Homophobia, A Hatred of Women
So…homophobic women have always been a mystery to me for several reasons. One is because I hold women to a higher standard than men. I know this seems unfair but really, anyone not living under a rock and in the real world understands that as an aggregate, women tend to have their shit together in a way that leaves men appearing like that elf from the island of misfit toys.
For those of us familiar with the atmosphere of American universities, you’ll recall being in one of those large lecture halls (if your school was big) and seeing all the ladies with their varicolored highlighters preparing to put together what looked like the quintessence of note-taking; complete with a color-coded cross-reference system and annotations. All this while the bro next to her was scratching his balls and preparing a recording app on his iPhone to never play back later.
A generalization, I know, but you get what I mean.
The surprisingly counterintuitive fact about homophobia and its roots is that it has little to do with men. It has to do with women, and what men think of women and their status in sexual intercourse. So when women are critical of effeminate men, or men in typically female roles, it surprises me since in reality they are only shooting themselves in the foot and concurring with the commonly held belief that women are indeed inferior to men, and in more ways than one.
If you have your doubts then let’s examine some double standards that exist pretty much everywhere in and out of the civilized world.
- Generally speaking, women can imitate men without backlash.
- Women can be physically affectionate without being assumed homosexual.
- Women can, and indeed are expected, to sacrifice career for maternity. And yet, if this is rejected, for many in the developed world the backlash is quite minor.
- Women can, and again are expected, to be passive in conflict situations. Their womanhood is not questioned for this and nor is their character.
- Lesbianism is only disturbing to men because it excludes them, not because of its sexual nature. And indeed, when lesbianism can be used to amuse and arouse men it is supported and even commodified.
Now let’s examine the male side of this equation.
- Generally speaking, men cannot imitate women without backlash or in the least, much unwanted attention. And many assumptions are made about those who ‘cross dress’.
- In many cultures but not all, especially in America, men cannot be physically affectionate without arousing suspicions of homosexuality. Or in the least, the limits to men’s affection are far more rigid than their female counterparts. Maybe because women elevate themselves when acting as men, whereas men are relegated when imitating women.
- Men are ridiculed and emasculated for prioritizing childcare or undertaking a profession that pays less than their wives/girlfriends.
- Diplomacy in conflict, on the street and in the bar at least, is not considered a masculine reaction. Men are expected to ‘defend’ both ‘their’ women and reputations in the face of insult, and violently. To back down from a fight, even one in which your life is at stake, risks tarnishing your reputation and causing public opprobrium. If we saw a heterosexual couple on the street being robbed, who would we expect to ‘take the situation by the horns’ and fight back? Certainly not the one clutching her purse.
- Finally, homosexuality is disturbing to men not because of its exclusion of women, but because of its perceived imitation of women in sex with a man. The penetrated partner is considered ‘less than’ his penetrating counterpart. The ‘bottom’ is the bitch, often stereotyped as feminine, and the source of disgust and revulsion in the eyes of homophobic straight men everywhere. To be penetrated is to become a woman and thus to lose one’s manhood.
Even the rhetoric surrounding anal sex is almost exclusively one of amplified submission and domination. Heterosexual men often desire this form of sex for this very reason, not because the anus is in any way superior to the vagina. It seems obvious to me that biologically, the vagina is a far better vessel for penetrative sex than the anus ever could be, not the least of these reasons includes cleanliness and comfort. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy anal sex, but I often wish I could turn my anus into a vagina to speed things along. The prep time alone can be exhausting.
This is why I struggle to understand a homophobic woman. She must necessarily be self-hating because what she finds so disturbing is her own socio-sexual image echoed in said man’s behavior.
Of course, homophobic men are not to be commended, coddled, or forgiven. It just seems obvious to me, personally, why they are the way they are. And again, to be clear, this does not in any way dismiss the sinister consequences of their bigotry. Men, do of course, hurt themselves when they pander to stereotypes of masculinity. They inadvertently limit and restrict themselves, shackling their behavior to charmingly obtuse notions of manliness. It may be easier to miss for the dudes because they congratulate themselves on these restrictions.
But again, it seems to me obvious that homophobia is at its essence, an insult to women. And for this reason I often ponder why some of these gals don’t have a clue.