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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

Location: California, United States

Friday, February 10, 2006

Misogyny of a Different Color

Nelle talked about feminism in her blog recently and I was reminded of something I read many years ago. It was a discussion of homophobia as a not so subtle form of misogyny. In particular, it was the fear and hatred of the homosexual male.

This author noticed that people in general, and men in particular, seem to have a much stronger negative reaction to gay males than to lesbians. The more feminine the man, the stronger the negative reaction.

People of both sexes are more likely to tell you, if they are being truthful, that they don't have such a big problem with lesbians. But a nelly guy? They just can't see it.

It's the idea of men who would willingly take on the trappings of the weaker sex. Dispense with the power of the penis, as it were.

With a feminine lesbian, there is always the possibility that "the right man" could change her. Or at least sleep with her and her girlfriend. With a butch lesbian there is often that modicum of respect for her toughness and her manly ways, even when the guys are making rude remarks behind her back. Her aura is one of masculine power. Masculine is good in any form.

But a man who swings is hips and paints his lips is a creature to be feared indeed. He not only has rejected the sacredness of the phallus but he allows his feminine side to flame. Indeed, while his wife is out shopping with her ersatz girlfriend, a man could be harboring secret flickers of attraction toward that fey and frilly person. Certainly this is a reason if not to kill him, to beat him senseless in a back alley.

Although some feminists would like to root out the association with GLBT rights, they are inextricably linked. It's all about sex and gender and how those qualities shape our lives.

Kinja, the weblog guide


Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

Damn, I posted, guess I closed the box without seeing if it actually registered. :(

Anyway, well said... they are linked. I touched on this a bit elsewhere this evening.

Patriarchy is a weird thing, it slaps men back if they try to break out of the narrowly defined boxes they are stuck in. It wasn't a problem for me, I crossed the line completely, and at that point they back off.

For gay men... no such luck. Other men have great difficulty with this... with dykes, ya have the whole fantasy thing going on, so we get hassled in a different way, they all think they are the one to 'cure.'

7:04 PM PST  
Blogger Frank_D said...

I think you've compressed too many observations into the mix.I won't rehash them, but there is a point where the string "starts to fray."

But a man who swings is hips and paints his lips is a creature to be feared indeed. How so? Is he a man who wants to be a woman? Then what is there to be afraid of? Treat him like a woman. That is, most men treat most women pretty nicely.

Is there "something wrong" with him, that makes him want to be a woman (I mean that only as a question a man might ask himself)? Once more, what is there to fear?

My point is that anger / violence has wrongly been associated with fear, without any real reason for making such an association.

Here's an example of the illogical thought process, from GreenLeft

Anti-homosexual violence on rise in US

A resurgent religious right in the United States is again contesting old hard-won rights. Youth are a particular target of homophobes. The insinuation of religious bigots onto school boards has led to censorship of textbooks and library books and the forced invisibility of homosexual youth. [Wait for it...] Violence is the inevitable next step.
If the right is resurgent, they are winning! The next step might be complacency, or continued political efforts, but the last thing you would expect would be violence. Violence is for the desperate, the frustrated, not people who are closer to victory.

Just my $.02


1:54 AM PST  
Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

Just a thought... fear is rooted in insecurity and in ignorance. Yet there are forces at work, patriarchal forces, that run deep and that really tie into the insecurity and fear.

Pam is right in saying homophibia carries a direct association with misogyny. Women who emulate men are aspiring to better themselves. A man who goes the other way is dissing what society considers strength, an attitude that really must change for their to be true gender equality.

One of the reasons the ERA was stopped in it's tracks was the fear of how it might provide rights to the lgbt community. It's there, and it's real.

8:29 AM PST  
Blogger NursePam said...

Interesting points Frank. I'm not sure though, that just because people reach certain conclusions without a logical thought process, it means there is no truth in the conclusion. It just means that they are not making a logical argument.

My point here is not whether or not a man wants to be a woman, thinks he is a woman, or simply views himself as a more feminine male. My point is that some men get beat up because they are obviously gay. There does seem to be a correlation between homophobia and violence. Although I will grant you that most people who are homophobic do not tend to be violent toward homosexuals.

BTW, I find it interesting that your solution is to "treat him like a woman" which implies that one ought to treat people differently according to gender. From a globally human perspective I find this, if not downright insulting, at least annoyingly quaint.

One would hope that we simply treat others with respect whether we like them or not.

11:02 AM PST  
Blogger Frank_D said...

I find it interesting that your solution is to "treat him like a woman" which implies that one ought to treat people differently according to gender.
I wasn't espousing a philosophy(although I do treat women differently from men*, in a non - academic, non - business setting. I do it because I like to, and I like like the (positive) reaction I get); I was suggesting one way a man might behave..
*They are different, you know.

2:21 PM PST  
Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

What if a woman/women does/do not wish to be treated differently?

2:27 PM PST  
Blogger Frank_D said...

Nelle:I found your comment quite plausible. Two things struck me, though: Doesn't the existence of "patriarchal forces" imply the existence of "matriatrcal forces", and, therefore, gender differences?
The other point relates to this statement: A man who goes the other way is dissing what society considers strength. When I was very young, I only knew I was in the presence of homosexuals when they "acted that way". In other words, men were usually exhibiting pronounced or exaggerated feminine behavior; women exhibiting pronounced or exaggerated masculine behavior. While this could be perceived as disrespectful, it might not be necessarily so.
I wonder if any studies have been of the people who beat up homosexuals (not domestic violence), and what they feel motivates them to do such a thing.
I'm in a Master's Program to become a Marital and Family Therapist. I'll be taking Human Sexuality in September. Maybe I'll write a paper on it.

You're typing too fast. What if a man doesn't want to be treated in a stereotypical fashion? Well, we have body language, tone of voice, etc., for that. Always have. I don't have a cookie cutter way of treating people. I realize that some people do, and some people don't, but I just live with that.

2:37 PM PST  
Blogger ~ nellenelle said...

The power in this world is hardly matriarchal. Women have been oppressed and marginalised for millennia.

The first woman to run for president of this nation was in jail on election day... this was how women were treated when they spoke up and out. And even today we still face countless issues that are barriers to full equality. Patriarchy is the force that persists that imposes... and it hits men as well, when they try to break out of the narrow boxes set up for men, though what men face is in no way comparable. Heck, many men embrace these boxes and cling to them tightly.

Again, the motivation lies in their own ignorance and insecurity. Insecurity is one of the most powerful forces on this planet, and so much ill that has gone on is directly a result of it.

While I am not in a master's program, it is something intended for my future, even if I am 51... there is much real world experience to draw on, and I'd like the formal time.

I'm for both men and women finding their own paths in life, free of artificial barriers that force them to be things they are not, especially as it relates to gender.

3:38 PM PST  

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