Is a lot of homophobia really just fear of effeminacy?

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    Jun 23, 2010 6:38 AM GMT
    It' been my experience that a lot of time people who would be labeled homophobic are only adverse to effeminate men and tend to be ok with homosexuality in men who are more traditionally "masculine." Thus, it seems like for a lot of people, homosexuality is okay as long as you're not too different.

    Now as gender-identity is distinct from sexuality, is it really appropriate to label these people as homophobic? Or something else?

    Also, I've heard a lot of heart-wrenching stories of homophobic bullying from gay-youth and a recurring theme in a lot of their stories was "I was beat up because I walked differently, talked differently, dressed differently, etc." It's tragic that this happened to them, but is it technically homophobic bullying or gender identity based bullying? Even if they say things like "stupid fag, queer, etc" I feel like a lot of homophobic bullies equate words like "fag" and "queer" not with gayness but with effeminacy.

    So what do you all think? What have your experiences been?
    I guess I don't have a real question I'm trying to get at or a central point. I'm just sort of looking for opinions and for ideas to flow.

    Note: I am **NOT saying that effeminate men should change. BE WHO YOU ARE and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. I'm simply trying to discuss this phenomenon whereby people are more against effeminacy than homosexuality.

    I am also NOT saying that if all gay men were "masculine" than homophobia would stop. There definitely ARE homophobes out there who will hate a gay person regardless of how masculine/feminine he is.

    PLEASE don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say in this post.
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    Jun 23, 2010 7:06 AM GMT
    Also, I've heard a lot of heart-wrenching stories of homophobic bullying from gay-youth and a recurring theme in a lot of their stories was "I was beat up because I walked differently, talked differently, dressed differently, etc." It's tragic that this happened to them, but is it technically homophobic bullying or gender identity based bullying? Even if they say things like "stupid fag, queer, etc" I feel like a lot of homophobic bullies equate words like "fag" and "queer" not with gayness but with effeminacy. Not necessarily effeminacy (in school), but weakness. Often and not just on the playground, gayness is looked upon as beinbg equal to weakness. And I wouldn't just assigned the effeminancy theory to just the straight community. There is a lot of that in our community as well, if not more so. Case in point, an infinite number of threads on this very subject and all turn into personal attacks and flame wars.

    So what do you all think? What have your experiences been? I guess I don't have a real question I'm trying to get at or a central point. I'm just sort of looking for opinions and for ideas to flow. I've only been in one fight that I can assign to my gayness. No one sees me as being effeminate, but the fight almost turned into a bruhaha because there were a couple of friends of mine at a restaurant who were being harrassed because of their effeminancy. I spoke up. The guy challenged me. We stepped outside. Once sides were taken (his friends vs mine), it then turned into a partially racial issue since he said he was going to kick my "Nigger Ass". As we approached each other (I had every intention of kicking his "sorry excuse for being on earth" ass, but the police showed up. He and several of his friends were hauled off to jail. Me and my pals were banned from the restaurant.

    Note: I am **NOT saying that effeminate men should change. BE WHO YOU ARE and don't let anyone make you feel bad about it. I'm simply trying to discuss this phenomenon whereby people are more against effeminacy than homosexuality. I have always said that most folks are afraid of what they don't know and they are there because they have yet to discover what it means to be comfortable in their own skin.

  • Webster666

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    Jun 23, 2010 7:25 AM GMT
    Homophobia is fear and hatred of something different.
    Almost every school kid aches to "fit in" and "to be like everybody else."

    And, when those same kids become adults, they carry those same fears and hatreds right along with them. Some adults learn that being different is good, or at least acceptable, while some adults never get beyond their childhood fears and hatred.

    And, it's human nature (especially among kids) to be cruel to anybody who's different: tall, short, fat, skinny, a different skin color, a different nationality, gay, unusual hair style, unusual clothing, a different accent, a different religion, a different hair color.
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    Jun 23, 2010 7:35 AM GMT
    Webster666 saidAnd, it's human nature (especially among kids) to be cruel to anybody who's different: tall, short, fat, skinny, a different skin color, a different nationality, gay, unusual hair style, unusual clothing, a different accent, a different religion, a different hair color.


    Spot on until here. We did not come out of the womb hating or being cruel. Kids are very perceptive as to what is going on around them and it begins when they pick these behaviors up (usually from their parents) and most never or see no reason to unlearn them.
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    Jun 23, 2010 7:44 AM GMT
    Webster666 saidHomophobia is fear and hatred of something different.
    Almost every school kid aches to "fit in" and "to be like everybody else."

    And, when those same kids become adults, they carry those same fears and hatreds right along with them. Some adults learn that being different is good, or at least acceptable, while some adults never get beyond their childhood fears and hatred.

    And, it's human nature (especially among kids) to be cruel to anybody who's different: tall, short, fat, skinny, a different skin color, a different nationality, gay, unusual hair style, unusual clothing, a different accent, a different religion, a different hair color.


    It's always the cute little muscle, butch boys that did good and who were popular. Awe, but now.....I see them fat, hideously ugly and no longer the shit. The inside has caught up with the out side......OR iss it the out side has finally caught up with the INSIDE....

    ........A few I know from the retched past, I can look at with a smirk and say to my self.....NOW WHO"S THE EVIL WENCH?? HAHAHAA
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    Jun 23, 2010 7:46 AM GMT
    Mystic_Man said........A few I know from the retched past, I can look at with a smirk and say to my self.....NO WHO"S THE EVIL WENCH?? HAHAHAA


    Revenge is a dish best served cold, but the best revenge is living well.
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    Jun 23, 2010 7:51 AM GMT
    ErikTaurean said
    Mystic_Man said........A few I know from the retched past, I can look at with a smirk and say to my self.....NO WHO"S THE EVIL WENCH?? HAHAHAA


    Revenge is a dish best served cold, but the best revenge is living well.


    You know what?

    I don't talk to much about my past or even who I really am In here that much. I can say, I don't hold a grudge and I am not really a Vengeful person. But when some of the dudes who were older than me when I was a kid (and beat me up) and who I look at now....you would think they have fuckin fell off a cliff and right on their face. It's just an observation!! LOL
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    Jun 23, 2010 9:27 AM GMT
    bobbyboy724 saidIt' been my experience that a lot of time people who would be labeled homophobic are only adverse to effeminate men and tend to be ok with homosexuality in men who are more traditionally "masculine." Thus, it seems like for a lot of people, homosexuality is okay as long as you're not too different.

    Now as gender-identity is distinct from sexuality, is it really appropriate to label these people as homophobic? Or something else?


    Being effeminate has nothing to do with gender identity. Gender identity concerns transsexuals (pre- or post-op). Therefore, the problem remains with homosexuality.
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    Jun 23, 2010 12:34 PM GMT
    outsiderin said
    bobbyboy724 saidIt' been my experience that a lot of time people who would be labeled homophobic are only adverse to effeminate men and tend to be ok with homosexuality in men who are more traditionally "masculine." Thus, it seems like for a lot of people, homosexuality is okay as long as you're not too different.

    Now as gender-identity is distinct from sexuality, is it really appropriate to label these people as homophobic? Or something else?


    Being effeminate has nothing to do with gender identity. Gender identity concerns transsexuals (pre- or post-op). Therefore, the problem remains with homosexuality.


    Correct, it's not gender identity, but I'm not sure it's homosexuallity either.
    Actually, there are a lot of straigt guy with ambiguous feminine like behavior.

    I think it's more about compliance to socially enforced gender behaviors.
    If you grow to belive agressivity and macho behavior are something to be proud of when you are a man, then you might feel treatened to see other guys not playing by that rules.

    Social standing in macho environement is directly linked to how close to the top of the pack you are, and you gain position by dominating others.
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    Jun 23, 2010 1:01 PM GMT
    Actually, there are a few different views on this. Some feel that the effeminate gay men are not a threat to potentially-homophobic straight guys, specifically because they feel they're so different from themselves. And that it's actually the average gay Joe that threatens them more because they can be seen to act "normally" masculine like themselves.

    If true, it's a bit of a Catch-22, since exposing the "normality" of being gay is what opens people's minds.
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    Jun 23, 2010 1:17 PM GMT
    No, "homophobia" is just the fear of having your masculinity threatened. Guys generally don't don't want to get fucked (hence the insult, fuck you) or be treated as if they were a women in any other way but "gay" men don't seem to have any problem with flagrant gender bending, hence the fear/hatred.

    And just think about it, a straight guy is usually fine with talking to another "gay" man as long as he doesn't *know* that he's "gay". But once the fact that he is gay comes up the threat that this guy may want to fuck/use him sexually as one would a woman usually throws his fear/hatred into over drive. Normally with an immediate escape from the situation or even a violent response. Given that he was fine before he became aware of his supposed sexual proclivities, terming this reaction as homophobic does a poor job of describing the fear.

    Given cases like this, it really isn't a mere fear of sameness (homophobia) but rather a fear of men who regularly, whether between the sheets or the streets, treat and each other as one would a woman.






    *By "gay" I mean the majority of gay men that are of the anal paradigm*
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    Jun 23, 2010 1:29 PM GMT
    ErikTaurean said
    Webster666 saidAnd, it's human nature (especially among kids) to be cruel to anybody who's different: tall, short, fat, skinny, a different skin color, a different nationality, gay, unusual hair style, unusual clothing, a different accent, a different religion, a different hair color.

    Spot on until here. We did not come out of the womb hating or being cruel. Kids are very perceptive as to what is going on around them and it begins when they pick these behaviors up (usually from their parents) and most never or see no reason to unlearn them.

    I'll take a little from Column A, and a little from Column B between these 2 points, to hold a rare partial difference of opinion with you, Erik (one of my first & oldest friends here on RJ, from when I was "Red Vespa"). I believe children ARE known for being cruel to each other, and that can be seen cross-culturally.

    I don't know if anyone has determined the precise causes, but could include primitive competitive survival skills, immature social skills, copying of sometimes incorrectly interpreted adult behaviors, and other factors that have also been proposed.

    But neither do I believe that cruelty is innate in all people throughout their lives, but rather might be a consequence of the developmental & cognitive phases through which all children pass. In that sense, then, it might be wondered whether adults who demonstrate cruel behavior are suffering from arrested development in certain aspects of their personalities.

    So I can agree in part with both you and Webster666 (whose posts are already beginning to impress me, as yours always have). And I'm about to post my own comment about the OP in a moment here. icon_rolleyes.gif

    icon_wink.gif
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    Jun 23, 2010 1:43 PM GMT
    bobbyboy724 saidIt' been my experience that a lot of time people who would be labeled homophobic are only adverse to effeminate men and tend to be ok with homosexuality in men who are more traditionally "masculine."

    I've often wondered that myself, and reading your post made me speculate if your hypothesis also explains another behavior among some straight men: their inconsistent attitude toward lesbians.

    Lesbians are also gay, yet the same straight homophobe who bashes gay men, and votes to deny us our civil rights, will get turned on by photos & videos of 2 women having sex together. Why does the thought of sex between men enrage him, but he can beat-off to images of women in bed together? What is he really against & hate?

    Perhaps it is mainly effeminate males he dislikes, with the assumption that men who seek sex with other men are by his definition mostly effeminate. Whereas women who have sex with other women remain feminine, which is good in his view, how he wants them to be. By the same token, I'd bet he doesn't care for manly dykes, or any strong & assertive females in most circumstances.

    This attitude could also give himself a pass, even if he accepts a blowjob from a gay guy, because he isn't reciprocating, being totally passive as the receiver. He only performs active sex with females, so therefore he's not gay himself, but remains totally masculine & straight, the only role he views as acceptable for a man. Hence, a masculine gay man might be less objectionable to him.

    Well anyway, you made me wonder about that. Thanks, interesting topic.
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    Jun 23, 2010 11:29 PM GMT
    I actually think there is a connection there. Even here on RJ there are some that have very harsh views of effeminate qualities. It could be argued that is a result of some internalized homophobia.
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    Jun 23, 2010 11:47 PM GMT
    Very interesting thread.

    I think most kids learn the fag epithet, and learn how to apply it, well before they learn about homosexuality. In those cases it's clear that what is being attacked isn't a sexual preference, it's effeminacy. Generally speaking, I think homophobia isn't merely about attacking gays, it's about attacking people who are different.
  • jrs1

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    Jun 23, 2010 11:52 PM GMT
    it could certainly stem from a fear of comparison to the " other sex. "

    please see: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.
  • DarkSensation

    Posts: 715

    Jun 27, 2010 1:44 AM GMT
    Dragoonxi saidNo, "homophobia" is just the fear of having your masculinity threatened. Guys generally don't don't want to get fucked (hence the insult, fuck you) or be treated as if they were a women in any other way but "gay" men don't seem to have any problem with flagrant gender bending, hence the fear/hatred.

    And just think about it, a straight guy is usually fine with talking to another "gay" man as long as he doesn't *know* that he's "gay". But once the fact that he is gay comes up the threat that this guy may want to fuck/use him sexually as one would a woman usually throws his fear/hatred into over drive. Normally with an immediate escape from the situation or even a violent response. Given that he was fine before he became aware of his supposed sexual proclivities, terming this reaction as homophobic does a poor job of describing the fear.

    Given cases like this, it really isn't a mere fear of sameness (homophobia) but rather a fear of men who regularly, whether between the sheets or the streets, treat and each other as one would a woman.






    *By "gay" I mean the majority of gay men that are of the anal paradigm*



    So True, agree 100% Here
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    Jun 27, 2010 1:45 AM GMT
    Vigorousinfact saidVery interesting thread.

    I think most kids learn the fag epithet, and learn how to apply it, well before they learn about homosexuality. In those cases it's clear that what is being attacked isn't a sexual preference, it's effeminacy. Generally speaking, I think homophobia isn't merely about attacking gays, it's about attacking people who are different.

    Excellent insight.
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    Jun 27, 2010 2:33 AM GMT
    bobbyboy724 saidIs a lot of homophobia really just fear of effeminacy?
    No. It's the fear of one's own repressed homosexual feelings.
  • cmom19

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    Jun 27, 2010 2:49 AM GMT
    I think that extreme homophobia is sometimes the fear and hatred of one's own homosexual tendencies.
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    Jun 27, 2010 3:07 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    bobbyboy724 saidIs a lot of homophobia really just fear of effeminacy?
    No. It's the fear of one's own repressed homosexual feelings.


    I completely agree with this perspective. As an aside, here's a pretty hilarious Craigs' List repost (which is very relevant to this topic): http://www.truthwinsout.org/blog/2010/06/9371/ .
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    Jun 27, 2010 3:28 AM GMT
    no, homophobia exists because the masses have not yet achieved a level of self awareness and spout anything they hear from their "leaders" in turn group think takes its toll and therefore homophobia exists. icon_biggrin.gif there wrapped up in a nice little package
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    Jun 27, 2010 3:32 AM GMT
    In the lesbian world there are Pumps and Pants. Just thought I'd share.
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    Jun 27, 2010 3:33 AM GMT
    You asked the question, then forced the "answer" down our throats by way of a dubious premise:

    Now as gender-identity is distinct from sexuality, is it really appropriate to label these people as homophobic? Or something else?

    Your point is valid as long as you take this statement as true ("gender-identity is distinct from sexuality").

    I find no reason why one should accept this premise.
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    Jun 27, 2010 3:41 AM GMT
    In some cultures (Central and South American, Indian, Pakistani, and some Middle Eastern) the only way you can be accepted is by being either a cross dressing homosexual or a very effeminate - and therefore easily identified - homosexual. Even in mainstream American culture, we have accepted the clown-like behaviors of Uncle Miltie in drag, Paul Lynde, and Jack McFarland far easier than it was ever possible to show characters who were more quotidian (as in the rather obscure British film Nighthawks, or even Will Truman).

    I think there are some very acute observations here about this topic. I agree that the fear is based in a fear of rape, I would venture to say an irrational fear of rape, as this is an extremely rare occurrence, outside of prison.