The Cultural Significance of Homophobia on Heterosexual Women’s Gendered Experiences in the United States: A Commentary
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Worthen, M.G.F. Sex Roles (2014) 71: 141. doi:10.1007/s11199-014-0389-1
The focus of this Feminist Forum commentary is to both complement and extend McCormack and Anderson’s (2014, this issue) thesis by drawing relationships between homophobia, homohysteria, masculinity, and the gendered experiences of heterosexual women in the United States. I argue that the emerging culture of decreasing homonegativity in the United States and the simultaneous reimagining of masculinity and men’s gendered behaviors contribute to more diverse gendered experiences of heterosexual women. To support my argument, I provide direct counterpoints to three of the six characteristics of heterosexual men McCormack and Anderson (2014) draw upon as evidence of their argument and apply them to the gendered experiences of heterosexual women. These are: (1) social inclusion of lesbian and bisexual women peers, (2) the embrace of once-masculinized artifacts, (3) sexualization and the “party-time rule” of homosexuality, and one additional characteristic (4) increased assertiveness of heterosexual women. Furthermore, I highlight contradictory evidence and missing pieces to the puzzle, including a theoretical exploration of how changing levels homophobia affect LGBT people’s gendered experiences. Overall, through examining the relationships between changing levels of homophobia and heterosexual women’s and LGBT people’s gendered experiences, the current exploration provides a much needed theoretical extension and application of McCormack and Anderson’s (2014) research.