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HD: AP on Homophobia
Posted: 29 November 2012 09:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has aversions of one sort or another towards others based on behavior.  There is nothing irrational about it at all.

The number of people who share an aversion has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not that aversion is rational. Rationality is not determined by popular vote. Aversion to booger-eating is not rational either (or at least I’m not aware of any ill effects from eating mucus, as opposed to simply picking the nose, which can damage nasal membranes).

The reason that prohibiting public booger-eating is acceptable while prohibiting same-sex public displays of affection is not is that the former is simply a question of behavior while the latter is not. Sexual orientation is innate, and declaring that two men should not show affection in public is simply another form of the closet, denying them what there is no objection to heterosexual couples doing.

Now if the objection is to over-the-top displays of public affection regardless of sex, that’s another matter. (Personally, I don’t really want to see any couple groping and macking on each other in public, regardless of their sex.)

There are also rational fears that can be irrationally exaggerated, as in fear of heights or fear of snakes, but that doesn’t really apply in this case. [This last paragraph added.]

[ Edited: 29 November 2012 10:22 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 29 November 2012 09:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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@DW Just to be clear, i am not trying to make an etymologically based argument, fallacious or otherwise.  My point is that when the word homophobia is used I think it generally (but not always) conveys the idea that the bigotry towards gay people is in some way motivated by fear.  And i think that the phobia root plays a role in this if not in a linear and simplistic cause-and-effect manner of the type espoused by Conservapedia and the AP.  I certainly don’t think one can pronounce that any neologism fashioned out of existing roots can only properly be used to mean EXACTLY what a hyper-literal interpretation of each root would seem to suggest the thing as a whole means, but I think neologisms fashioned out of such roots often mean more or less what one might expect them to mean based on their components.  But, of course, even that is not always true, and I am not making a prescriptivist argument that it is “wrong” to use a word to mean something slightly or even dramatically different than what the roots of a word would seem to suggest.  In this particular case, though, I think homophobia does connote the idea that one has a bias towards gay people that is irrational and fear driven, but it is almost never used to convey that one has a diagnosable mental condition (even though the coiner of the term wanted it to be used that way, that aspect of what he wanted to do didn’t really pan out).  But this is based on my perception of how i think the word is actually used by most people, which may be off base.

@OPT: As far as “aversion” goes, in the context of a “phobia”, (both in general and in the word “homophobia") my sense is that aversion actually does have a meaning closely related to fear.  It is not “aversion” in the sense of “I’m not a huge fan of this and prefer to spend my time dealing with different things” it is an aversion in the sense of “uggh, that gives me the willies”.  So it is a fear driven response of sorts, even if it isn’t fear in the sense of being terrified for one’s life or well-being.

And, similarly, I think phobia in general and homophobia in particular are rarely used to mean “I dislike X” unless the reason I dislike x is that it in some way bothers me on a visceral level that is in some way a fear-based response. 

And i certainly agree that it is hardly the worst injustice imaginable for people who are actually bigoted towards gay people to have their bigotry implicitly ascribed to something that is not the actual cause of their bigotry.

@donkeyhotay:  yes, I think what you just described is homophobia, if a relatively mild one in the grand scheme of things.  And i think that for at least some people the “eww, two men kissing” reaction morphs into a conviction that homosexualtiy is sinful or unnatural, which in turn becomes a justification for a raft of injustices.  In any event, comparing seeing two men kiss to seeing a man eat his own boogers is unlikely to convince anybody that your perspective on gay people is wholly rational.  And what LH and DW said.

[ Edited: 29 November 2012 10:08 AM by Svinyard118 ]
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Posted: 29 November 2012 12:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I do find the sight of two men kissing affectionately disgusting.

How about females? Similar hetero disgust? Lesbians have got off lightly because the patriarchal guys who wrote the Old Testament and the Holy Koran weren’t aware they existed. Is tribadophobia (?) largely restricted to females? Is there a name for divinely sanctioned homophobia?

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Posted: 29 November 2012 03:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I don’t care what people do to scratch their itches as long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses. (I don’t recall who said that but it sums up my position well and I apply it equally to heterosexuals, homosexuals and zoophiles).

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Posted: 29 November 2012 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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OTOH, a zoophile is perhaps more likely to frighten the horses than either of the other two groups…

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Posted: 29 November 2012 04:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Lesbians have got off lightly because the patriarchal guys who wrote the Old Testament and the Holy Koran weren’t aware they existed.

This is a) absurd and b) irrelevant.  Could you try to avoid dragging your hobbyhorse into everything?

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Posted: 29 November 2012 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Could you try to avoid dragging your hobbyhorse into everything?

Well said as usual. But, if hermeneutics is a related discipline to etymology, I need to say (with somewhat less brevity than LH) that no biblical scholar right, left or center, could possibly argue that every text in the Bible is “divinely inspired.” To take the 5 anti-homosexual texts in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures combined as “divinely inspired” is to allow the homophobic tail to wag the scriptural camel.

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Posted: 30 November 2012 07:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Now if the objection is to over-the-top displays of public affection regardless of sex, that’s another matter. (Personally, I don’t really want to see any couple groping and macking on each other in public, regardless of their sex.)

I do have an objection of over-the-top displays of public affection regardless of sex.  To quote Barry Farber, ‘ALL sex belongs in the closet.”

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