That is, interestingly enough, a question I’ve never been asked before. (At least on tumblr)
I’m aware that paintings like ROMAO have gay appeal. They’re intrinsically gay because a distinct language for female objectifaction of the male form has not yet been culturally adopted. And if it was, it would have lots of overlap with gay visual language anyways.
This is no cultural power or money forcing the creation of visual sexual content for female consumption, aside from maybe Chippendales or something. BUT the gay market for sexy men in visual culture has been around since at least the 1980’s, even if only implied. So whenever Chippendales like content comes around, the term “homosexual” tags along for the ride by default.
This idea frustrated me at first. I didn’t like the idea that viewers we’re constantly assuming that a man was the person gazing onto the painted figure. Once again, I felt like people coming to this conclusion were pushing me out of the picture. Ignoring the fact that I created the painting for my own pleasure as a sign of independent sexual agency.
I learned to get over this and accept that there’s a group of people that relate to ROMAO in the same way that I do. After deflating a bit of my ego, I realized that they understand where I’m coming from, and that there’s a world of sexuality that can present its own nuances and uniqueness. Which were ideas that I explored at a straight person regardless.
From there, a fascination with the idea of male dancers that wish they were bunnies..etc etc.
Even though I’m straight, I feel like there’s a lot of overlap between the siren femme fatale and certain niches of contemporary gay culture. I can’t speak on behalf of said community, so I won’t elaborate, but ideas of concealment, secrecy, and perceived guilt as the result of societal pressures/constructs are issues that have intrigued me since before I can remember.
I’m enticed by the romanticism in hiding secrets, concealing truths and altering realities. But there’s also an inherent sadness in other things hidden, and the frustration caused from keeping them so can warp the mind and distort perception.
There’s this awareness that someone out there is hiding so much more than I ever could. And involuntarily. I can’t even wrap my head around that.
So when you look at all those ideas on a macroscopic level, you realize that it’s all related on some level. None of it is ever day and night.