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Women as Prey, Men as Predator

homophobiaWomen are expected to attract, men are supposed to be attracted. Men want, women want to be wanted. Metaphorically, this is a predator/prey type relationship. Women are subject to the hunt whether they like it or not, so men’s attention can be pleasing, annoying, or frightening. It all depends.

Accordingly, women know what it feels like to be prey.

That’s from Prof. Lisa Wade of Occidental College and the popular blog, Sociological Images (where I got the great cartoon, too.)

Not all men make women feel this way, she says, and probably most don’t, but we’ve all pretty much had this experience, whether it’s,

The leering guy on the street, the heavy hitter in the bar, the frotteurist on the subway, the molesting uncle, the aggressive fraternity brother, etc.

Does homophobia arise partly from being demoted on the food chain and feeling like prey, she wonders?  Read the rest of this entry

Are Men More Homophobic Than Women?

There is plenty of bad news on the gay/lesbian front. Suicides, gay-bashing. At one point a gubernatorial candidate maintained that “homosexuality is not an equally valid option” but felt women having sex with horses was hot. Historically, men have been more homophobic than women. But why?

It’s common to think of gay men as woman-like. Some act feminine, feminine stereotypes abound, and gay men do often perform sexually like women.

The very idea that men might be like, or act like, women is pretty threatening to manly men. But even more so when manhood feels insecure.

Men acting anywhere in the realm of womanhood collapses the great divide between male and female. Seeming more the same, male dominance and status are at risk.

Further, if gays and lesbians couple together no one can be the male head of home. Another blockage to male dominance.

But in the last four years the level of homophobia among men has dropped drastically, according to a more recent Gallup poll. Today men are no more homophobic than women. What happened?

Importantly, women’s status has risen. If women and men are equal, then men acting like women isn’t the big threat it had once been.

But women and men haven’t achieved full equality yet. So what else is going on?

New York Times columnist, Charles Blow called a couple of experts to get insight into the change in men’s attitudes. He talked with sociologist, Michael Kimmel, who studies men, and Ritch Savin-Williams, Cornell’s Chair of Human Development and an expert on same-sex attraction.

Dr. Kimmel explains that,

Men have gotten increasingly comfortable with the relative equality of ‘the other.’ The dire predictions for diversity have not only not come true, they’ve been proved to be other way.

Additionally, as gays and lesbians come out of the closet people come to see that they are like the rest of us: our fathers and mothers, our sisters and brothers, our friends and coworkers. Who knew they were real people?

Most interestingly, “virulent homophobes are increasingly being exposed for engaging in homosexuality,” as Blow put it. Evangelical Ted Haggard and George Rekers of the Family Research Council have both been outed. A while back, anti-gay megachurch pastor Eddie Long was accused of coercing young men into sex. Some are starting to see that spouting homophobia can be a front for the gay man inside. (Is homophobia acting to decrease claims of homophobia?)

Despite continued gay bashing, things are looking up.

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Driving a Fagbug

If someone spray painted “fag” and “u r gay” on your car would you drive it around? Through 48 states? Through the hell-fire breathing, Leviticus quoting Bible Belt?

Erin Davies didn’t think she would either.

But by happenstance she rose to meet the challenge of the gay hero’s journey.

It all began one day on her way to work. Approaching her Beetle, she saw it was covered in homophobic epithets. “I figured the rainbow sticker on the back window had inspired the attack,” she said. Erin had hoped to inspire something else. Eventually, she did. In a big way.

“Could you please fix it right away,” she begged the insurance company. But since it was drivable they’d do no work for several days. “You expect me to go around with the word ‘fag’ in my face?!” she asked. Embarrassed, and with no choice, she drove to work.

Later that day she picked up a rental. But media coverage brought such an outpouring of support that friends proposed she keep driving her “fag bug” to start conversations.

So she did. It all started with a 58 day trip through 41 states. This August, driving through the Dakotas, she visited states 47 and 48. On her way, she collected notes on her windshield, videotaped people’s reactions, and made the six o’clock news.

On video, one person commented on the vandalism saying, “Spray painting a car doesn’t make what you stand for look any better.” Indeed, this paint job seems to have backfired on the messenger.

Surprisingly, the nastiest note Erin got on her windshield only claimed, “It’s a shame u made this up.” Mostly, the notes inspired her: “You’re my hero.” On her journey, hostile people became her friends, or at least friendly. Some, hoping to help, tried washing the graffiti off her parked car, leaving Erin to repaint the words she had first felt shamed to see.

Erin could have hidden behind a rental and restored her car – sans rainbows to halt further attacks. But she went the other way, eventually washing the entire Beetle in rainbow colors, with “fagbug” printed loudly on the side.

Erin could have retreated in shame. Instead, she concluded that hate crimes shouldn’t end in silence, but in dialogue.

Ironically, someone struck out at our lesbian friend, seeking to harm her. But it didn’t work out that way. At all.

Learn more about Erin and her adventure, buy a videotape documenting her travels, or have her to come speak to your school or university by clicking here.

October is LGBT Month

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Homophobes Aroused by Gay Porn

You’d think homophobic men would be the least likely to get aroused by homoerotic images. Think again.

Researchers at the University of Georgia surveyed young men on the degree of homophobia the felt, as measured by their self-described levels of aversion to gay men, and specifically, the intensity of “dread” they experienced interacting with them.

Then they wired them up and showed them gay porn, lesbian porn, and straight porn. Eighty percent of the homophobes experienced arousal at the homoerotic screenings. The non-homophobic men did not.

Are these men unconsciously deceiving themselves? Or are they consciously trying to draw attention away from their homosexuality? Who knows?

One gay man told a story about attempting the latter. Writing for Scientific American, Jesse Bering said, “My earliest conscious tactic to hide my homosexuality involved being outlandishly homophobic. When I was eight years old, I figured that if I used the word “fag” a lot and on every possible occasion expressed my repugnance for gay people, others would obviously think I was straight. But,” he continued, “although it sounded good in theory, I wasn’t very hostile by temperament and I had trouble channeling my fictitious outrage into convincing practice.”

Maybe it helps to be mean and angry, too.

Jesse went on to cite the Freudian concept of reaction formation which occurs when repressed desires become manifested in sharp emotional reactions and hostile behaviors toward the thing desired.

Plenty of gay homophobes screech against the so-called “sins” of the orientation, but end up outed, anyway: Evangelical Ted Haggard, George Rekers of the Family Research Council, and anti-gay megachurch pastor Eddie Long are a few who come to mind. The whole scene is reminiscent of the homophobic gay man from American Beauty attacking what he feared – his own gayness.

“Thou dost protest too much,” to paraphrase the bard, Shakespeare.

Really, who are you trying to convince?

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Men: More Homophobic Than Women?

There is plenty of bad news on the gay/lesbian front. Suicides, gay-bashing. Just a few months ago a gubernatorial candidate maintained that “homosexuality is not an equally valid option” but felt women having sex with horses was hot. Historically, men have been more homophobic than women. But why?

It’s common to think of gay men as woman-like. Some act feminine, feminine stereotypes abound, and gay men do often perform sexually like women.

The very idea that men might be like, or act like, women is pretty threatening to manly men. But even more so when manhood feels insecure.

Men acting anywhere in the realm of womanhood collapses the great divide between male and female. Seeming more the same, male dominance and status are at risk.

Further, if gays and lesbians couple together no one can be the male head of home. Another blockage to male dominance.

But in the last four years the level of homophobia among men has dropped drastically, according to a Gallup poll taken a few months ago. Today men are no more homophobic than women. What happened?

Importantly, women’s status has risen. If women and men are equal, then men acting like women isn’t the big threat it had once been.

But women and men haven’t achieved full equality yet. So what else is going on?

New York Times columnist, Charles Blow called a couple of experts to get insight into the change in men’s attitudes. He talked with sociologist, Michael Kimmel, who studies men, and Ritch Savin-Williams, Cornell’s Chair of Human Development and an expert on same-sex attraction.

Dr. Kimmel notes that, “Men have gotten increasingly comfortable with the relative equality of ‘the other.’ The dire predictions for diversity have not only not come true, they’ve been proved to be other way.”

Additionally, as gays and lesbians come out of the closet people come to see that they are like the rest of us: our fathers and mothers, our sisters and brothers, our friends and coworkers. Who knew they were real people?

Most interestingly, “virulent homophobes are increasingly being exposed for engaging in homosexuality,” as Blow put it. Evangelical Ted Haggard and George Rekers of the Family Research Council have both been outed. Not long ago, anti-gay megachurch pastor Eddie Long was accused of coercing young men into sex. Some are starting to see that spouting homophobia can be a front for the gay man inside. (Is homophobia acting to decrease claims of homophobia?)

Despite continued gay bashing, things are looking up.

Related Posts on BroadBlogs
Homophobes Aroused by Gay Porn
Higher Suicide Rates in Conservative “Values Voters” States
Gay Marriage Helps Families

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