I made a post about homophobia and objectification that sparked a small debate/discussion. I’d like to be a bit more verbose now that I’m on a keyboard and have had some thinking time (as well as time to mull over your immediate and interesting feedback).
First of all, it’s important to explain my stance on the gender dichotomy. It’s not the Main Focus, but it was up for debate quite a bit and it does play into the question.
I believe the social situation of gender dichotomy is totally explicable, though not necessarily excusable. It’s not some great conspiracy, nor is it necessarily innate. The line of thought I’m about to take you on I picked up from reading Gregory’s book before its printing, and I encourage you to pick up a copy once it’s officially out.
Women are different from men. Not as different as many think, but there are certain differences. One is not better or worse than the other, just (again) different.
The main difference is that women make babies (gasp, really?!). And after we quit hunting animals and settled down to farm, babies became a commodity. It’s why large families were valued – you could get more done the more people you had to labor.
So if women are popping out babies all the time and your being alive depends on those babies, you’re going to do an awful lot to keep the wimminz safe during pregnancy and suckling. It’s a short step to just having the women deal with the kids through most of infancy, childhood, etc. Soon (well, ok, it actually takes some time but I doubt people much noticed), a woman’s place is in the home.
But then we advance our technology and industry and you don’t need to have so many babies to keep things going. In fact, it starts to kind of be difficult to feed so many mouths. So women’s roles change.
(this is where I branch back off from Gregory and into my own thought sphere)
But because of that history, women have been seen as a commodity (or at least a producer and maintainer of a commodity) for the entirety of our time in this era. And that role is so far removed from what has become valued that the general trend has been a devaluation and objectification of women.
Again, not excusable, but certainly explicable.
Women are not necessarily weak or care giving or shy any more than men are. It’s just become so socially ingrained that it may as well be – except that we could change it with enough will.
So, keeping all that in mind..
There’s a school of thought about the objectification of women. There are also debates about becoming a subject (actually participating, seen as active, etc), but you’re still not the Actor (see the tabs versus slots segment from the exchange in the last entry).
Most of the stories we hear about people being “homophobic” (in quotes because if these cases were actually a severe fear of homosexuals it’s unlikely such violence would be the outcome, but instead hiding in corners) are about men. And I would explain this in the following way:
In the same way that rape is not about sex, but rather is about power; lashing out verbally or physically against a homosexual person, specifically male, is not about their sexuality (and how it relates to you) but how his interest changes the other involved person into an object.
This is also with the red herring of assuming that all gay men are interested in EVERY male they interact with, especially the male who feels threatened. There are also subliminal social norms that people can only react to the upsetting of by personalizing everything.
The main point / to sum up :
In short, men are more threatened than women by homosexuality because they are used to being in power, and by being potentially objectified as a sex object, that power is called into question. Women, on the other hand, are used to being objects and are thus not so freaked out when put in the same place by a different gender.
And this is a sort of social memory. It’s what I feel is the happy medium between nature and nurture – we’ve been doing it one way for so long that we forget it was any other way. Even if your parents raise you one way, even by interacting with society the same general norms will become your general norms. We can’t help it, but we can change it (link back to my “we are the machine” tattoo).
Please argue, debate, whatever, just be nice.