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SOCB22H3 Study Guide - Gelting, Sexual Orientation, Musl

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Ping- Chun Hsiung

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Sociology and Gender Readings Nov 9
Laura Hamilton, Trading on Heterosexuality: College Womens
Gender Strategies and Homophobia,
homophobia plays a central role in the construction of masculinities
term faggot stands in for more than sexual insult: It connotes a failure to be fully masculine
The hegemonic form of masculinity thus supports men’s dominance over women and other men
in subordinated positions because of race, class, or sexuality
Homophobia occurs when men try to perform hegemonic masculinities
Past research seems to support the association of homophobia with men: For instance, studies
often find that women have more positive attitudes toward homosexuality
Homophobia may also be central to the development of certain feminine selves but not in the
same way as for masculine selves. Because women and men are in different positions with regard
to power, women’s homophobia may support gendered identities that are most successful in
garnering mens approval
suggest that heterosexual women may display homophobia against lesbians as they negotiate
status in a gender-inegalitarian erotic market
A gender strategy is a course of action that attempts to solve a problem using the cultural
conceptions of gender available to the individual
Gender strategies are thus both cognitive and behavioural
Premised on gender difference, heterosexuality is one of the key mechanisms
through which women and men learn to embody gender. Given women’s subordinate position,
much of what makes a woman traditionally feminine is her ability and desire to attract a man
Women learn to produce feminine bodies and to have desires for men that conform to
heterosexual imperatives. Many of the roles from which they gain their identitiessuch as
girlfriend, wife, and mother—further emphasize the centrality of heterosexuality to gender
while political, cultural, and economic practices benefit hegemonic masculinity, they but
subordinate masculinities that eschew heteronormativity. Many of these same practices similarly
disadvantage women.
femininities that conform to heteronormative ideals of feminine charm and beauty can operate as
a form of embodied cultural capital
Homophobia can result when women who have embodied capital disassociate themselves from
those who do not.
Any benefits that women may accrue through homophobia come at a cost: They ultimately
reinforce the gendered inequalities that made such a gender strategy necessary
Audiences hold people accountable for the types of gender performances that they expect from
particular bodies in particular social positions

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Therefore, heterosexual women in socially dominant race and class positions may have greater
access to the dividends of hegemonic masculinity as they are most likely to embody cultural
notions of an ideal femininity
Many erotic markets operate using heteronormative cultural logics
Reflects what sex is, and for whom it is performed
Same-sex eroticism between women becomes a performance for men; one that ends
in heterosexual sex
Social distance is the degree of closeness that people are willing to tolerate in their
interactions with a stigmatized group
people often avoid encounters with stigmatized individuals because of interactional ambiguities
and a fear of contamination by association.
Inserting social distance is one way to mitigate these perceived costs of engaging in social
interaction with different individuals
Among women, homophobia appears as a sort of social distance
Effectively white organizations
Revolve around a predictable party routine in which women are expected to drink,
flirt, socialize
Fraternities have a monopoly because they provide free alcohol to underaged women
Fraternities screen admission into their parties
Choosing not to participate also came at a cost; seen as losers and antisocial
Some felt women sell their flirtiness for liquor
Fraternity men treated women who were unwilling to trade on their erotic interest
as lower status and less deserving of alcohol
Failing to signal interest in obtaining mens approval could also result in
At the top of mens hierarchy were the blonde
The lesbians on the floor were thus doubly disadvantaged; first, by their refusal to participate in
the erotic market and then by their choice not to perform blondeness.
Thrill of dressing sexy
People who believed homosexuality was never okay said it was mostly for religion
but none were involved in Christian organizations
Those who stated its ok for others but not in my space walk the line between the
competing values of openness to diversity and dissociation from low-status lesbians
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