1: J Homosex. 2001;42(1):1-28.Links
Marginalization among the marginalized: gay men’s anti-effeminacy attitudes.
Counseling Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, 60607-7164, USA. Kittiwut@uic.edu
Contemporary research has shown that a significant portion of gay men have traits, interests, occupations, and behaviors that are consistent with the stereotype of gay men as effeminate, androgynous, or unmasculine. A great number of gay men exhibit gender nonconformity during childhood; most, however, “defeminize” during adolescence, possibly in response to stigmatization and society’s gender-role prescription. Only a relatively small percentage of gay men continue to be gender-nonconforming in their adulthood, often at a price, as they also tend to have lower psychological well-being. Although gay culture historically appreciated camp and drag, which subvert the gender-based power hierarchy and celebrate gender nonconformity, anti-effeminacy prejudice is widespread among gay men. Ironically, gender-nonconforming gay men may suffer from discrimination not only from society at large, but from other gay men, who are most likely to have experienced stigmatization and may have been effeminate earlier in their lives. Drawing from anecdotes and findings from various sources, this article suggests that beyond many gay men’s erotic preference for masculinity lies contempt and hostility toward effeminacy and effeminate men on sociopolitical and personal levels. Two correlates of gay men’s anti-effeminacy attitudes are proposed: (a) hegemonic masculinity ideology, or the degree to which one subscribes to the value system in which masculinity is an asset, and men and masculinity are considered superior to women and femininity; and (b) masculinity consciousness, or the saliency of masculinity in one’s self-monitoring, public self-consciousness, and self-concept. These two variables are hypothesized to interact with gay men’s self-perceived masculinity-femininity and their history of defeminization in predicting attitudes toward effeminacy. Research is underway to measure levels of anti-effeminacy attitudes and explore hypothesized correlates.
PMID: 11991561 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]