The following article looks to answer two questions: The first one being, what is Mecca’s dilemma in He Defies You Still: The Memoirs of a Sissy and how it affects his well being, relationships at school, home and in church. Secondly, what his purpose for publishing the memoir is? In Mecca’s world, being different is unacceptable. The only option one has is being a heterosexual. Period! He has been called all sorts of names by his peers while growing up; queer, sissy, faggot. That’s in school. At home his father at one time slaps him because he is not ‘walking right.
’ What Mecca feels is not considered normal. From an early age, he is not attracted to girls. He thinks they ‘are alright’ but that’s it. The minor in the society are the ones who are usually oppressed. As he did not have anyone like him to confide in, Mecca resorted to keeping his own company, seeking refuge in his bedroom. One time he came from school and went straight to his bedroom, refusing to eat. In scene two he talks of the way he came to like being alone, believing he was an island. This shows that he believed that not even his parents could understand him, even if he tried
explaining to them that he was being bullied in school for being different. Does the Lord not accept all His children as they are? The priest in church, not so subtly, tells Mecca that being different is a sin. Having romantic thoughts about another boy is a sin. When he was in elementary school, a nun once told his mother that because he draped his sweater around his shoulders, something was wrong with him. This is because only girls do that. His brothers and parents were embarrassed by him. He did not play football, baseball or ‘play soldiers’ but chose to jump rope and play with dolls.
Mecca had few friends if any. The ones who associated with him did not want to be thought of as his close friends for fear of being called faggots too. Unfortunately, the ones who seemed to get him did not stick around for long. A boy who was not afraid of being called names once moved into his neighborhood. He protected him and for a while, he was not beaten up after school on his way home. However, after two summers together, he was sent to camp by his parents. His parents might have seen signs that their son was queer, thus he was sent away.
All through elementary school, Mecca believed he was different but not queer. Franny who lived in their neighborhood on the other hand was queer. He wore women’s clothes publicly and did not care what anyone said about him. By the time he had reached eleven years, Mecca had already realized he was attracted to boys (even after being told by the priest that girls should play a major role in his life and being asked whether he understood the role God intended for man and woman ). In scene six, Mecca explains that he refused to see what had been staring him right in the eye all along.
He did not believe that he could be a homosexual. Not him. By the end of their junior year in high school, his classmates had gotten tired of taunting, teasing and beating him up and had started focusing on other things. Most teenagers usually speak out when they are together and in groups and would avoid raising their hands to answer a question in the classroom. Not Mecca. He was quite vocal during class, wore his hair long and very quiet when outside the classroom. For this, many knew that he was a hippie. In his junior year in high school, Mecca met Joe who introduced him to Jay and they hit it off.
Almost immediately, Mecca knew that he was in love with Jay, but still refused to acknowledge the fact that he was queer. However, one night when Jay calls him and breaks things off, Mecca pronounces his love to him in the hope that he will reconsider his decision. But, Jay feels that their relationship is wrong… a man is not supposed to fall in love with another man. Mecca mentions that there are no faggots mentioned anywhere in history. Except for Franny, no one else was queer in the history books. No famous artist, poet or musician. He wonders if they have a planet of their own or, they simply don’t exist.
In his world, there is only one place where they get talked about. In religion class. The priest who did so was just mentioning how pathetic and sick they were. How unrighteous their deeds were. No one tried to make an effort to understand them. If society did not frown upon gay relationships and marriages, perhaps Mecca’s and Jay’s would have worked out. Jay neither admitted nor denied that he was in love with Mecca. He might have been in love with him but he was afraid of what people might think. He was probably afraid of being treated the way Mecca had been treated all his life.
Mecca’s main reason for writing Memoirs of a sissy is to give voice to the minority in the society, who in this case are the gay. After living in a stereotypical society for long where they have been oppressed, Mecca thinks its time they were heard and that people stopped treating them differently from the rest. Sweeping the subject under the carpet will not make it go away. He wants the society to talk about them-in a good way. Not secretively in whispers, but to acknowledge that they exist, are here to stay and though they might be a minority, they deserve a place in the society.
In the epilogue, we see tears streaming down Mecca’s face as he marches down Spruce Street. Reason? Finally, the gay people in the society are coming out to fight for their rights. Mecca is no longer an island. He has found people who understand him and among them, he is not seen as queer anymore. All the bullying and beatings he got from his classmates and father, the frowns from the priest and nun, the verbal abuse could not put him down. He admits that he is a sissy, finally, and that the sissy in him, cannot be put down no matter how hard they try. Works Cited Mecca A. Tommi (1985). He Defies You Still: The Memoirs of a Sissy.Sample Essay of Edusson.com