This Meme Of Prince George Has Been Labelled “Gay” And It’s Made A LOT Of People Angry
26 July 2017, 12:42 | Updated: 26 July 2017, 13:11
People are upset but they've totally misunderstood the intentions
Last weekend the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took a five-day visit to Poland and Germany to do royal things like posing for pictures and visiting places for no apparent reason. But it was their son, Prince George, that really stole the show thanks to this one picture.
After being invited on to a helicopter, Prince George couldn't contain his excitement. Immaculately dressed in a checkered shirt tucked into to his navy shorts, with his knees slightly bent and his hands clasping his face in utter joy, the photo quickly became a meme. The image struck a chord with gay men in particular, many of whom felt the innocence of George's feminine pose reminded them of their own childhood.
Bae: H-— Caoimhín (@KevInJuly) July 24, 2017
The Carly Rae Jepsen fans were all over it...
Me when I hear the sax start in Run Away With Me pic.twitter.com/BPGegN77B7— Brodes (@_Brodes) July 24, 2017
...and the Ari stans too.
When I hear Into You playing in a shop, restaurant or from a car driving past pic.twitter.com/Eb2b9qFQvw— Raf (@rafayagha) July 22, 2017
When Mom said I could finally quit the soccer team pic.twitter.com/K3jLMEtDWE— ᴍɪᴄʜᴀᴇʟ sᴡᴀʀᴛᴢ (@MrMichaelSwartz) July 21, 2017
Other tweets appeared to speculate on Prince George's sexuality because of the camp/effeminate pose that George has in the photo.
the future queen of England pic.twitter.com/IXJoZtxl2S— Lee McVeigh (@LeeMcVeigh) July 22, 2017
The Queen is dead. Long live the queen. pic.twitter.com/St0jbDy4H0— Jake Johnstone (@hijakejohnstone) July 22, 2017
Guys what if Prince George is gay and it causes a constitutional crisis? pic.twitter.com/vlb6q4QqKC— Jason Toups (@jasonptoups) July 22, 2017
That made some some people very uncomfortable. They felt it was wrong to project a sexual identity onto a 4-year-old boy. Others felt these tweets were mocking George, similar to the homophobic bullying many effeminate men face during their school years.
V v uncomfortable with all the people sharing that photo of Prince George and calling him gay. You're sexualising a four year old...— Alex (@alexjxmes) July 22, 2017
I'm EXTREMELY uncomfortable— Adam R (@MrAdamR) July 22, 2017
seeing the sea of gay men
making a meme of that
Prince George photo
We should be better than that
He is a CHILD
not to get discoursey on this fine evening but this thing of making gay jokes abt prince george cos hes limp wristed in a pic is a bit— rick and morto (@DylanTeeBH) July 22, 2017
This being Twitter, there was a backlash against the backlash. Some argued that people were only uncomfortable with the idea of Prince George being gay because they were homophobic, or because they viewed effeminate behaviour in men as a negative thing.
Only if you see being gay or camp as a negative and intend it as such. https://t.co/aFGMUvSUPC— bussy summers (@Conortroversial) July 23, 2017
it's not really homophobic if i think being gay & camp is positive. i like this photo because i see my young self in it— Topnotch Boochington (@mothballsoup) July 24, 2017
Speculating on the sexuality of a child isn't cute. As someone who is gay and was often intrusively questioned about my sexuality when I didn't want, or know how, to talk about it, I can understand how stressful that experience can be.
That said, there is a nuance being lost here. As Louis Staples so articulately wrote in the New Statesmen, the reaction to this photo isn’t really about sexuality; it’s about the innocence of childhood. It's about the time before boys experience 'shame' for being effeminate and are taught to be masculine. The time when you are free to enjoy the things you like without the fear of prejudice, only because you have no conception of it yet.
When I see Prince George in that photo, I'm reminded of how much I liked gymnastics at primary school, only to later learn that it was considered a sport for girls, and so the other kids would be mean to me about it. Eventually I stopped.
Most of the posts I've seen are about a nostalgia for a purer time when being masculine or feminine didn't matter. That doesn't seem like a bad thing to me.