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

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

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

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.


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