OPINION: Skinny, racist white people will hate on Phastos. Don’t read the comments.

Don’t read the comments. Don’t read the comments. Don’t read the comments. Don’t read the comments. Don’t read the comments. Don’t read the comments. Don’t read the comments. 

This is something I tell myself all the time when reading articles, especially articles discussing controversial and polarizing topics of the day. Nevertheless, I always end up reading the comments. 

I don’t know why I do it to myself. Maybe I like to be angry or upset. Maybe I like to argue. Maybe I like to have things to write about in my next think piece. Whatever, the case… I read the comments this time, and I have a lot to say. 

As many of us know, the next Marvel film, The Eternals, will feature the MCU’s first gay superhero and first ever gay kiss. The character Phastos will be depicted as a gay man on film by Black actor Brian Tyree Henry, with a husband who he undoubtedly will get a chance to kiss. I’ve read reports that the entire cast cried on set during the filming of this kiss. It’s definitely a mood and a moment. 

However, not everyone sees it that way, apparently. I read a few articles about this film and then scrolled down to the comments to see what people had to say. “Why is a fat, ugly Black man playing Phastos, who is supposed to be sexy?” read one comment. “How fucking insulting!!! So the gay man is going to be an out of shape fug? This is deliberate to make him as asexual as possible.” *Huge, deep sigh* 

I can’t say that I didn’t expect to read comments like these. And, to be honest, I haven’t even read about this on Twitter or anything. These are just a few comments under an article from last year, so I can just imagine the cesspool of negativity that’s floating around on Twitter. Do I even want to go there?

Anyway, we all know what the two main underlying causes of this type of thinking are — fatphobia and racism. Gayming Magazine’s Aimee Hart so lovely tackled the subject in the article Your problem with God of War’s Thor is because of fatphobia. In the article, Aimee highlights the fact that people have this deeply ingrained and problematic idea that fat people are lazy, disgusting, gluttonous and even evil. No one has a problem when fat characters are portrayed as lazy sidekicks who gorge themselves on food and can barely walk, such as Resident Evil 8’s The Duke, or even when the villain is a gross, stinky, farting blob of mess, such as Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. But a fat person as a superhero? Who’s going to believe that, right? 

The answer is that anyone with half a brain who knows anything other than what the media loves to shove down their throats knows that being large is actually a more accurate portrayal of what a strong superhero is supposed to look like. Honestly. Has anyone ever watched a World’s Strongest Man competition? Have you seen those guys? Yes, many of them have huge muscles, but they are also QUITE plump, with big bellies and… Ok, I’ll stop there because it’s getting really warm in here as I type. But, you get the point. 

Why would anyone think it’s “unrealistic” to assume that a superhero can look like something else other than a slender guy with a few tiny muscles and abs? I mean, if they’re going tobe doing shit like knocking buildings down with their bare hands, then why isn’t it safe to assume that they are going to need some GIRTH behind it? Why can’t people imagine that this is possible? I’ll tell you why… Fatphobia. It’s that simple. 

And I haven’t even addressed the use of the word “Black” as a negative descriptor for Brian Tyree Henry’s Phastos portrayal. Because, well, obviously we Black people aren’t attractive, right? We’ve addressed this problem, even within the Bear community. We Black men are looked at as less attractive in many gay circles, but for some reason my apps are always pinging, mostly with white guys who will literally stalk me if I don’t answer within the first 30 seconds. So there seems to be a bit of a disparity here between the number of comments I see declaring Black people as unattractive and the number of DMs I get from desperate white bottoms looking for anal reconstructive surgery. Someone’s hiding something. Someone’s in denial.

There’s so much to unpack there, including the fact that many white people are severely threatened and intimidated by Black beauty and feel as though they must keep us down in order to keep others from noticing their own mediocrity. This is the reason why so many people will say these horrible things about Black people or fat people, and then slide into our DMs when no one is looking. If you wanted some dick, you should have just said that instead of being a hater in the comments section.

But hey, it doesn’t matter… I will no longer read the comments about Phastos. Skinny, racist white people are going to do what skinny, racist white people do best — hate.

Kyle Jackson

Kyle Jackson (He/Him) is Senior Staff Writer at Gray Jones Media, and additionally works as a writer, editor and theatre artist/actor. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, he studied at Dillard University, received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, an MS in Arts Administration from Drexel University, and completed the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Programme in 2017. Having lived in Baltimore, the Washington, DC area, Philadelphia and New York City, he now resides and works in London, United Kingdom.