am force to laugh with them, but in reality I find it insulting, demeaning, and deplore it for presenting gays in poor light.

    We know some gays like Prada, some are fussy about their grooming products etc etc... but there are many who likes football, have no fashion sense, and so on... they are as varied as straight men are. So, if you are writing about a gay char choose your pick and tell his/their story, somewhere in the process you will find humor, tears, everything that you'll find when you tell a story about any other person.

    Once I was talking over the phone to my boyfriend, my sister overheard me and she thought I was talking to a girl. She is only two years younger than me so we are pretty close. She started screaming from the background something like "Hey sister-in-law take good care of my brother".... and my boyfriend was saying in the phone "give the phone to her, let's give her a heart attack" :D..... If you were to use this in a story about closeted gay, this is humorous and also says a lot about the char and the situation he is in. So, I would say if you tell a story truthfully you'll find humor somewhere, you don't have to depend on tired clich├ęs just for the sack of it.
     
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  16. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks Manay for your input. I love your attitude to life. I have a man or two in mind for my story, the pink umbrella belonged to a university lecturer no idea if he was gay or straight to be honest. He was terrified of people no matter what the sex.
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Just remember that camp, even when gays espouse it for entertainment value, is only one facet of the gay culture. As minstrel has pointed out, we come in all flavors and colors.

    I know my antiques. I can tell the difference between Queen Anne and Georgian at a glance. I only eat off of vintage (never new) Fiestaware and when I write by hand I use a 1932 Parker Vacumatic fountain pen that I refurbished myself (a hobby of mine).

    But.....

    I also built this myself:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, our definitions are just that - our definitions. Rewritable, add-to-able, and ever ready for a firmware upgrade. ;)
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree actually for me camp does not automatically equal gay. I know plenty of camp straight men:).

    Maybe I am too concerned about getting my character right, than actually just developing him as a person. I was surprised last night had a blazing row with a friend about my stereotyping gay men with the scene I had written, he said it would have prevented him coming out as a teen. Although I am more relaxed now because most people who reviewed it thought Socrates was a girl:)

    By the way you have a nice boot:)
     
  19. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, and Wrey... just to clarify Charlotte's last comment...

    a "boot" is "British" for trunk (of a car).

    Happy to help! :)
     
  20. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    Thanks.

    Wreybies,

    Nice car.. wish I had some pictures of the houses I have built to show it here... btw I am a construction engineer.
     
  21. zeem33
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    zeem33 Member

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    Overtly gay characters who have no real role in the plot and are simply there for 'being a gay character' make me cringe. A surprising number of (particularly modern teenage fiction writers) seem to do this.

    I like to see gay characters whose homosexuality is an aspect of their character and not their *entire* personality. Basically if your gay characters do nothing but moan about the opera and go girly shopping then that will annoy me and make me accuse you of stereotyping :)
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    My main gay character, only real indicators that are stereotypes are his umbrella, he chooses his clothes carefully (but is only one scene. wears the same clothes for the rest of it) and his partner is male:) Being gay is not integral to the story and is not a major issue. He's only gay because he was outed by his partner in an early draft of my first book, I didn't plan it:)

    My other two gay characters, I am not sure if anyone else knows they are or not in first two books. I like the idea of telling their story at some stage though.

    The scene that prompted my internal debate is staying. It is a little camp, but the only time anyone thinks its wrong is when they know its two men. Fun and cute are applied to it when they don't know. Which is why I think it should stay.
     
  23. Acer
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    Acer Member

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    I think it becomes too much when you feel the need to overexaggerate the character in order to get across that he is gay. Throwing it in the reader's face with loud hints probably is a little too much- we get that he is gay, ok? I'm guilty of doing stuff like that in my own books, especially when I've added elements of my own beliefs into it (one of my characters is Vegan like me, I really need to tone that down a bit!)

    One of the characters in one of my books is gay, and I wrote him as a normal guy, but one of his friends, who is twelve years older than him, is a little more set in his views and occasionally eludes to the guy's sexuality with a few good natured but a little uncomfortable jibes here and there.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks Acer, I have ended up with four gay characters and they are all very different.
     

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