Shakespeare and the Gay Male Gaze
Disclaimer: The photos used are not mine.
On April 27 2015, a series of Youtube videos were published by Men.com, a gay adult film website. The videos were advertisements for a male oral sex simulator called the Autoblow 2. Three gay adult film actors from Men.com were made to read Shakespearean lines while getting stimulated by the sex toy. The videos, containing no frontal nudity, are shown below.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 3 Scene 2
Hamlet Act 3 Scene 1
Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2
The videos coincide with the celebration of World Book and Copyright Day, which is held every 23rd of April. The special day is acknowledged by Men.com, as shown in the description bar of the first video. Below is a background on World Book and Copyright Day, taken from the UN website.
We see how the universal appeal of Shakespeare persists to this day when Men.com used the Bard in their ads to capitalize on the popularity of World Book Day. Aside from Shakespeare, the video creators used the popularity of their gay adult film actors to further market the Autoblow 2. There is a voyeuristic quality to how the brawny actors pleasure themselves while reading, and the demographic of gay males appear to be loving it based on the Youtube comments.
Shakespeare in gay adult films is a rare occurence. A recent example of a movie that adequately features Shakespeare would be Eating Out: Drama Camp (2011). The film’s plot revolves around a gay couple in a drama camp that stages a raunchy version of Taming of the Shrew. Below are some of the film’s promotional materials.
The movie posters alone feature Shakespeare. The second poster shows a line uttered by Katherine while in dialogue with Petruchio in Act 2 of scene 1. Similar to the Autoblow 2 videos, Eating Out: Drama Camp panders to the gay male audience because of the way they feature muscular gay film actors engaging in sexual intimacy. Together, these videos show how Shakespeare continues to reach out to and take root in niche markets or specific audiences. The gay film industry knows that they can rely on Shakespeare in promoting products for consumption by gay male audiences.
By: Clement Fabian Dan D. Español, BA English Studies – Language
University of the Philippines – Diliman
Eating Out: Drama Camp. Dir. Q. Allan Brocka. Ariztical Entertainment, 2011. Film
“World Book and Copyright Day”. United Nations. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.
Note: the original post was deleted by accident last December. The author tried to retrieve the original post, but was only able to retrieve the comment made by Ms. Shara Escorpizo. Shown below is the said comment.