A note on naming (homophobia, misogny etc)

Philip Ferguson plf13 at SPAMit.canterbury.ac.nz
Tue Dec 5 19:38:48 MST 2000


Lou Paulsen writes:

>One last note on the issue of dictionaries: can someone suggest a word for
>'anti-LGBT bigotry' other than 'homophobia'?  Homophobia literally means
>'FEAR' (of various non-heterosexual people).  I don't really think that
>fear, per se, has much to do with it.  We need a word analogous to
>'misogyny'.


I think I said in a previous post that 'homophobia' is not a useful term.

Actually, I don't think misogyny is either.

The problem is *oppression*.  The ruling class *exploits and oppresses*
women; who knows what their individual attitudes to women are - and,
frankly, who cares?

The ruling class, including gay members of the ruling class, *oppressed*
homosexuals.  Who knows and cares what their individual attitudes were/are?

Moreover terms like homophobia and misogyny *point in the wrong direction*
- ie they focus on attitudes which may, or may not, be reflected in any
section of society.  They point away from discovering the *material basis*
and *material interest* of discrimination and oppression.

Because individual members of any class can have a screwed-up attitude to
women and/or homsexuals, concepts like 'misogyny' and 'homophobia'
de-politicise and de-socialise and de-radicalise the question of
discrimination/oppression.

Moreover, if the discrimination and oppression didn't exist in the first,
there would be no basis for individuals to hate women or be scared of
homosexuals.

I think we need to talk more in terms of oppression and discrimination and
prejudice and so on, and thus emancipation, and less in psychological terms
like homophobia and misogyny.

Cheers,
Phil









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