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Labour MP Diane Abbott: ‘Crisis of masculinity is leading to the normalisation of homophobia’

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  1. The “normalisation of homophobia” is because institutional forces – elements of the media, the church, the government – give credibility and permission to bigots.

    We still reap the consequences of Section 28, which taught people were were less people. We are dealing with those who reinforce every lie and slander about us without censure. We deal with our virtual invisibility in media.

    This has NOTHING to do with masculinity – such apologist crap, which should be just as deeply offensive to modern British men who are NOT homophobic and face the same stresses as those who are.

    1. Just because some plenty of British men don’t succumb to the same stresses Abbott mentions doesn’t make it apologism. Being from a low-income or poorly educated background doesn’t make it OK to commit anti-social behaviour or deal drugs or whatever, but it’s not apologism to acknowledge that it does occur more frequently in such demographics. There is a connection. It’s short-sighted to simply write it off. Homophobia is a manifestation of gender roles, it’s fair to examine gender roles and perceptions as a source of it.

    2. Whilst it is entirely true that many institutions (churches, governments etc) give credibility, permission and in some cases even encourage homophobic sentiments. It is far too simplistic to suggest that they are the sole cause of homophobia.

      Ms Abbott is pointing out that there is a societal perception that it is not very ‘manly’ for males to discuss the unique problems and issues that they are experiencing. There is an ideal of ‘male stoicism’ that makes many men/boys uncomfortable talking about these issues. Society’s ideals of ‘manliness’ are further exaggerated by the rise in consumerism which “creates a culture of ‘hypermasculinity'”. At its worst this normalises homophobia.

      She is not saying modern British men are homophobic. She is saying theses ideas of ‘manliness’ are insecure and see homosexuality as threatening and wrong. She is not saying this is THE cause of homophobia. Just that a more frank discussion on these issues needs to be had to prevent this culture normal

    3. -ising homophobia and therefore making it more acceptable.

      In many working class environments it is not considered very manly to discuss these issues. Many people do view being gay as not very manly in these environments. It is this view that she is challenging.

      Of course there are many people who do not hold these views but by encouraging the idea that it is OK for men to talk about their issues the enlightened can become the norm.

    4. Whilst I’m not sure on the specifics of what she says, I disagree with her that things are getting worse.

      However, I do believe homophobia in general has a lot to do with the masculine ideal, and men’s fear that they are seen to not measure up.

      It’s easy to blame institutions, and I agree they are culpable, but they wouldn’t be able to pass things like section 28 if it wasn’t for a lot of homophobia in society in general at any given time.

  2. That There Other David 15 May 2013, 4:26pm

    I resent the implication that this is somehow a male-only problem. Ian Baynham was not kicked to death by two disillusioned young men missing their fathers.

    1. Is that the implication? She seems to be suggesting it’s a part of the problem, not the extent of it.

      1. That There Other David 15 May 2013, 4:32pm

        She specifically and repeatedly mentions men and boys, and specifically blames masculinity as the cause of the issue. The implication is extremely clear to me, even if you don’t see it.

        1. She mentions it as *one* cause of the issue. And she’s addressing perceptions of masculinity, not being male itself.

          She also mentions it as a cause of “lack of respect for women’s autonomy”. Do you think she also believes that it’s the only cause of this, or that she’d also list institutional attitudes and practices as well?

  3. This from an MP who continued to back a Labour councillor who equated homosexuality with paedophilia on the campaign trail – to the level that her gay opponent was hounded out of the borough – even after that councillor was found guilty.

    No friend of LGBT people and no enemy of the homophobe except when she thinks she might get a few column inches in the papers out of it.

  4. What a cancerous nipple! Go home you bigot and look in the mirror.

  5. am not sure that its normalisation of homo phobia she wanted to say following her arguments – ( more like normalisation of homosexuality – given the title of the piece and the fact that men are at a crisis etc Used to the church saying it – lesbianism /homosexuality a result of broken ness…anyway who knows what Diane meant to say or not.

    I certainly think she is telling porkypies and is being very unrealistic to say that there was not that much queer bashing when she was at school in the 70s .I recall it being very much there when i was at school in the early 80s so know that in the early -mid 70s alot of queer bashing took place.

    1. Yeah, I don’t know about telling lies but I suspect that even if her own experience was that she didn’t witness a lot of bullying, that’s not to say it wasn’t happening elsewhere (where it certainly was) or at her own school.

      I think she’s saying that a “crisis of masculinity” means that boys and men feel the need to make their “masculinity” overt. One way of doing so is to display homophobic attitudes which are going unchallenged.

      1. Didn’t think of it that way there has always been queer bashing and not due to economic crisis understanding – the economy was alot worse in the 70s – winter of discontent for an example . I actually think most of the homophobia is coming from the legalistic Church e.g C of E ( denial of same sex marital rites) and it has nothing to do with economics.

  6. Her heart seems to be in the right place, but her argument really just boils down to hypermasculinity being a symptom of the marginalisation of fathers and fatherhood (patriarchy) for which feminism and single parenthood stand to blame.

    I’m sorry, but if you are a feminist, I think you should recheck your politics if you believe there to be a ‘crisis of masculinity’, as if ‘masculinity’, even if it were a real thing, needed rescuing. You might aswell have a crisis of whiteness.

    1. If you read this story in the guardian, where it was covered by a much better journalist it seems, she specifically is quoted as saying this is not an attack on any one type of family and that she herself is a single parent. Her argument was also presented as being more strongly linked to the current economic climate and unemployment levels. In an effort to play up the gay angle PN seems to have missed key aspects of her speech.

      To be honest I don’t usually like the woman’s politics, but I think she had some good points to make, as I understood her from the previous article

  7. Number 1: things are getting better, not worse in terms of homophobia (even in a recession)

    Number 2: I believe men are more free than in the recent past to be “non-masculine” – compared for example to men in the fifties who really were strong and silent and would never even think of using moisturiser – I don’t think so

    Plus it’s cool to be a geek now

    This is a typical example of someone who looks at the past through rose tinted glasses and says “things aren’t perfect, therefore they must be getting worse”

  8. Colin (London) 15 May 2013, 10:26pm

    Oh for goodness sake. A number of points to consider..
    From two of my sisters and ex who are teachers.. It was considered that girls where being undervalued so the curricula and teaching methods were changed to suit. Boys and girls learn differently. Boys need to be taught differently
    Very little has been created by the internet…It’s changed delivery… Think music. Today downloaded. 10 years ago we had vinyl, cassette and CD. Factories to produce, jobs, transport to stores, jobs, retailers, jobs who paid rates to councils etc. Jobs..all gone.
    So with 1m young people with no future, no job and no hope.

    Education and Job creation is more important than cheaper consumer goods…Now MP look at the dynamics of this and get on with it.

    Give the job seekers allowance to older workers and the young their jobs so they expect to work. Also all job seekers should do some work in the community for their benefits to get them into working, communicating, and socially connected.

  9. I’m not fond of this – she’s using homophobia to push a separate agenda. We’re a tool to her

    She ignores the forces of homophobia out there – the politicians and churches spouting hate, she ignores our absence or stereotyping in most media – especially media for young children. She ignores how it is still hard today to talk about GBLT issues in schools.

    All of these add to homophobia – and she ignores them in favour of advancing an issue she cares about

  10. It’s easy to blame men, but they are only acting in such a masculine way because it attracts women, remember the good guy always finishes last. The guy who people say is such a tool always has a girlfriend.

    Until Women find kind, caring men sexually attractive it’s not likely to change any time soon.

    If where honest with ourselves, we find manly men attractive, they are successful, confident, strong and have the wwhhoorr factor. Why would they change what works for them and as women move more and more into previously male dominated jobs and behaviour, they are being pushed more and more towards the ultra-masculine man, the educated man moves towards a sophisticated mature man the less well educated move towards the thug

    Society is creating this monster, men are just responding to stimulus around them, Society needs to show the masculine man as the oposite of stupid and violent.

  11. She is talking from a sociological point of view … go to the library and read and you will understand that “crisis in masculinity”, “masculinity”, “hypermasculinity” are all concepts about societal pressure.

    Its true homophobic people object to homophobia because they think it makes you less of a man. The homophobic people are insecure about their own masculinity in the current economic climate because they cannot provide for their families etc…

    She is merely providing an explanation for why men are increasingly feeling the need to be homophobic.

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