More than meets the eye to lurid graffiti on campus

Last Wednesday I was sitting in one of the booths of the Brower Student Center dining area when I noticed an interesting statement scrawled on the table. It said “(name of student) eats DICK.”

I’m not sure if this particular defacement of property was written recently or if it had been there for years and I just never noticed. Either way, statements like this are often written on tables or bathroom stall doors throughout campus.

Most of the time, I simply pass them off as idiotic and immature acts of vandalism. However, it occurred to me that this type of language and vandalism is not simply the result of an infantile and destructive mind, but it is the result of a mind infused with an ideology of hate toward queer activity.

It may be true that the student who “eats DICK” is gay and expresses his sexuality through oral sex with other males.

However, it is often the case that when this type of language is used in defacement, it is directed from one heterosexual male toward another heterosexual male. Why then would a heterosexual male “eat DICK?”

More likely than not, the statement was written in jest, not intended to be taken seriously by the supposed “eater.”

It seems this message is a type of bonding by straight men who seek to represent homosexual behavior as humorous.

Hence, it is applied to someone who would never engage in that activity, even someone who fears and loathes that activity.

Whether or not the author of the statement was conscious of it, he made a blatant political statement. Allow me to translate: “(name of student) eats DICK” means “We are heterosexual men who fear and are disgusted by homosexual activity. We hate that activity and all the social implications of that activity. As such, we will use homosexual acts as methods of ridiculing, albeit in jest, those within our heterosexual group.”

These straight men can ridicule each other in this way with no severe emotional consequences because the accused “dick- eater” recognizes the ridiculous nature of the charge. Both the author of the statement and the subject of the statement are in collusion to promote their political message of hate.

A deeper examination of the words “eat DICK” further degrades homosexual activity as bestial or violent (to “eat DICK” as opposed to “perform fellatio” or “have oral sex”). Even the common colloquialisms of “give head” or “suck cock” are passed over for the more abrasive “eat DICK.” This usage of the word “eat” is similar to the use of the word when applied to heterosexual male activity, as when a male “eats out” a female.

Yet, even in the context of heterosexual male actions performed on females, there still exists the latent political motivations within the terms. When a man says that he “eats out” a female, he is the subject and the woman is objectified. The woman becomes an object of consumption and the man places himself in the position of power.

Even in this norm-promoting heterosexual context, the political aims are evident and rely on violent imagery.

As “eat” is to ingest, “eat dick” may refer to the ingestion of semen. However, in this case, it is more likely that the author intended to convey a more violent image of a man eating another man’s penis. This projects the conception of homosexual men as cannibalistic, self-destructive and ultimately uncivilized.

It promotes the idea that this type of activity does not belong in civilized society; rather, it belongs in the wild where modern humanity and socially imposed law do not apply.

The use of these terms to identify homosexual activity is an act of male homosocial bonding. In doing so, straight men find an outlet for their hatred which can be disguised as socially acceptable forms of joking. Surely, in our society based on civil rights and tolerance, outward discrimination against gay men would be unacceptable.

Yet, this defacement of property which targets homosexual activity is a politically motivated act disguised as innocent jest. Not only does it promote hate within this particular group of male bigots, but it also attempts to publicize that hatred in the disguised form of defacement of public property.

I find it somewhat ironic that an act of male homosocial bonding is used to degrade and deny respect for homosexual activity. Yet homosocial bonding practices between young men from early youth to adulthood often serve to psychologically ingrain in them a distaste or utter hatred for other sexualities.

I don’t profess to be an expert on queerness or on the culture of gay men, but I can point out hatred when I see it.

Also, I realize that this type of discrimination is not limited to straight men against queer men. Gay men themselves may discriminate against one another. The statement on that table may have been written by a gay person or directed toward a gay person, or it could have been written by a female.

I only put forth my own hypothesis and contend that in all likelihood, the writing of the statement was a straight male’s act of hatred targeting gay men. No matter who wrote it, it was either consciously or unconsciously an act of hate and should be treated as such.

To all those would-be vandalizers/promoters of political agendas, I advise you to think before you deface. There are many students at the College who are capable of reading in between the lines.