This just in: Online quizzes don’t actually tell you who you are, stereotypes are stereotypical

carrie-bradshaw-computer

If Carrie took a “Which ‘Sex and the City’ Girl Are You?” quiz and got Miranda, would she have to change her byline?

Many of you have taken LGBTeen’s “Which Gay Stereotype Are You?” quiz, and a few of you may have seen the Queerty blogger response. This particular blogger was concerned that his brand of “normal” gay (apparently someone who wears jeans and tee shirts, aka, a gender-conforming guy) wasn’t represented in an online quiz aimed at teens based on stereotypes. He was particularly concerned about the fact that, in his infinite normality, he was sorted into the “Closet Case” category. He goes further into explaining each of the possible results (spoiler alert!) and how each possible stereotype outcome is problematic.

“Are these the only options for gays?” he cries out into the abyss of the internet, after detailing his many fundraising walks and admitting he has no clue what a snapback is. Perhaps the word “stereotype” also escaped his grasp.

No, these aren’t the only options for gays. After all, there are an infinite number of ways to be a woman, but if you click on the “Which Sex and the City Girl Are You?” quiz, your result is going to be either a Carrie, a Samantha, a Charlotte, or a Miranda.  Clicking on a quiz named “Which Gay Stereotype Are You?” and complaining that the results are stereotypical and limiting seems to me to be the equivalent of going to a science fiction movie and declaring that what appears on the screen is unrealistic.

For older members of the queer movement, showing that you were in fact defiant of a feminine stereotype was forefront of the struggle to show that they could  not be limited. For us younger folks, the demographic of LGBTeen, the “look at how normal I am!” type of gay person has become, themself, a kind of cliche that many of us wish to distance ourselves from.

From my perspective as a young queer person, laughing at the ridiculousness of stereotypes, reducing and distilling them into the most vapid of media forms, the online personality quiz, is a far more powerful way of dismantling stereotypes than taking them too seriously.

There is a distinct age gap in response to this quiz, with the older folks bristling at it’s “offensiveness” and the younger folks doing just what I believe LGBTeen would like them to do: laugh at the silliness of their results, and move on to the next similar quiz. Because most of the young people understand that this quiz is no more real a representation of who they are than the pop diva spirit animal quiz is. I’m not literally Lana Del Rey, my result, although I rather wish I was.

LGBTeen has since removed the quiz and issued a statement, but in my opinion its a shame we can’t keep laughing at the stereotypes. Each generation of the movement will use different tools and have different goals. Maybe our generation will reveal once and for all how inaccurate and disposable stereotypes are, through laughter and comedy.

But first, I’m going to find out which celebrity I should have a lesbian relationship with.

The short URL of the present article is: http://lgbteen.org/tzJVI

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *