Why I Hate Being A ‘Twink’

I just plain don’t like the word ‘twink’.

I wrote some English coursework once which explored how words beginning with ‘tw’ (as are often used on Twitter) generally sound more playful – twinkle, tweet, etc. It gives an implication of smallness, or childishness, too. Lexically speaking, ‘twink’ is actually very appropriate for what it’s used to describe. The definitions are varying, of course. The Oxford English Dictionary says a ‘twinkie’ (from which ‘twink’ derived) is ‘A male homosexual, an effeminate man; also, a child or youth regarded as an object of homosexual desire’. I’d say, with the rise and prevalence of internet pornography, ‘twink’ became more specified in definition. The common idea of a ‘twink’ in 2013 is probably an attractive, boyish-looking, young and slender hairless gay man.

I have been branded a ‘twink’ many times. It’s usually by other gays on Twitter, or by gentlemen who direct message me and find it some sort of turn on – and who ergo, think it a compliment. What I mainly hate about being labelled this way is that I know I’m being sexualised. I’d probably even go as far as saying I feel objectified. Twinks are shown as these toned, endlessly cock-worshipping, porn-standard hairless guys.

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Alas, I am not one of these bald and sclerotic sex robots. I am a human.

I haven’t been a regular exerciser until recently, so I am not toned and if you saw me naked, you wouldn’t think me particularly thin, nor would you think me fat. I’m generally quite comfortable with the way my body looks, however, because what people generally see of me is my Twitter photo (and I look fairly young, so from what they can see, people naturally assume I’m this ‘twink’ stereotype), I seem to be instantly transformed in their heads to this cookie-cutter twink. I’ve dated guys I’ve met via Twitter, and I honestly believe I’ve seen people disappointed in how I look when they’ve gotten me undressed – because guys tend to affix this unblemished body ideal to my face, and I am set against unrealistically high expectations.

I should probably clarify now and say that there is nothing wrong with having the body of a ‘twink’. I’m just saying that we are all human, and it’s ok to not all look like stereotypes, or look like the media or the porn industry insist we should. Being a ‘twink’ is no better or worse than being a ‘bear’ or an ‘otter’ or any of the other cringeworthy labels us gays are forced to bear. BEAR.  It’s interesting that there are no body labels specific to heterosexual men, isn’t it? I don’t really understand why gays seem to categorise other gays according to body type just because we’re attracted to the same physical sex. The closest thing heterosexual men have, to my knowledge, is just ‘skinny’ and ‘buff’ – but homosexuals also have those labels. Why must we classify ourselves even more? Straight guys don’t get filtered into brands of body, so why must I?

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I am a human and humans grow hair. That is a fact, unless you’re being pedantic about it, in which case we should exclude those with alopecia. My arse grows hair. I have pubic hair. My legs grow hair. And even though this is completely natural, for some reason I am compared to shiny porn twinks, twinks that probably have their body hair removed so they look younger on camera. This has become the expected standard of me. It’s not just women anymore who are ridiculously expected to be pink and hairless – it’s twinks too. We’re supposed to look bare and innocent and quite literally lie back and accept it.

I pride myself on the fact that I’ve never removed body hair specifically to make another man more aroused. We grow the bloody stuff, and it is ours to do with as we want. While I’d like to end this on a strong, abrasive “our bodies are beautiful just the way they are” sort of note, it is difficult. That statement is of course true, but it doesn’t mean we will ever stop being objectified and it doesn’t mean that men won’t just walk off when they find out we’re not all waxed and thin underneath.

It is a sad fact that a lot of men in this world have their standards of physicality set for them by industries rather than by what they’d naturally find attractive, and sadly, us twink-alikes are given the ultimatum between adhering to the stereotype (trying to become toned and hairless, thus apparently increasing our sex appeal) and doing what we want with our bodies and searching madly for someone who’ll want us for something more.

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About Daniel Wren

Vada Magazine staff writer. Interested in travel, news, politics and dating.