April 9, 2010

Karl Lagerfeld is against gay marriage "for a very simple reason."

See if it's simple enough for you to understand...
In the 60's, they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life. For me it’s difficult to imagine — one of the papas at work and the other at home with the baby. How would that be for the baby? I don’t know. I see more lesbians married with babies than I see boys married with babies. And I also believe more in the relationship between mother and child than in that between father and child.
... because I can't understand it.


JAL said...

Perhaps it suffers in translation?

wv agrine
I ain't agrine one way or tother.

oldirishpig said...

I can't remember who said it, but "No matter how thin you slice it, it's still balogna."

traditionalguy said...

Does this mean he is a Homosexual traditionalist, and he cannot see why the young folks would want something else?

edutcher said...

tg may have something in the idea of the difference between gay and homosexual, gay being a more flagrant, profligate way (cruising, etc.) - as I am given to understand.

The concept of gayness in that context would be antithetical to marriage as understood to be one to one till death do them part.

My $.02, which may be totally beside the point.

jaltcoh said...

"I see more lesbians married with babies than I see boys married with babies. And I also believe more in the relationship between mother and child than in that between father and child."

If he believes this, I'd think that would incline him in favor of same-sex marriage. If he thinks the most important parental bond is mother and child, and most same-sex marriages with children would be lesbian marriages, then same-sex marriage (insofar as children are being raised) will mainly lead to those mother-child relationships that he's such a fan of.

Of course, his whole argument is totally ridiculous. But it's not even coherently ridiculous.

Scott said...

Only old people wear his shit anyway.

El Pollo Real said...

"Karl Lagerfeld" sound like a great name for a beer.

gbarto said...

traditionalguy has it right, I think. For those who came out of the closet before the era of NTTAWWT, being an open homosexual wasn't just a matter of choosing partners of the same sex; it was a socially transgressive act.

The early gay rights activists fought for the right to be different.

The push for gay marriage is a fight for the right to be the same.

In our efforts to turn gays into just one more boring slice of American diversity, we take away the exoticism of homosexuality so that it's no longer something special. Once you get gay marriage, it's not even a lifestyle choice, because gays wind up choosing the same lifestyle as everyone else. Every time a gay man gets married and raises responsible children with his husband, the spirit of Castro Street SF fades away a little more. Lagerfeld understands this, which is why he opposes gay marriage. I totally get this, because as a cynical libertarian with conservative tendencies, this is exactly why I favor gay marriage.

David said...

It means that the guy is an incendiary, a born contrarian, who delights in stirring things up. Gotta like the guy.

He thinks gays are supposed to be edgy rebels not mainstream conformists.

Of course he would be broke without the money of mainstream conformists.

Methadras said...

He could be the old style homosexual who thinks that from a traditional point of view, homosexuals shouldn't partake in what is heterosexual culture as opposed to what is homosexual. He compartmentalizes it by evoking parental roles to make his point. He's for homosexuals being homosexuals and not wanting a part in traditionalism.

Ann Althouse said...

He's 71.

Triangle Man said...

Sort of Sartre meets family values? If you're different, then don't try to be un-different, and the overlap of homosexuality and femininity stops short of maternal instincts?

Maxine Weiss said...

Or, he could have meant men, in general, as marriage & children doesn't benefit men as much as it benefits women.

If it weren't for modern conventions, duty and obligation....I'm not sure any male would get married.


Maxine Weiss said...



peter hoh said...

Translation: I'm not capable of seeing this issue from any other perspective than my own.

peter hoh said...

Maxine, though the science isn't cut and dried, the consensus is that marriage benefits men more than it benefits women.

Seven Machos said...

This is an easy one. In the part you chose, he is saying:

1. It used to be that gay people wanted to have the right to live their own unique gay lives when society was adamantly insisted on infringing on that. Now, gay people do, in fact, have the freedom they sought. However, it is gay people who are adamantly insisted on infringing on normal, traditional bourgeois lifestyle.. In an ideal world, we have a monogamous heterosexual couple raising children.

3. The next-best ideal is a mother raising children. Fathers are not essential the way mothers are.

I speculate that most people in the United States agree with everything this person said, whoever he is.

Seven Machos said...

Peter -- I agree and disagree. I think that there is no question that marriage benefits men more than women in the long term, from an objective point of view. However, I am certain that deep in the cockles of their hearts, in places most men refuse to go, men believe on a day-to-day basis that monogamous marriage is the most bullshit institution ever invented.

I also note that in our American society (the only one I can truly speak for), it is women who dream about weddings and get all giddy about them. Men don't.

I'm not sure what to make of those observations in non-book-length form, but there they are.

EDH said...

I tend to shrug at if not agree with some of Largerfeld's traditional opinions, so I definitely think he should be free to express them, but I do not find them especially persuasive arguments against "gay marriage."

The effect on case law is the reason I support civil unions over same sex marriage, at least for the time being.

Calypso Facto said...

Seven(?) Machos: I like your explanation, but your counting is suspect in that first post. Are you SURE you've got SEVEN (7) Machos after all?!? Teasing!

Seven Machos said...

Yeah, I saw that after I posted it. Not sure what happened.

However, my policy is to always leave up the stupid errors I make and also the egregiously-poorly-thought-out opinions I sling up on the fly.

peter hoh said...

Seven, marriages and weddings are not the same thing. You can have one without the other, as our blog host demonstrated.

Seven Machos said...

But, Peter, are women really just all excited about the day and the event itself? I think they are much more into the institution as well.

Also, I add that we are speaking in generalizations, as we must when we speak of men and women.

Calypso Facto said...

That's half the fun, right? Create an argument from the hip! Well, you usually do a thoughtful job of it, which I appreciate.

And with that, I'm outta here. Night all.

Jim said...

Seven -

I have to vehemently disagree with your contention that "men aren't necessary" to the raising of a child.

If you've ever met a child who grew up without a father (or at the very least, a father figure), then you'd never make such an assertion.

Women are women, and men are men and each brings a certain something to the balanced rearing of a child. It may be that in a homosexual relationship where one partner takes on the more traditionally male role, and the other the feminine role; there may exist some sort of slapdash substitution which may prove sufficiently adequate.

However, despite all assertions to the contrary, there has never been an adequate study of the long-term effects on children who are products of same-sex unions, nor of single parents. What studies do exist focus primarily on the subjective feelings of the grown child - not the true mental health of the grown adult.

For example, in a recent example of morbidly obese women - to a person, they all either had absentee fathers or lost them at a very young age. Subjectively, they regarded themselves in fine mental health; but if you've overeaten over the time period required to tip the scales at over 400 pounds, then there's little question that you most certainly are not.

And that's just one example. Look at the success of programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters which seek - in most cases - to provide surrogate parenting in the absence of a second (usually male) parent.

And so on, and so on.

Chip Ahoy said...

I have some of his cologne *whispers* it isn't very good.

Penny said...

“... because I can't understand it.”

And therein lay the operative words…I CANNOT UNDERSTAND…

His words were simple enough to understand, so surely that wasn’t the problem.
Maybe you didn’t understand what his reasoning was, although I surely doubt that.

Is it because you disagree with him? And if you disagree with someone, there can be no understanding?

That just doesn’t sound like you, Althouse.

So I have to ask, what is it, exactly, that you don’t understand?

Seven Machos said...

Jim -- It is no my contention that fathers are not necessary to raising children. I was trying to explain what this man was saying using other, better words.

I don't think there's any question that fathers are vital to raising children. Thus, we have the bullshit construct that is the institution of monogamous marriage. I was raised in a single-parent household. I am a lesser man for it. No question at all.

Having said that, if you had to choose one parent -- Mom or Dad -- to raise a hypothetical kid, you would most likely choose Mom. Most people would. That's why you see fathers' rights attorneys out there and few, if any, mothers' rights attorneys. What's to fight for? I say this with the full force of decades of American common law behind me. And common law is, after all, what reasonable people would make the law, anyway.

Bruce Hayden said...

Frankly, I am more worried about the kids raised by two Lesbians than by two gay males. Why? While we haven't seen any studies yet about two party single sex parenting, there is plenty of evidence out there about single parent single sex (by necessity) parenting, and it repeatedly shows that women shouldn't be allowed to raise kids without having men involved in the child rearing, and preferably in the household. Whereas many women seem to fail miserably at raising kids by themselves, the men who do so have a much higher success rate, not all that different from the results of kids raised in a two parent two sex family.

For any women out there who have, or are now, raising kids without a father in the household, I am talking averages, and not specific instances. Plenty of women can do a good job at raising kids by themselves. But statistically, kids raised without a father have a far higher likelihood of failing in life.

downtownlad said...

Sounded like he's against it for himself, not necessarily for others. Which is a non-issue. He certainly sounded supportive of it for lesbians. I'd have to read the whole interview in the original language. We all know that Fox News is pure propaganda, so we really have no idea how he actually feels on the subject.

downtownlad said...

Actually Bruce - there have been studies. And children of gay parents turn out fine.

And these are lesbians we are talking about - so the kids are going to have two masculine role models. It'll be non-stop softball for those kids.

Penny said...

"I have some of his cologne *whispers* it isn't very good."

Well-meaning friends buying you major label cologne to impress you, Chip? lol

Hey, I've been the recipient of same AND the giver of same. Just not for a long time now.

You might not have liked Lagerfeld's cologne, but in an extremely competitive field, this guy rose to the top of the house of Coco Chanel, which had perfumes the like of Chanel No.5. To this day, it remains on the top of any list of perfumes.

Did he get there because he was gay? Or maybe because he was different?

My guess is that he landed that job because he was better than his competition at the time, mostly coupled with a heaping load of elbow grease and self-made luck.

He sure didn't get that chance because of Affirmative Action or any Equal Rights legislation.

He had talent; he got a chance; he made the best of it.

And now, people are writing entire articles about his answer to ONE question that they asked, and praise the lord, he chose to answer! Dare we talk about how that ONE question and answer will work its "magic", or "black magic", if you prefer, around a shitload of entertainment TV shows and blogs?

That Karl Lagerfeld, he's "different", but he isn't quite Coco Chanel. ;)

eve said...

Seven Machos: No fathers needed for childraising, that's for sure. Look at how splendidly its worked for the black "community."

Meade said...

He doesn't understand this whole business of gays wanting to be straight. If you're gay, be gay. And if you care about a particular child, just contribute to a scholarship fund for the child - don't clutter up your life and the life of the child by trying to help raise him or you could end up mental, putting the poor kid on a one-way flight back to Siberia. Now who would that help?

Leland said...

I read it the same as Seven Machos.

1) Homosexuality used to be the right to live a different lifestyle.

2) Now it is the right to live the lifestyle. (He seems against this)

3) Lesbians might be able to raise children, but not Gay men. (Support for why he's against 2)

Caveat: That's how I think I read it. And though I admit they are my views of interpretation, they are not my views of the situation.

tim maguire said...

So he must favor lesbian marriage while opposing gay marriage. And he does it because he has sexist notions of child rearing. What a guy!

I'm a stay at home dad (temporarily, hopefully) with a gainfully employed wife. Where does that put my marriage on his scale? Should I get divorced and my wife become a single mother on welfare so our child can be raised by a woman?

Meade said...

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev strongly condemned the family’s actions, telling ABC News that the boy “fell into a very bad family.”

“It is a monstrous deed on the part of his adoptive parents, to take the kid and virtually throw him out with the airplane in the opposite direction and to say, ‘I’m sorry I could not cope with it, take everything back’ is not only immoral but also against the law,” Mr. Medvedev said.

Speaking of monstrous deeds, what kind of nation allows their orphans to be adopted into other nations? Medvedev needs to take a long look into his own mirror of morality and law.

knox said...

He's 71, it's not surprising that he views things this way. Shoot, I have had young friends who are gay and are for gay marriage, but realize (with some regret) that in doing so, they are giving up the "We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used to It!!" claim to rebellion and/or edginess.

knox said...

OT, but Lagerfeld is in the Valentino documentary, which is great and very much worth watching if you are at all interested in Fashion.

Michael Hasenstab said...

So what?

Karl Lagerfeld has the same right to his opinion as you do yours.

That your opinion and his opinion regarding gay marriage are not identical should be unimportant to you, unless your version of liberality is that everyone must hold the same opinion of gay marriage, and that opinion should be identical to yours.

Fred4Pres said...

He is German and Karl Lagerfeld. That is all you need to know.

John said...

He is saying two things Ann. First, he is saying that if you wanted to be tied down with a wife and kids, you probably wouldn't chose to be gay. There is more to being gay than just liking men for sex. There was at least back in the 60s and 70s a gay lifestyle. And it was a way to drop out of Bourgeouis values. And this guy can't see how many guy men are no going to re-opt back into those values.

Back before Andrew Sullivan went insane, he made his mark agruing that gay marriage was necessary because it would give gay men a reason to behave more responsibly. A lot of people on the gay left rightfully called him on that. A lot of gay men don't want to behave "responsibly" and don't want a traditional life. This guy is just restating that fact.

Second, he is saying that a child needs a mother. Two men, no matter how efeminate one of them is, is not a mother. And that I think is a pretty reasonable point.

In the end I think if we ever get gay marriage a lot fewer gay people will opt to do it than people think. Just like white liberals have created the "noble negro" whereby every black man is a noble creature standing up to oppression, they have created the loving gay couple (think Tom Hanks and Antonio Banderus in Philadelphia). Well gay culture and the gay community is a hell of a lot more diverse and interesting than that. And like it or not, not as interested in settling down and having a family as we like to think they are. At some point in the future gays will look back on today and wonder why the hell so many gays wanted to get married.

Teki Setsu said...

"We're going to use a totally new method of building a major suspension bridge. We're using a giant cross. Crosses are holy in Christianity and therefore the bridge will be sound."

We don't allow ideology to circumvent the normal proof of soundness in engineering. Why would we allow someone to change the most important structural element of civilization simply because it's ideologically correct?

As far as I know, all successful civilizations that have independently developed over the last 10,000 years have had the concept of marriage between a man and a woman. Sometimes more than one woman. Why is that?

The burden of proof lies on those trying to do massive structural social engineering. Nothing remotely adequate has been demonstrated to me yet. So I vote NO.

somefeller said...

I know of an old gay man who definitely lived a non-bourgeois lifestyle who was ambivalent at best about gay marriage and gays in the military. His logic was - the great part about being gay was that it meant you never had to get married or serve in the Army. Now that may all change.

K T Cat said...

He's arguing that sexual dimorphism matters. When that gets to be too complicated a concept for you, you've got real problems.

Kirby Olson said...

He's saying that he wouldn't have wanted to be deprived (as a baby) of a mother just so that two men could feel contented.

He wouldn't want a man to be his mother.

Carolyn said...

I am concerned about changing the definition of marriage more than I am concerned about the relatively few gay men who want to get married and raise children . For example, Heather MacDonald's argument makes sense to me.

And the NYT quotes a gay married man in Massachusetts who reports that around half of gay married men do not consider sexual fidelity to be particularly important. This changes what is "conventional" in marriage.

somefeller said...

That having been said, I'd agree that Lagerfeld's statement is a bit ridiculous, and sounds like someone wanting to be the contrarian at a party.

cottus said...

Can we not put this in context people? We are talking about, realistically, 1% of the population. And this matter only gains traction for a long list of reasons most too trivial to even mention, like the economics of gay bars in Sand Francisco (always follow the money), although the AIDS scare might rise to some level of concern, especially with regards to financial impact. So can we just give it a rest?

I just about had a heart attack last week when I passed the local elementary school, and noticed a sign saying "G-T pride day Friday" 'Well', I snickered, 'The trannies are coming up in the world'. The school's name is Gold Trails Elementary School.

dbp said...

John said,

" At some point in the future gays will look back on today and wonder why the hell so many gays wanted to get married."

I think this is dead-on correct. I suspect a good chunk of the male gay community just want marriage because it is controversial. Once it becomes unexceptional, I predict that 90% of homosexual marriage will be lesbian couples.

In the end, the golden age of male homosexuality will be killed by gay marriage: One can justify (not that one needs to, but people like to feel that Justice is on their side) being "out there" when there is no entry into mainstream institutions like marriage.

paul a'barge said...

What ever. Lagerfeld is right.

Gay marriage is anathema.

Alain Jean-Mairet said...

"I see more" probably is a bad translation of "je vois plutôt" or "je vois mieux" (or maybe even "je vois plus"), which is a way of saying "I think it is better..."
He probably means that children need a mother more than they need a father. So while it might be ok if a child has two mothers, it feels wrong if a child has two fathers.

peter hoh said...

Carolyn, as Heather Mac Donald eloquently points out in the column you linked, heterosexuals have already redefined marriage in fundamental ways.

Marriage is now a temporary relationship, centered on the feelings of the adults for one another, subject to termination at the whim of one party, with little relationship to childbirth and child rearing.

Bruce, I don't think you can draw conclusions about two people raising a child from studies done of one person raising a child.

Steph said...

My father in law and his partner (together 25 years) feel the same way. When they came out and left their marriages it was for a "queer" lifestyle (their words). They came out so they didn't have to be married anymore. They definetely feel that gay marriage is so bourgeois, so as to be laughable, for homosexuals.

Don Meaker said...

I would rather have governments not recognize marriage, and not get involved. Marriage would then be a religious rite, and any church would be free to have their own rules for their co-religionists.

Insurance companies would also be free to set their rules in any manner they saw fit, but not to change them for the duration of any contract.

c3 said...

As odd as Mr. Langerfield's comments are, this response is equally odd:
"[Karl] is definitely a supremacist"
What the hell does that mean?

As for men and marriage I've heard it said as a commentary on the research regarding men and marriage that
Marriage civilizes men

BigDave said...

Lagerfeld knows that gay men are still men, and that because men are more sexually indiscriminate and promiscuous than women, a relationship between two men usually suffers from more drama and more juvenile behavior in general. The impulse to be a mother is NOT present in a man just because the man has many other feminine qualities. Femininity, in the case of gay men, is of a sexual and visible nature rather than the deeper differences.

Gay men don't want marriage and family, he is saying. As a generality, he's probably right. The impulse for 'marriage' is entirely a political attempt to force upon society a new ethos which prevents anyone from criticizing gays.

Ritmo Brasileiro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sunsong said...

I am coming late to this thread - so it may be over already - but I think that many people miss the point entirely. Love - not lust or sex or some fleeting *feeling* - but love is what a child needs. Children who aren't loved don't make it.

Love is also the point in a loving relationship :-) at least from my perspective.

Sadly, imo, far too many people have children because they think it's "what adults do" rather than because they want to love someone and raise them into adulthood.

The idea that because something has been a certain way - it should continue that way is pretty lame, imo. We are always capable of growing, changing and improving.

Hucbald said...

I've decided I'm for homosexual marriage but against heterosexual marriage. Let the gays experience what us straight guys have suffered at the hands of gold diggers for a change.

ChrisLee said...

“Actually Bruce - there have been studies. And children of gay parents turn out fine.”

Actually, we don’t know how they turn out because most of the subjects in these highly politicized studies are still very young.

Bruce didn’t say the studies didn’t exist. He said the studies were inherently flawed and described some of the reasons why. He made the very good point that these studies were based on how children described their own mental health. Divorce rates, un-employment, depression and suicide rates, obesity and other direct and indirect measures of mental health were impossible to discern because there are very few adults in the America today who were raised by gay couples.

Even if you could scrounge together 15 or 20, scattered across many states, most would be in their 20’s and still not old enough for a good assessment of long term adult mental health and happiness.

Even of you could find 15 or 20 people in their 40’s and 50’s who were raised by a gay couple, your study would most likely be dramatically underpowered (especially considering the categorical nature of the responses), and those with a statistical background know this biases the study towards the result of, “No Difference” regardless of the reality.

holdfast said...

Frankly, Karl is a conservative, since he understands that:

(1) The real purpose of marriage is to establish a home and family for the purpose of rearing children; and

(2) In the absence of women, 99.9% of guys have no interest in having kids themselves.

Of course, what he should have said is that marriage makes no sense for gay men - since by his own admission lesbians seem to want to raise kids.

Jason said...

I can offer a partial translation--at least of the first part. I was born and raised in San Francisco and am surrounded by people of all types of relationship form. From open marriages to people committed to monogamous partnerships, but who eschew legal marriage to homosexual relationships. And about 1/3 of my clients are homosexual. There is nothing alternative about the way they relate to coupling. They are, by and large, extremely conservative. In other words, they have an opportunity to create something different [non-"bourgeois"] yet even after having overcome cultural judgements about their preferences, they then choose the cultural norm. Seems odd. Seems, even...well...unfortunate from one perspective.

This is not necessarily my perspective, but based on what I have noticed here, that is my partial translation of Mr Lagerfeld's statement.

I understand what he is saying, but do not necessarily agree.

He also falls into the trap I used to of thinking that post-conventional development maps to form. I wrote about that here:

The Myth of Post-Conventional Relating Mapping to Form :::


Ralph L said...

I'll bet Lagerfeld has a boyfriend he doesn't want to marry.

mostly coupled with a heaping load of elbow grease
which is a painfully inadequate lube

Anna said...

ChrisLee: A recent meta-analysis of over 100 studies of same-sex parenting found NO DIFFERENCES between adult children raised by same-sex parents and adult children raised by heterosexual parents on the following: cognitive development, psychological adjustment, gender identity, and sexual orientation. And no, the outcomes were not only measured by self-report, they were measured in different studies in a number of different ways, from parent/teacher/peer report, to psychological testing, to observational measures, to self report. They did find a few differences: children raised by same-sex parents were less gender-stereotypical and less sexist in their beliefs, which most people (not some on this board, evidently) would say is a positive outcome.

newscaper said...

Sorry, Ann, but marriage IS about raising families. Tied up as establishing paternity is with child support and inheritance as it is, it is obvious why it is truly is part of the bedrock of civilization -- and even of cultures which are/were not particularly 'civilized'.

Evolutionary biology/psychology back this up 100%. Unlike most other mammals, human children are incredibly dependent for a long time, in part due humans being born effectively premature because of cranial size due to our large brains. The primitive woman is virtually unable to provide for herself, a newborn, and a toddler by herself. Men instinctively *do* want to reproduce, so their resources are needed for their children to thrive, hence the m-f cooperation.

Most other mammals follow the tactic of females leading separate lives except for mating season when they look for the strongest male, or in 'harems' under the eye of an alpha male who monopolized reproductive access.

Human polygamy isn't baked in because one early human male could not support multiple families. There was not enough inequality. SO the apprx pattern of one male per one female emerged, btw *pre* 'civilization'. The female needed a males resources all to herself, the male needed her sexual exclusivity to be sure he was not being cuckholded. Not perfect monogamy, but since polygamy was impractical, some cheating (by both sexes) was an alternate strategy.

The tribe formally recognizing 'marriage' established a legal basis for paternity, inheritance, support for the male against poachers (if he killed a cheater he wasn't treated like a normal murderer), and the immediate benefits for the tribe were more well-provided for children, and reduced intra-tribe male-on-male violence.

It's a win-win.

Mariage is about children and families, not about a couple's 'love'. Don't confuse how we have come to choose our marriage partners with what the underlying social function of the institution actually is.

Het couples have to resort to extraordinary measures to *not* have children. GL couples have to resort to extraordinary measures to have them. I am sympathetic to GL couples with kids, but they don't really get points for their side of the argument when many of these kids are the casualties of one partners previous het marriage.

One may as well grant drivers licenses to the blind in the name of 'equality'.