How does GENDER affect attitudes toward homosexuality?How does GENDER affect attitudes toward homosexuality?

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booksnmore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Based purely on observation, I've seen much more hostility toward homosexuals coming from heterosexual men than from women. In my experience, younger and more "machismo" men have seemed the most hostile.

A paper called "Heterosexuals' Attitudes toward Lesbians and Gay Men: Correlates and Gender Differences" summarizes three studies conducted on how people of each gender react to homosexuals. They've isolated four variables that affect gender attitudes:

  • "religiosity"
  • "adherence to traditional ideologies of family and gender"
  • "perception of friends' agreement with one's own attitudes"
  • "past interactions with [homosexuals]"

I have not read the article. But it seems that bias stemming from religiosity would similarly affect the attitudes of both genders. So perhaps one needs to look closely at not only gender but the reasons that a particular gender may adopt certain attitudes.


ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Something that needs clarified is whether you mean the gender of the person viewing homosexuality or the gender of the homosexual? If you mean the former, then it seems as if many men in society are more threatened by homosexual men than homosexual women. For example the stereotype that men think seeing two woman together in a movie is "hot". How many of those men found Brokeback Mountain disturbing?

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
There are homosexuals in both genders. It does seem that men accept homosexuality in women but deride it in men. This behavior usually stems from fear. Men often feel threatened by homosexuality. This likely stems from a culture that stresses masculinity and makes femininity subservient. Men who give up their masculinity are also giving up their privileged place in society.
besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have personally seen more men that are homophobic than women. It seems that men find it more difficult to accept gay males in society than women do. I am not sure why this happens but it does. Maybe women are more tolerant regarding these specific types of issues.

kc4u | Student

Gender as opposed to sex is a social construct and the prevalent bias against homosexuality is also a construct of the hetero-normative society that we still (unfortunately) live in. Gender in many way influences a person's attitude towards homosexuality.

1. A man always contrasts himself in terms of manliness with a gay or a homosexual male, however it is wrong to think that all homosexuals are effeminate or vice-versa. On the other hand, there is the thing called homophobia. Most of the heterosexual men are homophobic or if not homophobic, they are hetero-centric. They make fun of homosexuality, think of it as an impossibility or even an aberration.

2. A woman on the other hand, finds the going easy with a gay person as there is no sexual threat that she feels from him, at the first place and secondly, there is great union of minds and tendencies in them.