“It’s Pronounced Metrosexual:” A refreshingly new approach to identity, stereotyping, prejudice and oppression

On Thursday, Nov. 8, comedian Sam Killermann walked into Higgins 300 and started immediately with, “I’m not gay. A lot of people think I am. It’s annoying… like when I think that I’m dating a girl and it turns out I am just her gay best friend.” Right away, I knew his comedy show was going to be controversially hilarious.

Photo by Louise Sheehan/Gavel Media

Colleen Lavin, A&S ’14, thought that Killermann’s show, "It’s Pronounced Metrosexual," was “a great mix of comedy and useful information.” After the laughter subsided, he backtracked a little bit to talk about his childhood, transitioning to when he first went to college and realized he could “reinvent himself.”

When Killermann started college at Purdue, it was the first time he ever realized that people might mistakenly think he was gay.

This problem began when he thought he was dating a girl for three weeks, so he tried  to “take it to the next level” by making their relationship F.B.O., since Facebook was becoming popular at this point. Her response was one of total confusion: “What? You’re gay.” He was confused, too, considering that they had made out several times. She said, “I just thought that’s what all gay guys did.”

Throughout college, Killermann liked to ask people why they thought he was gay. He painted another scenario at Purdue, when a girl came up to him to say, “You’re cute, it’s too bad you're gay.” He laughed it off and asked why. She told him, “You look clean” and “talk good.”

He hilariously explained his confusion over the two qualifications that supposedly made him appear gay to others: making out with girls, and dressing and talking well.

Photo by Louise Sheehan/Gavel Media

Killermann then discussed stereotypes, more specifically positive stereotypes, such as the idea that black people are better athletes. He explained that these positive stereotypes “create an unreal expectation.” If someone is already marginalized and can’t even fit into a set of positive stereotypes, that person is left with even less to identify with.

He later went on to tell the story of his first time hearing the word metrosexual. In the middle of one of his comedy shows, a man stood up in the crowd and yelled, “Are you gay?” Killermann explained that he wasn’t, only to have another woman stand up and say, “Um… it’s pronounced metrosexual.” Hence, the title of this event. Killermann explained that this word, although stereotypical, finally gave him a group to identify with.

He did acknowledge that he could not pretend to be above prejudice, and he doesn’t believe anyone else is either. We have all been taught things throughout our lives that may cause us to make snap judgments, but there is a thin line between prejudice and discrimination. Killermann explained that this is “where we have the most power as an individual” because if we can choose to let those snap judgments go into our head, we can also choose to have them go right back out. But if we act on those prejudices, that is when people actually become discriminatory.

He clarified that one person can discriminate, but one person cannot oppress. Oppression happens on a system-wide level, and a group of audience members read off a multitude of facts about oppression, which occurs all the time within the LGBTQ community. Oppression occurs even in the name of LGBTQ because “LGB” is a description of sexual attraction while “T,” transgendered, is a gender difference.

Photo by Louise Sheehan/Gavel Media

What can we do to stop discrimination and oppression? Killermann says the Golden Rule -- treat others the way you want to be treated -- needs to be turned around because “people want to be treated differently.” So, all we should do is ask someone how he or she wants to be treated and then treat him or her that way. This he calls the Platinum Rule, and although it seems like common sense, if everyone truly stuck to this concept we could all make a world’s difference.

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