British male model, David Gandy, covers Esquire Malyasia, and is the featured subject of the issue. I’d considered making this post about the article but, in all honesty, it really wasn’t that interesting. The writing style often switches from either overly flowery to tedious, and an attempt to make Gandy seem wise and opinionated does little but make the male model come off as elitist and arrogant. Now, I know nothing substantial about David Gandy, so I have no idea if that’s what he’s really like in person. I’m just saying that that’s the air that is given off by the article, which could either be the fault of the writing, or the fault of the reading, in which case there’d be no one to blame but myself. However, very often while reading the article, I kept thinking to myself, ‘but why is he making such a big deal about this?’ Considering the fact that Gandy and I are in completely different fields, age groups and countries, we would no doubt have very different views on many things. Still, though, things which seemed monumentally egregious to him elicited nothing more than a ‘meh, ok’ from me. And this is what I’d like to discuss: learning to pick your battles in spite of your opinions.
Many of you know that I’m all for someone having strong opinions. As long as you don’t use your beliefs to hurt others or justify others being hurt, I say stick to your convictions! However, having strong opinions about any particular topic doesn’t mean that you need to challenge everyone who thinks differently than you do. As much as we have the right to our beliefs, someone else is just as entitled to a contrasting opinion, and the existence of both these opinions in the world is okay.
Here’s an example from the article. Evidently, some time ago, Gandy had attended some fashion show in which the models were made to walk down the runway wearing fences across their faces. Gandy thought that it was such a ridiculous notion that he complained bitterly and publicly, and it got him banned from certain events. His argument was that moves like these painted the fashion world in a moronic light and further contributed to the contempt with which people view it. In all honesty, I understand his argument. The truth is, I’d probably think the idea had been stupid too had I witnessed it. However, it didn’t necessarily mean that he had to publicly bash the idea or the designer. Really, designers, photographers, models and very many other people in the fashion industry are constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas to push the boundaries of fashion in ways that appear more than a little idiotic to the rest of us. After all, isn’t that what The Devil Wears Prada taught us? It’s been happening since the beginning of the fashion, and it is nothing new. So it wasn’t as if this one isolated fence incident suddenly made us start scoffing at the fashion world. It’s great that he had his opinion and better that he has the bravery to admit it but, in the grand scheme of things, was this really a battle which needed fighting?
I’ll take this moment to use an example of Joan Rivers. First off, how awful is it that she is in the condition that she is now? I sincerely hope that she’s able to pull through. I love Joan Rivers. I’ve always thought that she was hilarious and even though she’s often been accused of being crude and insulting, I don’t believe that she’s ever meant any malice by it. A few months ago, everyone was up in arms over a joke that she’d made about President Obama being gay and the First Lady Michelle being a tranny. I’d read the story on about three different sites before actually watching the video and, from the very first time that I’d read it, I thought that she’d gone too far because the way the stories were written made it seem that she was being offensive not only to the president and first lady, but to the LGBT community as a whole. Then I finally watched the video and I swear to you, I legitimately laughed out loud and then thought ‘is this what people are getting so worked up about?’ To this day I genuinely believe that the majority of the people who were angered by her comments either didn’t bother watching the video, or just wanted an excuse to be self-righteously pissed off. A fair minority, I suspect, may have been sincerely offended by her use of the word ‘tranny’, just like they were with RuPaul, and that’s another prime example.
I, personally, would never use the word tranny to describe someone. It isn’t because I think that the word is inherently offensive. I just understand that there are people who are offended by it, and I respect that. However, we need to understand that something being offensive and someone being offended are not necessarily the same thing! Recently, the word tranny has come to be perceived as a slur against transgender individuals. However, traditionally, the term was more one of endearment within the drag queen community. Does that mean that the word should be seen any less as an insult today? Probably not. But it also doesn’t mean that everyone who uses it is doing so to be insulting, and I think that to call RuPaul transphobic or offensive is a bit extreme.
This is how I see it: right now, the accepted vernacular for a homosexual is ‘gay’. This doesn’t mean that it will be the same always and, for all we know, three years from now, this word will also come to be seen as a homophobic slur. Now, let’s say that Beyoncé – who, if Tumblr is any indication, was evidently selected supreme leader of all gay men – one day uses the word ‘gay’ to refer to one of her homosexual fans in an interview. You can imagine how some people will react. This doesn’t mean that Beyoncé has suddenly become homophobic and it would be ridiculous to erase all her years of support and love for her gay fans just because some people get offended.
My point is this: there is nothing wrong with having your opinion, and there’s nothing wrong with fighting for something that you believe in. however, it is important to know how aggressively you choose to fight, and who exactly you decide to battle against. Because, I can assure you, there will be people out there who genuinely want to hurt you and will say things for the sole purpose of offending you. So, it’s necessary that you save your energy to battle them instead of someone who meant no harm in their words. Educate who needs to be educated, and spread your message where it is willing to be heard, but learn to pick your battles. Otherwise, are you fighting for something… or are you just fighting?
Check out more pics of David Gandy’s spread in Esquire Malaysia. Someone in the article mentioned that the man gets better looking with age, and these pics absolutely prove that.