Concerning Trends In Lesbianism and Its Effects On The Masculine Empowerment Dichotomy
By David Metcalfe
December 20, 2017
Homosexuality was subjugated and persecuted for majority of human history. Our society now accepts and promotes it as an acceptable and positive forum for self-expression. How did this occur?
Lesbianism has seen massive increases in media portrayals in recent years. It also just so happens that women are now 3x more likely to be non-heterosexual than men. Is this a coincidence?
These concepts, and many more, will be covered throughout this article. It took me a lot of effort to write this, so you better read it. Jk, no it’s pretty long so I would recommend that you read the intro, conclusion, and whatever sections interest you in between. And, as always, I’m happy to field any questions you might have at my email address: email@example.com.
The Antiquation of Procreation in the Homosexual Nation
Human sexuality is a complicated subject, and it is further complicated by the taboo nature of it. Bertrand Russel’s book Marriage and Morals (1929) challenged conventional ideas about sex and marriage, suggesting that, due to the advent of contraception, sexual acts no longer needed to be tied to reproduction. Public opinion was very negative, and he later lost his job as a professor at the City College of New York since he was deemed “morally unfit” (Haeberle, 1983).
The famous (or infamous, depending on your opinion) Kinsey Reports published in 1948 and 1953 on male and female sexuality, respectively, sold nearly a million copies, and revolutionized public opinion on human sexuality (Irvine, 2005). He interviewed several thousand people, and discovered several unnerving things, such as the prevalence of infidelity among married couples (50%), sadomasochism (12% females, 22% males), and a host of other socially deviant sexual behaviours. But most notably, his findings destroyed widely held views on homosexuality. He discovered that although someone may identify as heterosexual, they may have homosexual attraction or even engage in homosexual behaviors. Not only were 10% of people nearly exclusively homosexual, but sexuality was also fluid, and could change throughout one’s lifetime. He estimated that as many as 37% of men had a homosexual experience at some point in their adult lives. In order to quantify this sexual fluidity, he used a scale from 0-6, that rated how hetero or homosexual someone is, with 0 being most heterosexual and 6 being most homosexual, and then an X to identify asexuality (Kinsey, 1948), (Kinsey, 1953).
Most disconcerting about these findings was the implication that there may be secret deviant sexual desires within any person. It was previously assumed that if you were married with children, you were fulfilling your sexual desires in a healthy way, and everything was fine. However, based on the percentages offered by the Kinsey Reports, this was clearly not the case. In addition, someone who may think they are heterosexual may at some point engage in homosexual activity. And most people, although heterosexual, at times could respond to homosexual stimuli. The deeply ingrained ideals of the “Victorian morality” (based on the teachings of the Bible) were being called into question. This eventually culminated into what’s known as the “Sexual Revolution” in the 1960’s and 70’s. Homosexuality was decriminalized, and vibrant, active homosexual communities formed in large cities all over the United States. The idea of sex only to procreate became antiquated, as oral contraceptives and condoms, as well as new insights in academic study, changed how people thought of sex. Restrictions were out, and freedom of expression was in (Eskridge, 2009).
The idea that same-sex attraction is 100% an individual choice is absurd, and not something I am going to bother arguing at length. The high concordance of homosexuality among twins, and the clustering found in family pedigrees supports biological models, and it has been found that there are a variety of hormonal and environmental factors as well (Frankowski, 2004). The expression of that, however, can certainly be up to the individual. A married man may be attracted to women who are not his wife, but choose not to actually engage in the behavior. So too, many people who are same-sex attracted may not act on that desire, due to social or moral restrictions.
Haunting Homophobia: How I Grew To (Mistakenly) Hate Lesbians
I generally don’t like social gatherings with random people very much. The conversations are mundane, there is incessant, undeserved laughter at simple jokes, and no one wants to take the time to have meaningful conversations beyond what you do for a living and (if you’re lucky) what your hobbies are. In the beginning of February this year, one of these parties was happening in Edmonton, and I was rather lonely and bored that weekend, so I decided to go. It was the usual mundanity. However, I noticed there was a nice-looking young lady standing by herself off in the corner. I walked over to her and smiled, “Hey, I’m David”. She smiled, and we began talking. I could tell she was intelligent from the first few sentences, so I decided to tell her about a theory in psychology I was working on (I believe I had just come up with “role fulfillment theory” at that time). Not only did she understand it, but she enjoyed talking about it, even offering her own insight into it. We started talking about everything: movies, books, career, family, etc. Before I knew it, the party was ending. We connected in such a meaningful way, I got her number and told her we could set up a time to hang out later.
I could hardly wait. I stalked her Facebook profile every day, and maintained an ongoing text conversation with her. I thought about her way too much that week. We got to hang out a few times, and I was smitten. She is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever met, and I was very attracted to her. Although I was planning to move to United States in the summer, I liked her so much I began looking at job opportunities in Edmonton, so that I could stay with her after I graduated, assuming things went well.
But then one day, it was late, and we were alone in her house. Although I was a Christian and believed that pre-marital sex was morally wrong, I was such a mess of a person, I didn’t care, and I figured this might be a good opportunity to have sex with her. But as we were talking, she mentioned something about a recent date she went on. I was concerned. “How recent was this?” I asked. “Last week” she replied. “Umm…what? Who is this guy?” “It was a girl, actually, that I met on Tinder”.
“A girl? What? I thought you were heterosexual.”
“Well, I am sometimes, but I also like to experiment with other types of relationships.”
This girl was Christian, as I was, so I tried to reason with her. Although I fail to always follow Christian teaching, I am very knowledgeable of it, so I explained why the Bible forbids homosexuality. She responded by saying that God loves her however she is, and that it’s fine for her to do what she feels is right. There’s a lot of problems with employing that as an ethic, so I reasoned why her ideas fail in multiple aspects, and could be used to justify many evils, and are not theologically sound. But she refused to engage rationality, and told me not to talk about it anymore.
As I drove home, I began to realize how blinded I was to it. She had made small comments hinting towards her homosexuality multiple times. Later, I looked through her Facebook profile and realized she had taken a girl with her to the prom, and was pictured in suggestive positions with girls in many of her pictures.
I didn’t sleep that entire night. Now, I’m not a particularly homophobic person, but there was something about this that deeply disturbed me. An integral aspect of masculinity is the ability to satisfy women sexually, and not only did I fail at that, but this girl would rather have a woman fulfill that for her. I had an intrusive thought that would appear in my mind of her sitting naked on a bed with a woman beside her. While normally it may have been perceived as erotic, it made me sick to my stomach every time I thought of it. Her lesbianism was what prevented me from being with her, and I grew to hate it.
In the following months, it was as if God was playing a cruel trick on me. Lesbianism was everywhere, and I couldn’t get away from it. It seemed like every movie, tv show, etc. that I watched had some kind of lesbianism in it. Orange Is The New Black was the most popular show on Netflix, where majority of the main characters are lesbian, and it even features explicit lesbian sex scenes throughout. Blue Is The Warmest Color, also about lesbians, was added to Netflix, and had been voted one of the best movies made that year. As I looked at biographies of various actors, I noticed that nearly every major actress had at least one lesbian scene. I read various articles that talked about growing trends in women leaving their husbands for other women, and others which suggested that it’s normal for girls to go in and out of being a lesbian, and that they are even more likely to orgasm from sex with a woman than with a man. I started to think that, perhaps, every girl is either bisexual or lesbian. Although I thought it was fine if it was merely confined to pornography, having it become a reality, and an overbearing reality at that, was very disturbing to me.
Queer Questions and Attaining Answers
My tendency to overthink things and be obsessively inquisitive causes me great difficulty sometimes. I can’t handle not understanding things that are important to me. I decided to do what I always do with my questions: undergo rigorous academic study. As I studied through various biological, psychological, and sociological concepts of queer identity, I started to apply those concepts to things I saw in media. Living in a nation that seems to be obsessed with lesbians gave me a unique opportunity to do a casual case study. It’s not as if I needed to look for lesbianism in media. It was all around me. Whenever I did stumble upon an example, I would consider various theories on sexuality and queer identity to employ a framework of understanding, and create a concept of lesbianism that I could not only understand, but could also use to answer my questions. The main questions I wanted to answer included:
Why is America so obsessed with lesbians?
Why would heterosexual girls engage in homosexual experimentation?
Why is it so common for married women in their 30’s to have a lesbian affair?
Why would a Christian young woman think it is acceptable to practice homosexuality?
After six months of studying these topics, I have gained understanding to a level that I feel is sufficient to share my ideas, and hopefully encourage further study from others. There are a few important concepts you need to know in order to understand these questions, and lots of others that may come up in your life in whatever capacity you happen to encounter them. We will go through 5 sections:
1) Understanding: Queer Theory and Lesbian Classification
2) Prevalence: America’s Weird Obsession
3) Explanations: Answering the “Why”
4) The Masculine Empowerment Dichotomy
5) Recommendations: Creating a Viable and Coherent Ethic
Sociologists are often looking for some kind of structure through which to understand things and make meaningful predictions. For example, we might have a structure such as race, in which there are certain categories like white, black, Hispanic, etc. In the 2012 election, it was noticed that about 93% of black people voted for Obama (Tyson and Maniam, 2016). Based on this, political experts estimated it would be similar for the 2016 election, which it was (88% for Hilary). While it may be pragmatic for political analysts, they may be missing a variety of factors that call their assumptions into question. For example, what defines a black person? Is it based on their skin color? How dark does it have to be in order to be considered black? What if a person has a white parent and black parent? What if the person is dark skinned but does not personally identify as black? This type of questioning is known as “Post-structuralism” since it critiques the proposed structures we try to place on people.
That’s how “Queer Theory” works. The Victorian ideas about sexuality were very structured. It’s not that they denied the existence of non-heterosexual people, but that they put them in a separate category of sexual deviance apart from the norm. The Kinsey Reports, as you’ll remember, were revolutionary in their questioning of these widely held conceptions. What does it mean to be heterosexual? Does it mean to only have attraction for the opposite sex? What if someone is attracted to both sexes, but they only engage in heterosexual behavior? These are some of the deconstructionist type questions that “Queer Theory” typically asks.
Basically, “Queer Theory” operates on three concepts: sex, gender, and desire. Victorian ideas thought that it could place people into categories as heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual. However, things can get much more complicated than those categories might suggest. For example, someone might be born male, identify as female, and be attracted to men. Is this person homosexual, since they were born male? Or, is this person heterosexual, since they identify as female? In the movie “The Hot Chick” starring Rob Schneider, he magically switches bodies with a young woman. At one point in the movie, Rob Schneider’s body, inhabited by a woman, kisses a girl. He asks, “does that make me a lesbian?”. It’s a great example of “Queer Theory”, because there really isn’t a category for that (Jagose, 1996).
I am personally an advocate of “Queer Theory” for its sociological approach to understanding issues of sexuality. It is widely accepted in universities around the world and, from what I can tell, is not contradicted by any current research in any fields relating to human sexuality. Where I might differ, as I will expand upon in greater detail later, is not how things are, but how they ought to be. I think there is credence to the idea of “gender essentialism” i.e. that we have a certain gender for a reason, and we ought to act in accordance with it. But again, that’s more for the ethics section at the end.
The post-structuralist approach of “Queer Theory” offers a lot of value, since it forces us to consider the complexity of the issues surrounding sex, gender, and desire. However, as previously stated, there is a certain pragmatic value offered by retaining some semblance of structure. I reject the idea of one group of people being defined as “lesbian”. Instead, this classification that I’ve developed is an attempt to better understand lesbianism while striking a balance between critique and pragmatism. There are, as far as I can tell, 6 different types of women who engage in lesbian behavior.
1) Butch Lesbian
This is a woman who identifies as lesbian and exhibits masculine qualities. Butch lesbians may dress in manly clothing, have a deeper than average voice, and may play sports or work at jobs that are typically considered masculine.
2) Femme Lesbian
This is a woman who identifies as lesbian, yet still exhibits feminine qualities. They often look as though they could be heterosexual, as their appearance does not stand out of the ordinary from most women. They typically have long hair, high-pitched voices, and wear feminine clothing (Kramarae and Spencer, 2000).
The Butch and Femme lesbian types will very commonly match up together. Such is the case of Canadian singer K.D. Lang and her former partner of eight years, Jamie Price. Clearly, K.D. is the butch, while Jamie is the femme.
3) Party Lesbian
According to one study cited by Psychology Today, about 33% of college women reported that they had kissed a member of the same sex at a party. The vast majority, of course, are not lesbians, and are not even attracted to the same sex. It is considered more of a show than anything else, in order to arouse male attention and communicate sexual availability (Gervais, 2012). This is an odd yet increasingly popular cultural phenomenon.
4) Experimenting Lesbian
This is the concept drawn upon in the popular Katy Perry song. It’s the idea of a girl who is not sure of her sexual identity, and wanting to test it by trying it out. These girls may even go between homo and heterosexual relationships in order to figure out what they want in life. Many of them will end up becoming bisexual in the long term, but some will arrive at an exclusive sexual identity.
5) Bisexual Lesbian
These are women who engage in sex with both men and women at various times. It is important to note that they are a separate category from “party lesbians” or “experimenting lesbians” as they are much more solid in their sexual identity as being towards both women and men.
6) The “Awakened” Lesbian
I remember back in high school I read an article in Maclean’s called “Dear John, I love Jane”. It was about how straight, married women were leaving their husbands to enter into lesbian relationships. They said they felt “awakened”. It’s too complicated, and recent, of a subject to get accurate percentages. It isn’t common enough to be a statistically significant reason for divorce, but it is something that happens, and it’s common enough that articles have been written about it in major newspapers and magazines (McKinnell, 2010).
All of these types of sexual identities within lesbianism serve to deconstruct many of the aspects of sexuality that were widely held in the Victorian era. Although Victorian morality is far from perfect, there is value in having some kind of structure to how we operate as individuals and in society. Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, does not allow the ability to create a universal ethic for us to live by. This section will not be concerned with that universal ethic, but rather with the potential social dysfunction, and the resulting psychological effects.
Not all societal structures are good. Victorian class structure, for example, perpetuated inequality. Racial subjugation, like in 18th century America, would also be considered a very negative structure. However, just like how a building structure becomes chaos when it is demolished, the same thing can happen when societal structures crumble. The crumbling of the structure around sexuality can have adverse effects in certain ways, and has the potential to negatively affect people, which is why each type of lesbian gives me at least some cause for concern.
Butch lesbians are solid in their identity, which is helpful. However, since they are masculine, they have potential to be predatory. Many butch lesbians will develop crushes on heterosexual women, and try to “turn” them gay. Since female sexuality is somewhat fluid, this can occur from time to time. This concept was featured in the first season of “Master of None”. Also, butch lesbians may take advantage of women at various times if they are drunk or not properly “on guard” since they don’t expect a sexual threat from a woman as they might with a man.
Femme lesbians are solid in their identity, but the people around them may not be. This may result in a scenario in which a man thinks she is heterosexual, and thus develops feelings for her, but then is disappointed to find out she is lesbian.
Party lesbians contribute to male chauvinism and degrading ideas of femininity. Since they are not getting pleasure out of it themselves, they further the notion that women exist for the purpose of male sexual pleasure.
Experimenting lesbians may not understand the severity of breaking off relationships, or just “using” people as a means to discover themselves. It is, in many ways, a selfish way to go about dating. They may also not understand the gravity of their sexual encounters and how it affects them as individuals and in the larger social community. In “13 Reasons Why”, one of the main characters experiments with a lesbian friend, and later suffers severe psychological trauma as a result.
Bisexual lesbians need to be very clear about their sexual identity with romantic partners. Any person they date should know up front, so as not to be surprised when they are left for someone else. They also may be cause for concern for the same reasons as party and experimenting lesbians.
The “Awakened” lesbian is probably the most socially detrimental. If a woman has a husband and children, she is severely disrupting the family by leaving to be with a woman. “Big Mouth” did an excellent job of showing the very real difficulty that having an affair can cause. It seems like a selfish decision to satisfy one’s own sexual desires at the cost of the family’s well-being.
America’s Weird Obsession
The Media and The Message
I was going to make a list of popular actresses who have had a lesbian scene at some point in their career, but then I realized the list would be much shorter if it was actresses who haven’t had a lesbian scene. Male actors, on the other hand, very rarely have ever had any gay scene. Those who have are not engaging in a superficial or casual encounter, but a more authentic, all-in type of gay relationship. For example, Brokeback Mountain featured a sincere, long term relationship between the two men, whereas Jennifer’s Body is a specifically erotic, one time encounter between the two women.
This type of inauthentic lesbian relationship has become so common in the last 20 years that it is classified as its own lesbian subgenre, known as the “lesbian kiss episode” (Heffernan, 2005). First used as a ratings ploy in a 1991 episode of L.A. Law, it has since been used in popular shows like Friends, One Tree Hill, The Simpsons, and How I Met Your Mother.
Parting from the inauthentic, ratings driven lesbian ploy are shows such as Orange Is The New Black and The L Word. These shows offer increased authenticity and emotional aspects and, rather than treating lesbianism as part of mainstream culture, recognize the subculture that can form and provide community outside of the predominant norms of society.
Media is both a source and resultant of ideas and happenings in a society. Due to the excessive amount of lesbianism contained in media, it is influencing how we view female sexuality. Many young men view it as erotic and entertaining, and many young women view it as harmless, fun, and potentially a healthy mode of self expression and discovery.
Here is a map showing the most searched terms on “Pornhub” by state:
It’s well known that straight men often find lesbianism erotic. A new trend, however, suggests that straight women are becoming increasingly interested in lesbian pornography. For men, the top searched terms of 2016 were “step-mom” and “teen”, with “lesbian” falling in third. For women, the number one most searched term was “lesbian” (The 20 Most Searched Terms, 2017). Although there would be some lesbian women in this sample, it is reasonable to assume that the majority are heterosexual, which marks an interesting trend, which I will explain further in the next section.
A study cited in Psychology Today suggests that approximately 85% of women identify as heterosexual, and the other 15% as either bi or homosexual. Among men, however, 94% identify as heterosexual, with only 6% as either bi or homosexual (Sax, 2010). This is a staggering difference.
Answering the “Why”
Answering “what” is much easier than answering “why”. Asking something like “what is the percentage of women who identify as non-heterosexual?” can easily be answered by a statistic. Asking something like “why is the percentage of non-heterosexual women so high?” is not going to be answered by a statistic. There are biological, psychological, sociological, and even philosophical concepts to be taken into consideration. Trying to understand the “why” behind something like human sexuality is a multi-faceted and complex subject. Even the best experts in the field are not certain on every aspect of the “why”. However, there are some good ideas that make sense, and I will share those with you, and hopefully will answer some of these difficult questions, as well as encourage you to continue thinking about such issues.
Why do heterosexual men find lesbianism erotic?
Sarah Gervais, who teaches social psychology at the University of Nebraska, has found that majority of “party lesbians” only kiss other girls in order to get male attention and communicate availability to eligible bachelors (Gervais, 2012). This is likely a deep-rooted aspect of human nature from prehistoric times. If a female is engaging in sexual activity with another female, it may be a sign that she is desperate for sex, but does not have a man available. Men would see that and be drawn towards her in order to satisfy her sexually.
The second is that heterosexual men don’t like to see other men engaging in sexual activity. For pornographic purposes, it may be desirable to see a woman engage in sexual activity, but not have to see a man also.
Why do heterosexual women find lesbianism erotic?
The reasons are likely the same. For one, it may be associated with a desperate need for sexual attention, just as it appears to the heterosexual males. The other reason is that the type of heterosexual pornography that is made is typically very demeaning to women, and focuses on male sexual pleasure. This causes the women to feel more degraded. Lesbian pornography may offer more focus on female sexual pleasure, and heterosexual women can more easily identify with the subject (Power, 2016).
Why is America so obsessed with, and accepting of, lesbianism?
Actual lesbians are still largely marginalized in society, although they are increasingly becoming less so. What is vastly on the rise, and is oddly prominent in media, is the concept of a heterosexual women engaging in brief, inconsequential lesbian behavior. In our sex-obsessed society, sexuality is on full display in every possible platform of media.
Movie and television viewers are looking for eroticism and excitement, and brief excerpts of lesbianism provide that for people. Since female sexuality is not given the same credence as male sexuality, we view it as more “cute” and “innocent” than if it were two men kissing (Sax, 2010). In general, American viewers are not nearly as concerned with morality as they are with the excitement or pleasure that an experience brings them.
Why are women 3x more likely to be bi or homosexual than men?
Media influences us in significant ways. In a brilliant article published in 1993 in the journal of Critical Studies in Mass Communication, the researchers go through the important battles that occurred over the 20th century for LGBT people to be portrayed better in media. The Stonewall Riots of 1969 were critical in the movement, and during that time homosexuality was decriminalized in most states, and eventually allowed for homosexuals to be portrayed in media in non-derogatory fashion. The fear and backlash came from people’s ideas that media portrayals of LGBT people would have a massive impact on whether people chose to engage in such behavior (Steiner, et al. 1993). And now, we’re seeing these effects.
But for the most part, homosexual men have not been popular in media. “Girls Gone Wild” even tried at one point to make a film called “Guys Gone Wild”, geared at a heterosexual female audience. But it didn’t sell, because no one wants to see two guys kissing each other (‘Guys Go Wild’, 2004). “Girls Gone Wild”, on the other hand, makes common use of lesbianism, and sells very well. This kind of double standard in media has produced a more accepted view of lesbianism than male homosexuality. Since lesbianism is encouraged in media, girls are more likely to think it is acceptable to partake in. Can you imagine if a popular male singer sang a song called “I Kissed A Guy”? I guarantee it wouldn’t sell.
Due to the increased acceptance of lesbianism, and the pressure from men to see girls engage in such behavior at parties, girls are more likely to try at least a little bit of lesbianism. Leonard Sax, a psychologist who specializes in human sexuality, suggests that since female sexuality is more malleable, that women may engage in this type of behavior originally just to attract males, but then gradually undergo a change in sexual orientation as a result.
He later goes on to suggest that men are becoming overly sexual in many ways, and often demand absurd and demeaning things from women. Men watch so much pornography, they are no longer enamored with normal sex, and expect impossible things from women. Some women get too annoyed at this, and decide to be with another woman instead. He finishes by asking, “is it possible that there are more girl-girl couples now because guys are such losers?” (Sax, 2010).
Why do some women become lesbian later in life?
In prehistoric times, once a woman was past menopause, it was essentially useless to have sex with her. It’s possible, that right before menopause, women would undergo a sexual crisis of sorts, in which they desperately seek sexual attention. This could result in them engaging in homosexual activity in order to attract male attention. It could also result in them essentially giving up, and resigning themselves to sexual alternatives.
Lisa Diamond is a leading expert on female sexuality. She’s published seven articles in academic journals on female sexuality alone. I think she still teaches at the University of Utah. Anyway, one of the articles she published in the Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality is called “The Evolution of Plasticity in Female-Female Desire”. I read it and was like, “holy crap, that is smart”. It goes into detailed concepts of how men and women respond to, and initiate, sexual stimuli. Basically, women are less likely to be initiators of sex than men are. This means that they are primarily responsive. While it was necessary for men to be specific in their sexual initiation, so as to choose the right person, it was less necessary for women to evolve specific responses. Basically, this causes women to have more fluid sexuality. When the sexual aspect of a woman’s relationship with her husband becomes stale, she may find it elsewhere, and that elsewhere may be with someone of the same sex (Diamond, 2008).
It is important to remember, however, that this is a relatively rare occurrence. The media often over portray instances of this nature because it is of interest to people. Regardless of current prevalence, there is reason to believe that it will grow increasingly ubiquitous in subsequent generations.
Why would a Christian woman think it is acceptable to practice homosexuality?
Remember when I talked about how we try to create structures like race and sexuality, but they aren’t really that accurate? Well, religion is one of the least structured things, and yet, we try to place very solid structures on it. If someone says they are “Christian”, I have no freaking idea what that means. You have to get much more specific in order to actually know anything about what they believe. Many supposed “Christians” don’t believe absolute, transcendent morality even exists. In other words, they believe that they can make up morality in whatever way suits them. Although it’s directly contrary to the teaching of the Bible, and does not represent the Christian ethic at all, many people don’t really care.
So that’s the first reason, is that they just don’t care what the Bible says. Other “Christians” try to make up absurd ideas about why the Bible says things that it clearly doesn’t. When it comes to homosexuality, the Bible is very clear in multiple places that heterosexual marriages are the only acceptable forum to have sex (especially 1 Corinthians 6 and 7). However, many “Christians” will go to great lengths to read into the Bible in odd ways in order to try to justify their homosexuality.
One of the ideas in Christian and mainstream culture is that you should be authentic to who you truly are. Some “Christians” will argue that since God made them homosexual, they should therefore act in accordance with that. Where the Bible says that you should act in accordance with desires of the flesh is beyond me, but the argument seems to continue to be used.
4) The Masculine Empowerment Dichotomy
Straying From The “Missionary” Position
Hugh was born in 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. His mom was a teacher, and his dad was an accountant. They attended church weekly, and he showed excellent devotion and knowledge of the Bible. He wanted to become a missionary when he grew up.
He got married in 1949, at the age of 23, to the love of his life, Mildred Williams. However, it was not the pinnacle of love and intimacy he had hoped for. Shortly before the wedding, Mildred admitted to having an affair with another man while he was in the army. He said it was “the most devastating moment of my life”. From that moment on, he gave up on love. During his marriage, Mildred allowed him to sleep with other women out of guilt for what she had done. The couple split up in 1959.
This man, of course, is Hugh Hefner, who went on to create the Playboy empire. He had sex with so many women, he said he can’t even estimate how many it’s been. He had many live-in girlfriends. For a while in the 90’s, he had seven girlfriends at once. He never wanted to have the sting of being cheated on again, and never formed any relationships that were any more than sexual. Many of his sexual encounters were three ways or four ways, so that he could include multiple women at once. Having multiple women yearning for your affection is the epitome of masculinity. One of the signs of communicating that sexual availability and desire to men is shown through engaging in lesbian behavior with other women. Hugh Hefner, the ultimate manly man, used lesbianism as a way to affirm his masculinity (THR Staff, 2011).
Can’t Buy Me Love
N. Murray Edwards has made it big in Alberta oil. While oil has made many Albertans moderately wealthy, N. Murray Edwards has amassed a 2-billion-dollar fortune from it. However, a few years ago he began having marital problems. No one knew exactly why, but him and his wife were hardly seeing each other. Later that summer, his wife was seen on a dinner date in Calgary with singer K.D. Lang, a woman. Reporters and tabloids had a field day with it: The Daily Mail, Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail, etc. N. Murray Edwards and his wife, Heather, divorced the following year (Spargo, 2014).
This is, in many ways, a failure of masculinity for N. Murray Edwards. One of the main reasons many young men want to become wealthy is so that girls will be more attracted to them. Much of the driving force in American capitalism is sexually motivated. When your spouse has an affair, it is common to be jealous, and compare yourself to the other person. “How are they better than me?” one might ask. If a man were to be beat up by a woman, he would feel embarrassed and emasculated, because fighting is what men are supposed to be good at, and losing to a woman degrades your masculinity. So too, is when your wife has a lesbian affair. It is one of the most emasculating things a man can endure. Not only did she have an affair, but a woman has, in a sense, beaten you at the thing that most affirms your masculinity.
Now, keep in mind, this is an original theory that I came up with, and is still a work in progress. However, I think there is enough merit to it that it will be one of my works that will end up in an academic journal some day. While there has been plenty of research into the effects of lesbianism on female empowerment, there has been a significant lack of understanding on how it may affect masculinity.
First, I will briefly explain the effects on female empowerment. Lesbianism has been a significant aspect of the feminist movement. It makes sense. One of the ideas in misogyny is that women need a man. Since feminism is opposed to all aspects of misogyny, it stands to reason that this would become an aspect of it. So, in that sense, lesbianism is empowering to femininity. It suggests that women can do anything and everything that a man can. It is also potentially affirming due to the idea of authenticity and self-expression. If a women has the freedom to express herself in whatever way she sees fit, it allows for increased freedom and accompanying value affirmation.
However, that’s not how lesbianism is most often portrayed and expressed in our society. The vast majority, as I alluded to earlier, is for male erotic entertainment. This “show” actually serves to degrade women as sexual objects that exist for the purpose of male sexual gratification.
Alright, so that’s basically the effects of lesbianism on the “female empowerment dichotomy” since it has the potential to both affirm and degrade femininity.
Lesbianism’s effects on the “masculine empowerment dichotomy”, on the other hand, are almost the opposite. Men want women to be sexually objectified for their pleasure through lesbian behavior. We see this in pornography and party culture. This, like in the case of Hugh Hefner, serves to affirm masculinity. However, these men are simultaneously causing a reverse result that actually degrades their masculinity. As I mentioned earlier, the massive increases in media lesbianism and lesbianism in party culture are causing more women to identify as non-heterosexual. Men chasing their erotic desires may affirm their masculinity in the short term, but in the long run, it actually does the opposite. Masculinity culture is trying to be Hugh Hefner, but is often ending up as N. Murray Edwards.
We actually see this “masculine empowerment dichotomy” in many aspects of our culture. Men who go to the gym to get stronger and increase self-esteem often just compare themselves to other men bigger than them and end up with lower self-esteem. Men who want to do “manly work” to affirm their masculinity often end up with angry, tyrannical bosses who subjugate them. And believe me, the list goes on. Dang, that’s gonna be a good article some day.
Creating A Viable And Coherent Ethic
I’m not going to get too detailed into this, since I’m already at freaking 6,400 words. However, most people don’t care to get too much into the philosophy anyways, so here is a basic approach to how we can view these issues from a moral perspective.
Chasing Orgasm As A Sexual Ethic
For some reason, many people think that whatever makes them orgasm is how they should operate their sexual desire. The tragic story of Colonel Russel Williams quickly puts that idea to rest. Basically, he was a married man who was well respected in the community. Several women in the town went missing, and no one knew why. Then it was found out that he had raped and murdered them, and even filmed it (Patriquin, 2010). Obviously, doing whatever fulfilled his sexual desire was not a viable ethic.
So, the argument may be made that you should do whatever fulfills your sexual desire, so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. This would rule out rape, incest, pedophilia, and cheating. Clearly, even with so much as one precautionary measure taken to our ethic, we can see that a woman having a lesbian affair would be morally wrong, since it hurts her husband and children. Most would also agree that lying is wrong, which adds another aspect to why cheating does not fit within a legitimate ethic.
It also rules out using pornography. Although some people are still ignorant to how pornography is made, and the consequences of its consumption, the vast majority of people have been made aware at this point. Knowing that it hurts other people, and still doing it because it fulfills your own sexual desire, is clearly selfish and immoral. Although casually looking at pornography is less severe than Russel William’s misdeeds, it is essentially operating on the same ethic.
America’s Mind In The Gutter
Our culture has a weird obsession with sex. Many people believe that having good sex is the key to a meaningful and satisfying life. Why people would logically think that, I have no freaking idea. It’s mostly because people don’t really think about things. They are basically employing Neanderthal logic: “me like sex, sex is good, me have sex”. When a husband and wife are not feeling fulfilled sexually, they often think that it is time to move on to a new relationship. I would suggest, however, that if sex is the central thing holding your relationship together, you probably never had much of a relationship in the first place.
In order to even try to uphold any ethics around sexuality, people need to be able to transcend their primal urges for some kind of greater purpose. For example, if a girl gets drunk at a party, and passes out on a bed with no one else around, why wouldn’t I rape her? My primal urge would be to have sex with her. However, humans need to live by some kind of ethic in order to exist peacefully and prosperously in society. The lowest ethic would suggest that I shouldn’t because I might get caught by the cops and taken to jail. One level higher would suggest that I shouldn’t because it would be violating agreed upon social rules in our society that are in place to benefit people. The highest level would suggest that I shouldn’t because each person has value, meaning, and purpose, and it is our duty as humans to operate in accordance with a transcendent standard which defines that purpose.
Let’s talk about this highest value for a second:
That highest ethic I referred to is actually the only system of ethics that can be applied universally to any situation and still have success. But where can this standard come from? Well, I won’t get into all of the background of it. If you want that, read my article “How Christianity Provides A Necessary Foundation For Human Rights”. Anyway, we need some kind of transcendent standard to how we view and treat one another, and the Bible provides a fantastic one.
Even if you don’t believe that Jesus actually is God and rose from the dead, you have to admit his teachings are pretty good. It’s basically: love others and do good to everyone. The rest of the New Testament is basically explaining how to best do that.
The Bible defines sexuality throughout, but is most specific in 1 Corinthians 6 and 7. Basically, it affirms the idea that sexual activity should be in the context of a heterosexual marriage relationship. And really, any sexual activity outside of that is satisfying our primal urges. These primal urges, as with the case of Russel Williams, do not provide us with a good ethic by which to operate. Primal urges would also have me rape the drunk girl on the bed.
Basically, as Christians, God calls us to a high standard in order to live out our value, meaning, and purpose. We are not meant to be primal creatures, fighting and fucking at every whim. There is something much greater in life to aspire towards. Valuing and upholding God’s design for humanity in turn is what upholds our own value as humans. It also, coincidentally, creates a clear ethic that forces us to uphold the value of others.
But It’s Who I Am!
I love existentialist philosophy. The key idea is authenticity. Basically, the pinnacle of existence is to live as one’s true self, not subject to the restrictive influences of oppressive people or systems around us. What a fantastic idea that is. However, it forces us to consider: what actually is my true self?
Some people believe that their true self is whatever their desires are. For crying out loud people, was Russel Williams being his “true self” when he fulfilled his desire to rape and murder? No, of course not. We need something better than that.
Soren Kierkegaard was a brilliant philosopher who basically started the whole concept of existentialism. He suggested that, since we are made in the image of God, that our truest self is the one which most aptly reflects Him. Jesus was the pinnacle of this. He was a human who completely embodied being God. If we are to be our true selves, it is not through pursuing earthly desires of the flesh, but rather through living out the ideals of the morality that God has set for us in the person of Jesus. This means that no one’s “true self” would commit sexual immorality, but rather shed those desires and aspire towards better ones.
The deconstructionist framework offered by “Queer Theory” provides excellent insight into the complexities of sex, gender, and desire. In the wake of the initial deconstruction from the Kinsey Reports, people began questioning whether any structure around sexuality is even necessary. The resulting “Sexual Revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s had huge effects on society’s perceptions of sexuality. We now exist in a very sexualized society, and there are massive implications to how it’s affected our way of life.
Men look at pornography in excessive amounts, and have high and often absurd demands for their sexual partners. Women are sexualized more than ever, but have also found aspects of empowerment through it.
One noticeable change is the massive and unprecedented increases in lesbian behavior. This can take a variety of forms, and is largely perpetuated and influenced by portrayals of lesbianism in media.
Men often encourage lesbianism in accordance with affirmation of their masculinity, but it actually serves to degrade their masculinity in ways they don’t fully understand. This is known as the “Masculine Empowerment Dichotomy”.
Authenticity is a wonderful goal to aspire to in your life. But people are more than their innate, primal urges. Human beings have a transcendent value, meaning, and purpose that we can live in accordance with in order to experience true authenticity.
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