Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Homophobia and Aggressive Inline

   You know I hadn't really given this thought until now, but a bunch of the insults thrown at my Aggressive Rollerblading brethren (or whatever you want to call it) are also homophobic. And also inline skating itself in any form seems to be associated with homosexuality. When did this happen? And now that I think about it double-fuck the Human Giant joke about it for being both ignorant and homophobic. This is how stupid homophobia really is, that ignorant and dumb people use it to mock things that aren't remotely related to it. The biggest throwing of stupid insults to rollerblading has been from the skateboarding industry. A so-called "outsider" culture (you are no longer a subculture when your pros can afford "cribs" style houses and people use your image to sell car insurance) that should fucking know better. 
  I think what has happened here is really pretty simple and a story so old its become a cliche. Skateboarders are now the jocks of the extreme sports genre, and rollerbladers are the nerds. And what do jocks do to nerds? By extension, what does any part of mainstream culture do to something deemed uncool? We shit on it, push it into the edges of society. And homophobic language is still, despite all the supposed work towards "acceptance," used to demean anything that is deemed as lesser. So rollerbladers become fruitbooters, rappers still use the word "fag," and fucking idiot jock douchebags coming out of a Knicks game beat the shit out of two gay men in broad daylight outside Madison Square Garden. And those same type of homophobic dickwads try to mess with me when I'm on skates for the same reason. I am in no way trying to equate the two, just pointing out that intolerance doesn't always just effect the minority being persecuted, it can also effect people who are only vaguely associated with it.


  1. There's a documentary that talks about some of the social context for this phenomenon. Inline skating exploded in the early 90's, leading to a rash of people crashing/apropriating established skateboard culture. At the same time the skateboard industry started perceiving a threat from all the inline skaters, and started pushing the "fruitbooter" slurs in media. Eventually the inline fad dies out, but kids still hold onto the "fruitbooter" slurs. It bugs me threefold: it bugs me that I can't watch an inline speedskating video (nothing to do with the inline vs skateboard conflict) without random homophobic slurs, it bugs me that my chosen hobby is attacked as being less difficult (and by weird extension less masculine) than skateboarding, and it bugs me that this accusation of hypomasculinity even bugs me in the first place. Here's the documentary: "Barely Dead". Not the greatest film, but it has mazing footage and explains the context pretty well.

    1. I actually own Barely Dead, and yeah its a little overwrought but covers the whole skateboarder vs. inliner thing pretty well.