“The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted “victims” groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges some star-chamber proceeding and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole.” [For the full article, see “The Origins of Political Correctness,” by Bernard Chapin, “Men’s News Daily,” April 5, 2009.]
Many of us have argued that misogyny is at the root of much homophobia, just as it is at the root of patriarchal religions! Whether it’s preventing women from holding leadership positions in assorted institutional churches to requiring certain modes of dress for women, the lack of compliance of which could even be punished by death from others, misogyny can be seen to run throughout these views.
What I’m about to suggest is that the dynamics underlying misogyny can also be applied beyond “Misogyny,” defined as “hatred (or contempt) of women or girls and, by so doing, further our understanding of all sorts of hostility against minority groups that are perceived as “weak” and that, therefore, threaten the misogynist’s need for control against all forces that he feels are threatening his need to control, in both his relationships as well as in society itself.
Gay men are likely viewed with far more revulsion by misogynists than are lesbians because the former aren’t viewed by many misogynists as “real men,” whereas lesbians are viewed as somewhat less threatening to many misogynists’ world-view regarding their need to control the domains in which they live. The misogynist’s dislike, if not downright hatred, of women may be seen to morph into dislike or hatred of anything that looks like it’s “womanly,” or “weak.”
It is interesting that many Straight men get off on watching lesbian sex portrayed on the screen whereas most of those men would be turned off, even revolted, by watching gay male sex displayed on that same screen. The former depictions are far less threatening to the misogynist than are the latter depictions!
Many men’s need to control women, to view women as somehow not as strong or as somehow lacking the abilities of men to control a given situation, be it religious or secular, needn’t be seen to be restricted to women as the object of their need to control. Many men who are misogynists may also feel they need to control, along with women, all groups within society that they feel can impact their lives in such a way that they will lose their perception of control that they associate with “manliness,” and that, in their world-view, in any way threatens their very concept of “a man” that they equate with being “macho,” “strong,” “in control.”
So, as depicted in the above cited article, not ironically printed on the web site, “Men’s News Daily,” we see animus simultaneously directed against immigrants, Gay people, and people of color; all of that animus is justified in this man’s mind by the condemnation of “political correctness.” So, to be accepting of Gay people is just one example of what this man terms “political correctness.”
“The angry white man” can exorcise his misogynist demons by imposing his need for control over what he perceives, and needs to perceive, as “the weak,” “the vulnerable,” “the minority,” or any “other” that threatens his need for control, and threatens in his own mind what he sees as slipping away from him: his sense of “honor” that in his mind comes largely, if not solely, out of his ability to control a situation and/or a relationship in which he finds himself.
So, to the misogynist, women are threatening, as are LGBT people, as are immigrants, as are people of color! They, each in their own way, threaten the misogynists’ needs to feel dominant, to dominate a relationship and/or a situation, to see “the other” as weak so they can, therefore, feel themselves to be strong. And to the degree that their sense of self stems from the perception they have of their strength in a given relationship and/or situation, it is to that degree that any perceived threat to their need to dominate will become their enemy.
So, Gay people are in the same league as the other minority groups that were mentioned, as they are seen as a threat by the misogynist to his very manhood! And since his “manhood” is equated in his mind with “strength” and “control,” and to the degree that the aforementioned minority groups are seen by him as such threats, it is to that degree that they are his “enemy.”
Therefore, he needs to externalize his animus against them by meeting his psychological need for control by appealing to sanitized terms, such as “traditional family values,” “conservatism,” “political correctness,” and the like, in order to justify in the public’s mind (and, likely, in his own mind as well) the underlying dynamic that may really be operating in his psyche that demands control over others, particularly others who are deemed by him as threats to his view of himself as well as threats to the world to which he has become accustomed, and that he feels is slipping away from his understanding and perceived control.
And what may be most galling to the misogynist is that what he has hitherto perceived as “weak” and “Inferior” seem to be gaining ascendancy and strength in society, and that ascendancy, because it rocks his inner (and outer) world, is likely to scare him to death! And out of that fear, he feels the need to lash out against all those minority groups in what he perceives to be in a socially acceptable way, and talk radio is replete with such “lashing out” that helps in the purging of that very need to “return to good old fashioned values.”
Therefore, we all have to be involved in the civil rights struggle for LGBT people! Misogyny may not only be seen to lie within the root of homophobia, but may also be seen to lie within the root of racism and all manifestations of xenophobia as well!
[Many women can also be misogynistic, but that is a subject for another time.]
Professor Emeritus of Sociology at California State University, Chico, Rev. Dr. Jerry S. Maneker served as an ordained priest in the Congregational Catholic Church, a division of the Independent Catholic Churches International (ICCI). For many years he published a weekly column in the Sacramento Valley Mirror titled “Christianity and Society” where he dealt with a variety of social issues from a biblical and sociological perspective. He also published a blog called A Christian Voice for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights and the website Radical Christianity.