How ‘The Secret’ Victimizes Gay Men and Women

I always thought the scenario in The Secret movie of the gay man that wants to be a standup comedian and he simply changes his thoughts and poof the abuse of the bigots around him disappears was a bit dangerous. I think that if a straight woman or racial minority were substituted in this portion of the movie there would have been an outcry. I think their only polite scapegoats in this case would have been gay men and women – and maybe overweight people. Part of this stems, I think, from the notion that the whole ‘gay thing’ is simply a lifestyle choice (there is no such thing as a gay lifestyle – unless you ask Madison Avenue always willing to sell people their own equality in the form of a consumer product) – that if those crazy fags just weren’t so you know… like that… with their parades and their well… you know… those things that they do that are unlike the things that we do… then maybe they wouldn’t be the targets of abuse. And when it is relegated to a choice then the abuse that follows is pinned on the target, not the perp. The Advocate addresses this:

I found it painful to watch the gay-bashing scenario followed by the proposed simplistic solution. Homophobia is a dangerous and very real problem. LGBT people are attacked and killed in this country. They are executed in Iraq and Iran, with tacit and sometimes even explicit government approval. Attackers cause hate crimes, not victims.

Further:

The materialistic and narcissistic messages of The Secret belittle whatever superficial spiritual teachings it hopes to offer. The movie makes no mention of loving one’s neighbor or enacting justice. It makes no overtures toward feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, sheltering the homeless, or caring for the sick. The power of positive thinking will apparently take care of that. For example, a woman testifies that she cured herself of breast cancer not with radiation or chemotherapy but with good thoughts and funny movies. The implication is clear: If she did it, so can you. This miasmic view of disease blames patients for their illnesses. It’s an old argument that’s still used to blame gay men for AIDS.

This entry was posted in General on by .

About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

2 thoughts on “How ‘The Secret’ Victimizes Gay Men and Women

  1. Kali Karagias

    Andy, I couldn’t agree with you more. When I watched that scene in The Secret I thought it totally underestimated the reality of homophobia. If the filmmakers depicted a woman in the workforce being harassed, it would have been more than just an individual assault. It would be regarded as sexual harassment but with this gay character, he should just change his way of thinking and viola, he’s head lining at the Comic Strip?? Makes no sense. Really turned me off…great blog by the way!

    Reply
  2. Maryam Webster

    While agreeing with you, I have to say “Oh no, LBGT’s are NOT the only “last safe group to bash”. Fat people are more than included in that mix and come in for a hellish toll of verbal abuse that would NEVER be leveled at LBGT’s in nearly all situations.
    People are increasingly hiding their homophobia now, it’s not considered ‘completely okay’ in the mainstream anymore – but fat bashing? Oh yes. Because as we all know, fat people are lazy, stupid, greedy pigs who brought-it-on-themselves. And “genetics? yeah, right!”. This usually said (or thought) while rolling the eyes and laughing out the corner of their mouths.
    Being fat is still connected to willpower issues in the minds of mainstream Western culture. Fat people simply have no self-control. If they did, they wouldn’t be fat, pure and simple. And to be fat in a time and place where so many gyms, diets and weightloss tools are available IS widely considered to be a sin, both religious as well as secular.
    How and why a person stores excess fat is a complex genetic, emotional, dietary and physical mobility issue. It has nothing whatsoever to do with willpower. If it did, all the gamblers, alcoholics, sex addicts et. al. could also stop their issue-ridden behavior with a simple class in how to leverage willpower. It’s not simple though. Not at all.
    And for the many like myself with physical disabilities who might eat like a dietician, maintaining an aerobic exercise program can be a constant challenge, “Secret rich” though we may be.
    So dear readers, the next time you look at a fat person and think “ewww, how disgusting! how could they let themself go that way!” or similar thoughts, please put yourself in their shoes for a moment and send them your blessings. And remember that we’ve all got, as Eckhart Tolle says, our crosses to bear, and the bigger your cross, the better a chance you will have to ditch it and become enlightened in this lifetime.
    LBGT’s and fat people are your teachers. Look at what they are putting up with every day, all the time. The snide, rude and unthinking comments, and for fat people in particular, the overt job discrimination that often is seen to be within the limit of the law. These are people of massive strength, vision and yes, willpower. They have to be, to survive in today’s world. In a world where their lives and their mere appearance (no matter how clean and well clothed) is reviled, spat upon and denigrated.
    Learn. Think deeper. Grow. Reach out to your fat or LBGT neighbor.
    One’s sex or weight is truly, not important in the greater scheme of things.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *