Does TOM stereotype?

2nd April 2014, 11:53 pm

It appears all of Tom of Finland’s men – Black and White and in-between – have huge cocks and big butts. Is he stereotyping Gays? Does that mean we really all have bigger dicks than Straights?? (Let ‘em think we do…)

What Tom didn’t draw were stereotypes they put on us. Society chose to type Homosexuals as weak, girly, lesser than – thereby controllable. Tom made us strong and self-assured; we could be anything we wanted to be – cops, soldiers, sportsmen, bikers – rock stars, performers – anything.

TOM’s Men, as we call them, would “top” at the beginning of a story and “bottom” a few pages later. Tom drew Black masters with White slaves. And White masters with Black slaves. He went out of his way to break down the “I-don’t-suck-dick-I’m-a-top” mold we even imposed on ourselves.

Tom drew hardcore scenes, and soft and tender relationships – partners always satisfied… We see unbelievable chests and ridiculous waists. He drew fuck buddies and lovers lost. He drew men-lovin’-men and men-lovin’-women. He showed us interracial sex long before you saw it in Hetero culture. TOM’s Men are European, American, African and mixed (and yes, even Asian, Native and Latino).


TOM OF FINLAND (Touko Laaksonen, Finnish, 1920 – 1991), Untitled, 1990, Pastel on paper, ToFF #90.03, © 1990 Tom of Finland Foundation

In the work above, the Leatherman has a somewhat substantial pouch (I’ve see bigger at 665),  his “bubble” doesn’t appear to be over-inflated – kind of a regular guy (OK, some would kill for those abs). Multiculturalism and “colorblindness” bring with them a new complexity of issues. Tom drew fantasies, gods, our heroes, our friends, and the kind of people we would like to know – and be.

Tom of Finland is not easy to type cast – except as a great liberator.

-Sharp, VP | Curator, ToFF



Published: 2nd April 2014


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