BE A BITCH, 2005

BE A BITCH! Gay Shame Loves Bitches. Why do we love bitches? Oh honey, come on. Bitches are the best thing since the Ice Age. A bitch brings femininity to new levels of devastating, defiant ferocity, tearing up social norms faster than your average SFPD Robocop can rape and kill. Bitchiness has empowered generations of women, faggots, trannies and sissies to resist violence, authority and male supremacy. That's right, BE A BITCH. A new ad campaign sponsored by the San Francisco Department of Public Health shows a shirtless, stereotypically masculine black man grabbing his crotch and telling  us, DON'T BE A BITCH, USE A CONDOM! Where is this hostility directed? Les Pappas, whose agency, Better World Advertising, created and designed the campaign, tells us, if you are weak, submissive then you are a bitch. You do whatever you are told kind of thing. Where is he meeting these bitches? We could tell him a thing or two. By reasserting stereotypical notions equating femininity with passivity, the Department of Public Health is rolling back decades of bitches fiercely confronting male power. This ad campaign claims to be an appeal to men of color, but is really a racist white sexual fantasy where all black men are hypermasculine gangstas on the prowl. This furthers the same myths that have justified generations of lynchings, mass incarceration, and police terrorism in neighborhoods of color. How will these same lies now keep men of color safe? This ad campaign makes effeminate queer black men, gender non-conformists and trannies invisible or powerless, fostering the same media distortions that assert that queers of color don't exist. How can a campaign with these dangerous assumptions foster safer sex? In actuality, the messages of this campaign discourage people of color from challenging authority through gender transgression and bitchiness. By championing masculinity as a cure, the Department of Public Health and Better World Advertising fail to address the real issues of HIV prevention. Bitchiness isn't the problem. The problem is a gay male sexual culture that enforces mandatory adherence to masculinist gender norms as the only option for desirability. Masculinity doesn't protect anyone from HIV. What we need is a sexual culture that encourages respect, open communication, flamboyance, gender transgression, creativity, collective pressure, celebration, experimentation, and transformation. Turn it out, honey BE A BITCH. Gay Shame: A Virus in the System.