Wednesday, January 16, 2013

word of the day: twinky

context: "[T]he Twilight phenomenon activates ... intense [negative] passions among the Comic-Con crowd ... it's telling that many of the same folks who pitch a fit over a couple of twinky, sparkly boy vampires ... hav[e] no problem with ... naked girl vampires and sexually depraved demons ..."

twinky (see twink)

twink: An attractive, boyish-looking, young ... man. The stereotypical twink is 18-22, slender with little or no body hair, often blonde ... A twink is the gay answer to the blonde bimbo cheerleader.

The definition is via the Urban Dictionary. There is no definition for twink at or at (unless it's hiding in their "unabridged" version).

I first heard “twink” not long after I came out, age twenty, and was at my twinkiest, I suppose. This was mid-80s. Not long after I heard it for the first time I think an older gay man (30s? 40s?) called me a twink and I felt insulted. Or maybe he called a friend of mine a twink. I don’t really remember. But “twink” didn’t sound like a compliment to me. I wasn’t really sure what it meant, but it sounded belittling, dismissive. Was it derived from “twinkle”? That sounds like a version of a gay slur. (Or a camp term of endearment?)

When at some point I wondered aloud about the word’s etymology, I was told it came from the Hostess Twinkie, which is long and firm and full of cream. That, at least, was funny.

So here it is twenty-five years later and for the first time I come across “twink” in a non-gay context. The author of this book on the San Diego Comic-Con is married to a woman, but clearly his life experience has been informed by gay culture. Although he’s my age he takes for granted that his readers will know what “twinky” means. It’s not a typo. He didn’t intend to write “twinkly.” You wouldn’t say, “twinkly, sparkly.” That would just be redundant. And the shirtless, hairless torsos of the youthful stars of the Twilight series display the qualities of twinks so the word is apropos. Nor would it be a surprise that the sexual objectification of the idealized youthful male body might make the nerdy straight boys of Comic-Con uncomfortable.

source: Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: what the world's wildest trade show can tell us about the future of entertainment by Rob Salkowitz


David Lee Ingersoll said...

I was watching DYLAN DOG the other night. It's about a private eye who deals with vampires, werewolves and zombies. It had some amusing bits but mostly it was a lot of stuff I'd already seen before. Many times before. In many other other movies and tv shows. And suddenly, sparkly vampires stopped bothering me. The whole "vampires die in sunlight" thing is a 20th century addition to the "lore". Why the hell shouldn't vampires sparkle? It's different. Different isn't always better but jeez, there's plenty more to complain about in TWILIGHT than pretty sparkly vampires.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Do it well and you can do anything. (Yes, I'm not the Oz purist I used to be.)

I've caught snippets of Twilight movies as Kent channel-surfs and I've picked up Twilight books to read random passages - such bites have not as yet led to the full meal. There are plenty of things to see & read and the tidbits haven't suggested the whole worth my time & attention.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

I don't recommend them. I watched the first three movies because Sarah enjoyed the books. I was clearly not the target audience for these stories. I did like the giant werewolves when they were being wolves. When they were human they were as interesting as the rest of the characters.