A Message for the Fuckbois
Written by: Kay Martinez
“I heard you were a Fuckboi,” my friend told me in passing. “Who me? Couldn’t be!” I said immediately. I never did find out who said it but I’ve been in self-reflection ever since. Am I a Fuckboi? How do you examine your Fuckboiness? Urban Dictionary, like most things, provides a useless white cis heteronormative frame. Nah, I’m not a white guy “banging chicks.” So where’s an Afro-Latinx gender non conforming masc person who still has a relationship with their womanhood like me to begin?
The “boi” in Fuckboi I know well. The play on words from boy, for cis men, to boi for masculine/masc Womxn spoke to me. I grew up a tomboy so its always been a part of me. I take offense when cis men and white masc folks refer to themselves as Boi’s because the term originated (as most things) in Black and Brown queer communities. Boi embodies stylish irreverence and a playful swaggy masculine bravado. When Boi’s are harmful to their romantic and/or sexual partners, and to themselves— you’re a fuckboi.
In “A FUCKBOI IS A FUCKBOI IS A FUCKBOI IS A FUCKBOI” by a Femme in NYC (Maria Lapachet) lists many harmful fuckboi qualities, but here are some:
Lies and does whatever needs to be done to get in your pants.
Rarely asks you who/how you are, what you like/don’t like, or how your day was because they don’t care about you.
Has short attention span. You can explain something to them four times and they still have no idea of what’s going on.
Demands a lot of your time and energy.
Spends most of their time on their phone.
Multidisciplinary creative, Vanessa Newman says:
“When we talk about “Fuckbois” in day to day conversation, the underlying assumptions about these individuals are that they most likely display or practice some form of emotional dissonance, unawareness or un-acknowledgement of one’s own emotional needs and capacities, lack of communication skills and transparency, and internalized heteronormative, performative practices that are internally and/or externally oppressive and toxic.”
Well, fuck, Bois—I do have Fuckboi qualities after all, and the root of Fuckboiness, is misogyny. To speak to the harm Fuckbois do to Black Womxn and Femmes specifically, an exploration of misogynoir as coined by Dr. Moya Bailey and Trudy is necessary. I’m not presuming all Fuckbois date women or femmes because Fuckbois date all identities and harm masc people as well. However, in our patriarchal society which devalues and denigrates Womxn and exalts masculinity, we are all exposed to and normalize harmful and oppressive dynamics which then manifest in to harm inflicted by masc folks directed at folks of all genders. In my case, my Fuckboi qualities have harmed my Femme Womxn partners. I’ve consumed and extracted emotional labor in inequitable ways. I modeled machismo forms of the Latinx masculinity. I grew up with it and am unlearning them at the expense of my partners. In expressing my masculinity, I oppressed the femininity within myself and in my partners. My reluctance to identify the things I’m hurting about and heal them has led me to hurt others.
A Fuckboi Rehab Plan
So how do we stop being Fuckbois? Being a Boi or embracing masculinity in and of itself is not harmful. The goal is to recognize how and when we as Masc folks are harming our partners and to stop harming them by changing our behaviors and practices. Individually, I suggest these steps I’m working on myself. Hurt people hurt others, so we have to identify the things we are hurting about and heal them. Being mindful of reciprocating emotional labor is a big one for me to work on.
Am I asking my partner as much about what they’re going through as they are for me? If I can’t do it in the moment, how will I reciprocate in the future? Am I being honest and in tune with myself? If not, how can I tell my partners about my capacity? Am I acting in ways that are best for me without consideration of my partner? How am I nurturing Womxn and Femmes around me and not extracting from them? How am I nurturing my own femininity?
Collectively, Masc folks are calling each other out and in to work and heal. The Brooklyn Community Pride Center hosts events like Redefining Soft, which is a 2-day healing event for Masculine of center womxn and trans men. More spaces like these will lead us to doing the necessary transformative work.
We’re all a work in progress and we can be better, Bois.