Bateman and Hoffman: Crusaders for Gay Rights or “Just Friends”?

Today’s post has a whole “if a tree falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” feel to it. By now, most people have seen and/or heard about the whole Jason Bateman and Dustin Hoffman kiss at the Lakers game. If you haven’t, well, then you must not watch as much TV as me… but that’s definitely not a bad thing.

Anyway, the two locked lips in order to secure a spot on the kiss cam at the game, but they did a little more than that. The news cycle, although I hesitate to call E! and Perez Hilton news, has been flooded with coverage over this infamous kiss between the two stars. Besides the obvious questions, such as “Ew, why Dustin Hoffman?”, there’s an undeniable political charge to the prank.

There used to be a time, well, maybe “used to” isn’t the right term, but before, Hollywood’s homosexuality stigma kept folks in constant fear of being openly gay or even suspected of being gay. In fact, it’s ruined more than its fair amount of careers. So the question is, why is this time okay?

Have we gotten to the point where homosexuality is no longer considered a deviant social behavior? To say that seems a little premature, yet with these two, there’s been little to no professional or societal backlash since it took place.

One of the elements that can’t be ignored are the politics of it. It was non-threatening. I mean, it was at a Lakers game for God’s sake. But the act itself could be considered very apolitical. After all, they’re two well-established actors so there’s no real threat of them being accused of being gay or anything. It’s that threat removed that lets people just dismiss it as a boyish prank and move on.

But God forbid, two men or two women display a sincere public display of affection for each other, especially on the kiss cam. It’s that type of double standard that politically charges the exchange between Bateman and Hoffman. No official statement has been released on the whole event by either of them, and it’s safe to say there probably won’t be.

That being said, can a display such as this really be considered a political act? I’d like to think so, but only Bateman and Hoffman can give it explicit meaning. However, regardless of how the kiss was intended, the politics of it are beyond the control of the two men. More effective than the No H8 campaign, Bateman and Hoffman, arguably, have given way to an understated sexual revolution, highlighting the double standards of society while also giving hope for a new understanding of homosexuality in a one-dimensional world.


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