Harry Styles faces backlash for his ‘gay sex in movies’ comments

Following the remarks he made during an interview for the promotion of his next film, my policeman, Harry Styles found himself at the center of a controversy on social networks.

Based on a novel by the same my policeman is set in Brighton in the 1950s. It tells the story of a locked-up policeman (played by Styles) whose marriage to a woman (The crown’s Emma Corrin) is threatened when he embarks on an affair with another man – which was illegal at the time. During an interview with rolling stoneStyles said he would describe gay sex as “tender and loving”.

A lot of the gay sex in the movie is two guys indulging in it, and that kind of takes away the tenderness,” he said. “There will be, I imagine, people watching it who were alive and well in those days when it was illegal to be gay, and [director Michael Grandage] wanted to show that he is tender, loving and sensitive.

It’s the suggestion that cinema suffers from an abundance of “two guys getting into it” that has generated the most backlash, understandably – the claim bears no scrutiny. What hot gay sex scenes has Styles watched – and more importantly, where can I torrent them? I’ve seen a lot of queer films in the last ten years and with a few exceptions (Stranger by the lake and Benedetta come to mind), I wouldn’t say there was a preponderance of explicit sex. In Call me by your name, notoriously the camera pans just as Elio and Oliver begin to undress. God’s country is passionate and erotic in its own way, but it’s hardly pornographic – and that’s too bad!

I could go on… savage contains a harrowing depiction of sexual violence, but it hardly seems like the sort of thing Styles is referring to, and what I remember most 120 BPM is a heartbreaking scene where a character dying of AIDS-related illnesses receives a handjob from his lover in a hospital bed. It can’t reasonably be said that any of these films suffer from a lack of “tenderness” – indeed, you’d be hard pressed to think of a more tender and hesitant portrayal of sex on film than the beach scene in Moonlight. If we talk about more traditional tariffs, like star wars Where Light year, then we are limited to the quickest and chaste kisses on the lips, designed to be easily edited for overseas markets.

So unless Styles has access to a secret canon of raunchy queer cinema that the rest of us don’t know about, it seems safe to dismiss his comment as misinformed. Moreover, in his insinuation that “tenderness” is better than “two guys doing it,” I detect the dreadful hand of my old enemy: the politics of respectability. But at the same time, no one looks to Styles for queer cultural critique. Some people jumped at his comments as proof that he’s not legitimately queer, but I don’t believe it for a second: Complaining about gratuitous sex scenes is something gay people have been doing for years. Being so bashful and boring about sex scenes is, unfortunately, one of the weirdest things he’s done in public.

Elsewhere in the interview, Styles hinted at his own journey to “get comfortable” with his own sexuality, echoing past occasions where he’s hinted he might be queer. Continuing the most insufferable talk on the internet, some people have accused him of “queer-baiting” (essentially pretending to be queer for profit when you’re not) – the implication being that Styles n he’s really just a hetero. Whether he has some sort of ethical obligation to come forward before commenting on queer issues is a separate question (I would say no), but his accusers really need to get better at reading between the lines…I don’t. say no more and leave it to that ;).

The controversy took an absurd turn when hookup app Grindr decided to have a drink to Styles, tweeting “Harry Styles when he finds out that gay sex is about two guys having sex,” alongside a reaction video of a gasping woman. This caused a furious reaction among Style fans, one of whom accused Grindr of being homophobic: “How are you done?” they fumed. “Did you get all the clicks and attention you wanted?? Great now get rid of that homophobic app. People were quick to laugh at him, but considering the misery Grindr has inflicted on the gay community, calling him out as homophobic might not be a stretch. In this fight, I support the Harry Stans.

In conclusion, Style’s remarks were a little tone-deaf and fundamentally wrong, but infinitely more annoying is people asking him to prove his homosexuality by sucking someone’s cock live on stage. We should allow anyone, celebrity or not, to be ambiguous; define their sexuality on their own terms or not at all.


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