Johnny Weir: “Masculinity and femininity are nothing”

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Johnny Weir has an extensive interview in Out Magazine, and like always, he doesn’t hold back on his true feelings on everything from his fur obsession, his catfight with American gold-medalist Evan Lysacek, purses, Lady Gaga, and Johnny’s little fashion crush on Justin Timberlake. The full piece is very long, so I’m just going to do the highlights (F-ck, there’s still a lot I want to put up! I’m sorry).

Out: You’ve said you don’t carry a murse or a man-bag — it’s a straight up purse. In your purse you mentioned you have sunscreen, moisturizer and cameras. What else is in there?
Weir: I live out of my bag. I’m always running from one place to another and there is never time to run home in between. I just have this whole collection of shit that I accumulate throughout the day. It could be newspapers and faxes and water bottles. I guess it’s a work bag, but I like to do it in style instead of using a briefcase.

When you were younger Justin Timberlake and *NSYNC had a big effect on your fashion sense. What do you think of Justin’s look today?
I think he always looks very dapper when he shows up at different events. He’s turned out very well. His personal street style that you see in all the tabloids is not really my style. It looks like he’s always trying to be comfortable. I can understand that.

How would you describe your style?
It’s kind of Gaga and New York street urchin.

Speaking of Gaga, you really love her, don’t you? What do you love about her?
I beyond love her. She is a way of life. I just find her so unique, and that’s something that’s really hard to find in the world. It’s hard to find someone who is comfortable going out there with sunglasses lit up with cigarettes or cans of diet Coke wrapped up in a wig. Nobody has the balls to do that. My whole adolescence was just about copying each other. We had Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera copycats. Then we had *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Then L-Town or O-Town or P-Town, whatever the hell they are.

Would you say you are unique?
In my own way I think I am. Since I was 13 or 14, I’ve always wanted to do something unique with fashion and music. I didn’t try to set myself apart; I just didn’t want to conform to what people had done before.

The only place to go from there is on to fur! Animal rights groups have been after you in the past for wearing it. What do you say to them?
They have their choice to support their activism and to speak their minds, and I have the right to speak my mind too. I’m not passionate about learning about the fur farms and how the animals get killed. I’m passionate about fashion, and fur is a big part of that. I’m also a winter athlete. You can’t go walk the streets of Moscow when it’s minus 30 and wear some type of plastic. You need a natural warm thing. I am not going to change something I love because someone tells me it’s wrong.

Two Canadian broadcasters had much to say about your appearance at the Winter Olympics and even went so far as to say that you should undergo a gender test. You responded with: “It wasn’t these two men criticizing my skating, it was them criticizing me as a person. Nobody knows me. I think masculinity is what you believe it to be.” What is masculinity to you?
To me masculinity and femininity are nothing. I don’t believe in them being real adjectives. You can say someone is tall or someone is short. You can’t say someone is masculine or feminine. Of course when you think of a masculine person — at least in America — we think of a football player or Marlon Brando. For feminine we think of Nicole Kidman. For me, you can make anything masculine and you can make anything feminine. We have so many beautiful drag queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race that are so much more ladylike and beautiful than lots of women we know. Then there are lots of lesbians who look like beautiful boys. They are masculine in every way even though they are women.

Who is masculine to you?
Mikhail Baryshnikov.

You have been very quiet about your sexuality, saying you don’t want people to focus on it; you want the attention on the sport. Is that still how you feel? Will you address it in your book?
I’ve always been comfortable with who I am. When it comes to my sexuality, I just finished the chapter in my book [to be released in January] about my sexuality and my idea of it. I haven’t discussed it — not because I’m ashamed of anything you’ll read about when my book comes out — I just don’t want to put it out there in a way where someone can twist my words. While I don’t believe in masculinity and femininity, I don’t believe in a purely gay person or a purely straight person. I have a very clear opinion of my own sexuality. I’m not saying anything about my sexuality because I want it to be out there in my own words. I’m waiting for the book. I have no shame. I just don’t want some writer who is trying to sell a newspaper defining my sexuality to the public.

Then let’s discuss Evan Lysacek. Is there really this big feud or it is all media hype?
[Laughing] It’s no secret that Evan and I aren’t the closest of frenemies. The feuds are often press-made, but the most recent squabble we had was Evan saying I wasn’t good enough to be on a skating tour that he was on. That’s ridiculous.

Is that the Stars on Ice tour that said you weren’t “family-friendly” enough? What does family-friendly mean?
Yes, and they’ve never wanted me on their tour ever. I have no idea what that means. I don’t know what’s not family-friendly about me. I have a beautiful family. My friends are my family. I have a great relationship with my parents, my grandparents and my uncles and aunts. There’s no better picture of a great family than mine.

Recently you were on Chelsea Lately with Chelsea Handler. You talked about rooming with Evan’s ex-girlfriend, Tanith Belbin, and then winked. That caused a big stir. Many assumed you were calling Evan’s sexuality into question.
I would never push someone into a sexual situation of “are they or aren’t they?” I was just trying to be cute and it came off bad like I was trying to say that Evan was gay.

Why do you think you get the label of being gay, but not Evan?
He’s easy for people to wrap their heads around. He’s easy to put on a Wheaties box or on Dancing With the Stars. He’s the great American Olympic champion. While he’s considered this all-American boy, I’m considered like this Russian spy ring that just got caught.

To fulfill some fantasies, is there a chance of you and Evan ever getting together?
I can’t say that will happen. There are just very big differences between the two of us.

What are you the most proud of?
Through everything — human ugliness and being judged, bad fashion sense and good fashion sense — I’ve managed to stay very true to myself. I’ve never buckled to pressure. I’ve never given into anyone, and I’ve done everything my way. I think that’s something to be very proud of because that’s something difficult to do nowadays.

[From Out Magazine]

I know a lot of you can’t stand him, but I just adore him. The only thing that made me wince a little was the part about the Chelsea Handler incident, where Johnny trash-talked Evan and did out Evan with a wink. But I also see Johnny’s point – Evan is promoted as Mr. All-American while Johnny is treated as The Other, etc. Plus, there probably is some behind-the-scene drama between them.

By the way, what do you think of Johnny’s views on masculinity and feminity? I think he’s pretty right on, but he’s ahead of the curve.

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Johnny on June 8, 2010. Credit: Bauer-Griffin. Also, Johnny on March 2, 2010. Credit: WENN.

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25 Responses to “Johnny Weir: “Masculinity and femininity are nothing””

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  1. Emily says:

    I agree that masculinity and femininity aren’t solid adjectives, I think they’re more subjective. I mean, to take his point about RuPaul’s Dragrace, the queens on that show all have different styles, but each of them is being their own kind of feminine.

  2. grazi says:

    i’m out of adjectives to describe someone who loves fur and thinks Gaga is a way of life, or whatever he said.

  3. Nanea says:

    Johnny is the much better skater and I still don’t get that the Olympic judges thought they were doing the sport a favor with putting Evan on that pedestal.

    It’s not only about athleticism, it’s also about charisma, and while Johnny has it in spades, Evan comes across as two-dimensional.

    Full disclosure: I was a competitive skater as a kid, I know what I’m talking about.

  4. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    Didn’t Weir finish 6TH at the Olympics? So doesn’t that mean that the judges felt 5 other skaters were better than him? It wasn’t as if it was even a close race between him and Evan.

  5. Tess says:

    His remarks are only interesting as cultural indicators. They lack scientific validity.

    Levels of masculinity and femininity certainly are relative and could be plotted along a spectrum or bell curve with some individuals at the high end, some at the low end, and most of us congregating in the middle.

    But, the terms do refer to something, not “nothing.” They refer to hormone levels, which are reflected in secondary sexual characteristics and on a more fundamental level, desireability as a procreative partner.

  6. ! says:

    @Tess Too true, but I think I know what he’s getting at, and I like it. I think our concepts of masculinity and femininity are such bullshit. We’ve assigned a set of traits to either one, and then assign those to people. Then anyone who doesn’t fit in those rigid definitions gets ripped to shreds. How about we just let everyone do what comes naturally to them in terms of self expression, interests, and other wise? How about we just let people be who they are without persecuting it because we think it threatens the status quo. If you wanna be masculine, and you’re a dude, great. Just don’t pretend like a dude who acts feminine is going to make the entire dude bro civilization as we know it collapse on its head. Johnny Weir won’t be making penises spontaneously shrivel and fall off any time soon. At least, not without having gotten a really nasty STD.

  7. Hautie says:

    I love him. For the same reasons I love Kathy Griffin.

    They speak their minds and make the pretentious uptight population freak out.

    Their opinions are their own.

    Not based on what the moral majority rant on about. Not based on what is PC. And I can fully appreciate that from anyone.

    I do like his reason for not running around screaming about being gay. He wants to be saw as a man and a great athlete. Not just a gay male athlete.

    And when did it become a major issue who you like to have in your bed? Or become the public’s right to know?

  8. electric says:

    love him!!! He’s like a little furry, shiny jewel. On ice. love love love

  9. Jillian says:

    I don’t agree with his views on fur but i love him anyways! he’s fabulous :)

  10. XYZ says:

    Leave him alone, this boy has worked so hard to reach where he is now. We bother so much about other ppl’s sexuality coz we are idiots, thats why. What matters most to u in a person, his ideas, character or his sexuality?

  11. Deborah says:

    I think his sexuality should be his business. Why does everyone keep asking him about it. He can say if he is or if he isn’t but I just think he shouldn’t be expected to shout it from the rooftops. He should in my opinion keep it to himself. Everyone has to get on the cover of People magazine and proclaim it. He doesn’t!

  12. Beth says:

    I like him, too. I think he’s great.

  13. Jazz says:

    I don’t agree with his views on fur either but I just adore Johnny Weir. I only watched the Olympics to see him skate.

  14. Iggles says:

    I’m also a winter athlete. You can’t go walk the streets of Moscow when it’s minus 30 and wear some type of plastic. You need a natural warm thing. I am not going to change something I love because someone tells me it’s wrong.

    I loved what he had to say about fur and being a winter athlete. Brings a different perspective to the fur debate.

  15. Fluffy Kitten Tail says:

    @Iggles- Yeah, tell that to the animals slaughtered in order to make a fur coat.

  16. gg says:

    Girlfriend needs to fix his green teeth if he wants to be a fashion icon.

  17. denise says:

    All he’s missing is a pair of wings :)

    lol@ GG

  18. ChinaCat says:

    I love that he just doesn’t give a rat’s ass! We should all be so comfortable with ourselves. The Out photos are really well-styled… GREAT makeup — he actually looks kinda cute!

  19. JoElla says:

    I am not a Johnny fan, but really liked this interview.
    Oh gah.. he might be growing on me!

    Summer edit… summer brain in full force here.

  20. Marjalane says:

    So Nanea- you were a competitive skater “as a kid” but you still consider yourself to have superior judgement to current Olympic judges? Hmmmmmmm. You might want to rethink your position on this. Johnny Weir came in 6th. Not 2nd, or 4th, or even 5th. Face it, Toots- he’s just not that good.

  21. Kiska says:

    I absolutely love this guy. He is true to himself. I highly recommend watching his mini-documentary series, “Be Good, Johnny Weir” It is excellent.

  22. birdgherl says:

    I was thinking the same thing about her teeth…which are stained b/c she lives on a diet consisting on 99% espresso.

  23. Liana says:

    I love how he’s using the disclosure of his sexuality to shill his upcoming book.

  24. Melissa says:

    @Tess – masculinity and femininity have nothing to do with hormone levels. I don’t consider myself a particularly feminine woman, but my hormone levels are fine! I’m not a girly girl, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not all woman. And same goes for my husband – he’s not Mr. Macho or tough guy, but he’s all man!

  25. Renee says:

    I love Johnny. Not thrilled with his views on fur tho. I totally agree with him about masculinity and femininity. They are totally fluid. I don’t believe someone is 100% gay or straight. If only life were that easy! LOL! I can see why Johnny wouldn’t want his words twisted. Lets face it that happens all the time. Johnny was treated unfairly at the Olympics. He is an amazing skater.