Masculinity As Homophobia

March 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

This essay by Michael Kimmel made me think about homophobia in a different way. He talked about how homophobia is more than a fear of gay men or the fear of being perceived as gay. Kimmel suggests that homophobia is more a fear that men will be exposed by other men as not “measuring up” or not being “real men”. Essentially, Kimmel said that men are afraid of other men and the humiliation that follows if they are crowned a sissy.

I thought the Karl Marx quote to be interesting and quite true. The idea of the “traditional male”, even female for that matter, being a nightmare to the brains of the living is true in that people think they have to measure up to the standards that have been laid out by previous generations. People in general have a constant fear of being viewed as inadequate or being viewed as different. This forces us to do and say things we may not want to do in order to fit certain stereotypes and avoid others so that we won’t be judged as being different or inadequate. Even though this is something everyone struggles with, I like how the essay makes it a point to concentrate on how this impacts men. Typically I think we concentrate more on women’s self-esteem rather than men’s so it was interesting to see this from a man’s perspective.

I think this all goes back to the idea of wanting approval from others and thinking we have to live up to a certain standard. It’s a shame that we live in a world where people are afraid to be themselves. But alas, it remains a reality that as long as these standards exist, so will the fear of being inadequate and the desire to become someone else’s idea of perfect.

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