Vaguely about female homophobia

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Written at work with many interruptions.

In an email this morning I expressed envy that some gay women are comfortable with gender play, color, roles - choose your own term. Enough so that we've had books from major publishers on lesbian femme/butch relationships come into to the shop (both queer theory and silly books).

After opening the shop this morning a car pulled up and out stepped too women. One slender, in a dress with a purse; her companion wore jeans and a sports pullover. The slender woman would've set off my gaydar* by herself. Together I couldn't help but project femme/butch onto them.

Never get to do that with a gay male couple. Perhaps in other parts of the world but not in Durham, NC. Whenever I wonder why (a slice) of gay women do this but gay men don't. Heterosexist gay men shudder at the thought. That old Devil masculinity.

What I've been trying to summon up in my mind what homophobic women feel? I've heard straight women find the idea of same-sex erotic contact nauseating. Luckily I've never met any of them.

I was wondering if straight women who find lesbian sex revolting (as opposed to uninteresting, unerotic) feel some abstract neurotic fear. Or do they feel their femininity would be compromised, destroyed. As with homophobic men you have to wonder what is so horrible about their body when someone else has it.

Often I've wished for a Gender Switch in the back of my neck. I could flip it and see what the social world is like for women. (It wouldn't work; I'd be just as asocial if I were a woman.) But I can't imagine experiencing what must go on in the mind of a homophobic female.

* A few words in self-defense. My limited lesbian gaydar works only in my shop or nearby. This is the gay-friendly part of Durham. In buying and selling lesbian books I've probably picked up a few transitory local details of hair, dress, deportment. Just as it is possible to feel confident certain men are gay without their fitting any sort of gay stereotype. I know gay women I'd never guess without having been told. Don't assume women with functional haircuts are lesbians. While a few may have patterned themselves in the image of Leslie Feinberg, most don't suggest butchness.


As with most homophobia, it usually focuses on theirselves. Women will automatically assume that because you’re lesbian/bi, you must fancy them/want to sleep with them. Personally I don’t find straight women attractive … at all. Some of them are pretty, even beautiful, but I am not attracted to them. They don’t seem to get this.

On the whole, homophobia in women is along the same lines as in men — assumption that you desire them, personally; reactions about it being “wrong” (particularly in the eyes of God) and horror at the social exclusion it means. Again, this is usually because they would find such exclusion from society/norms/the 2.4 kids future they had planned abhorrent. I think one of the key points to homophobia is that it’s easier for the homophobe to imagine themselves “in your shoes” and it is actually this that they react to.

Although racism, sexism, etc are often just as intense reactions (sometimes stronger), I think by their very nature they preclude the same sort of “imagine that was me” scenario which actually brings the shudders of dread out amongst homophobes. I think this also accounts for many of the most vigorous/malicious homophobes being closet cases … obviously the “imagine that was me” situation is even more poignant for them

?Personally I don’t find straight women attractive … ?

Since I feel much the same way about straight men I can?t help but smile at reading this.

There was a study done of penile blood flow in straight-identified men. Homophobes showed the most repressed homoerotic desire.

There?s no getting away from the baneful effect of conservative Christianity. Don?t know what it was like in South Africa but as the UK papers often note with slight puzzlement it is very strong in the US.

For some very sheltered people it is probably terrifyingly alien.

My wife and I both recall having learned about the study on penile blood flow in straight-identified men, but neither of us can recall where from. I found this website while Googling for it. If anyone can point me to the source, I’d be grateful.

I think normal women are repulsed by dykes performing evil crimes against nature on each other because to normal moral people that sort of thing is naturally filthy and repugnant. Perverts tend to disagree not surprisingly but then what would they know.

“Heterosexist gay men “

Let me get this right, you mean the one’s not playing boy/girl?

Not the ones who don’t play at it. The ones who are disgusted by femme gay men and the men who like them.

There’s a big difference between not doing something and despising those who enjoy it.

Oh, that seems more transphobic than anything. IMHO

I also read the article about homophobic men and physical reaction to gay porn. The original research is published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology; Aug96, Vol. 105 Issue 3, “Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?” by Adams, Henry E. and Wright Jr., Lester W.

(no direct link, but if you have access to academic online journals, it is available there)

There is some discussion of the research here:

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