Masculinity as Homophobia

February 29, 2012 § 4 Comments

I appreciated that this reading was assigned for our course. I think sometimes when talking about feminism(s) we can forget the ways in which men are subject to hierarchical structures as well. Michael Kimmel puts it well when he writes that “men’s feelings are not the feelings of the powerful, but of those who see themselves as powerless…feelings that come inevitably from the discontinuity between the social and the psychological, between the aggregate analysis that reveals how men are in power as a group and the psychological fact that they do not feel powerful as individuals.”

His point about the influence of perceived social humiliation struck a chord with me. I think this rings true with women as well, but is a larger fear for men. Kimmel mentions depression caused by threatened masculinity, but I think we should also be paying attention to anger. Perhaps more than we think, anger can be explained by perceived humiliation and threatened masculinity.

What do the ladies and men think?

§ 4 Responses to Masculinity as Homophobia

  • akugler says:

    I agree with the anger issue. I think we all know more men with anger issues rather than women. I feel women are more sensitive with emotions and they would feel sad or like they let someone down. Where men tend to get angry and try to show their masculinity in this manner. When a male gorilla feels threatened, he puffs out his chest and shows who is boss. When most men are angry, from a threat, they tend to stand taller and make their bodies wider with their shoulders back. They are reclaiming their grounds in a different way, after being humiliated and taking away some masculinity.

  • ihowells says:

    I also agree with the two of you. i think that women compare themselves to other women and often degrade themselves. I think men compare themselves to other men and feel threatened and in response to threat they get angry.

  • erikaostrom says:

    I agree as well, men are very competitive whether it be for a job position, a video game or a sporting event. I feel as though women are my physically competitive because they have to be skinner than a certain girl or look better than a girl where as men compare themselves as if they want to have more muscle than another man but they also need the sense of power. My friend is a homophobe and he is very athletic and does not care much about his appearance. I feel as though he has low self confidence and is just uncomfortable with the fact of a gay person. A man’s masculinity is very important and for someone who is such a dominant male probably has a sense of caution and an uneasy feeling when around these type of people that shifts their gender norm.

  • AmandaManbear says:

    Just to add to what erikaostrom wrote about homophobia, I think one factor is the way our society emasculates gay men. Straight (and even gay) men do not want to be emasculated and this can lead to homophobia. Men want to make sure everyone knows they are not gay, and persecute gay men in order to do so!

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