|13th August 2010||#1|
Why homosexuals are discriminated against? A new view
If you are an offer of discrimination it is good to know those reasons why you are discriminated. With proper knowledge it is easier to fight against discrimination at it is also easier to avoid the more obscure result of discrimination - self discrimination.
The discrimination of gays and lesbians are often explained on the psychological level. The psychological explanation tells us that people are afraid of own homosexual impulses and therefore they want to deny all homosexuality but in fact they are only denying their own impulses. This explanation is only a partial explanation because in different societies and in different historical times attitudes toward homosexuality vary a lot. In some cultures homosexuality is severely restricted, but in other societies homosexuality is well tolerated and accepted. Attitudes towards homosexuality depend on society and the basic reasons for discrimination are social, they are best explained by on the sociological, not on the psychological level.
Also the explanation that homosexuals are discriminated because they have been discriminated in the past is circular reasoning.
Social phenomena, like discrimination, have nearly always some rational basis. But what could be a rational explanation for discriminating against homosexuals? Why would a society be interested in what two adult person do in their bedroom? The answer to this question is: nothing. There is no rational reason to discriminate against homosexuals and lesbians.
Yet there are very good reasons to control heterosexuality in society. The control of heterosexuality is essential for the functioning of the society and even strict and massive control of heterosexuality is reasonable activity per se. Control of homosexuality, i.e. discrimination of homosexuals is only a by-product of the control of heterosexuality. Even though this explanation, a by-product of control of heterosexuality, is the obvious one, we do not always connect negative attitudes towards homosexuality to the social control of heterosexuality. This is because the social control of heterosexuality is very complex bundle of different activities, and the control relies on fuzzy myths, taboos, attitudes and beliefs. The control system of heterosexuality is so complex and obscure that no-one have not succeeded to describe it properly. Anthropology can give us examples how tribal societies have developed strange kind of myths and taboos to control their sexuality, but although we in the modern world consider us rational beings our sexual myths and taboos in our societies are not much more rational than tribal ones.
Even though the control of heterosexuality is massive in our society we do not always recognize enormity and strictness of this control. On my opinion there are two reasons why this massiveness of the control past our recognition.
1. The control is so institutionalized and internalized so we take it's so natural, so we don't recognize it as a form of control.
2. The control is so intertwined with gender roles (gender relations) of men and women in our society. The control is much harder towards women; men are only slightly controlled, so we interpret the control as a natural difference between men and women.
We need this control to protect the family in our societies. Heterosexuality is channeled in all societies into families. In all cultures and societies in the world there is a family institution and all societies today and in the history has rejected the promiscuous sexual life.
Other more minor reasons to control heterosexuality are avoidance of inbreeding, marrying too poor spouse (different class, cast, race), or spouse of a different religion or ethnicity; and arranged marriages.
The protection or the family is of primary preference because in heterosexual relations children are born. And if we had no family the women would be left to take care of the children alone and this could be a very difficult, or in many cases, impossible task for women. This is why the societies force the men to take care of their children by marrying the mother of the children. And men have to acquire shelter, food, clothing and other economical benefits for their children and wives. This is the reason why societies force the heterosexuality in to marriages. Men are not allowed to have sex outside the marriage with promiscuous partners and in the same way women are not allowed to have sex outside marriage.
The economical model of the family in most societies is such that the man acquires the economical resources to the family, and he gives these resources to the use of her wife and children. This also means that the women are economically dependent on their husbands and their standard of living depends on how they get economical resources from their husbands. This is why from the point of view of women and children it's crucial that marriages are as stable as possible and the husband do not leave the family and start a new life with an another woman. If there would be free women ready to have sex with the married men this would be a great danger to marriages, a danger to women and children. And if there were a lot of woman who would give men sex without commitment to marriage a great part of men would not marry at all. It would be easier for men to have promiscuous sex without obligation to pay anything to a woman and children.
The main function of the control of heterosexuality in society is to force the sexuality to marriages and wipe out the promiscuous sex from the society. We usually think that marriages are an expression of romantic love, but the institution of marriage has another side: it is the only place where society allows heterosexuality to take place.
From the point of view of an individual person the economical side of the marriage is more important to women and children. If a man leaves his family he can continue he's working and his life as he has done before, but the ex-wife would be in quite a different position. Depending on which kind of society she is living in, she can lose a part of or all her economical security in her life. The divorce can be also disaster for her children. In societies where women are greatly dependent on their husbands economically it is common that the control of sexuality is harsh, and in those societies where women are economically independent the control of sexuality seems to be more liberal. In some societies, like in India, where traditionally married women do not work also divorces are not allowed. The modern liberal way of sexuality started in the 1960s as a sexual revolution. Many believe it was the hormonal contraception which was the main reason for the sexual revolution (and later to the Stonewall riots) but the real reason was that the women left their role as housewives and entered to the working life. Women became more economically independent and there was not so big need to defend the nuclear family. Today religious conservatives oppose both heterosexual liberalism and GLBT liberation, but the religious conservatives are often families where the woman is at home, not working, and the husband earns the living for the family. It's more typical for the women with work career to have liberal attitudes. Maybe it is not religious conservatism which make a woman to stay at home, but the real causality is opposite, she's not working and not economically independent, so she have to be a religious conservative. The Baptists claim that the numbers of divorce in their church are very low, only 1/39000 of marriages end to divorce among the true members of their church. (Some researchers doubt strongly these numbers .)
In our western history in the 19th and 20th centuries the control of sexuality was more severe. Every young woman who had sex outside the marriage was in the danger of to be sent in to the mental hospital or to some other kind of closed institution for "protection of women" or "protection of young ladies". It's important to notice the promiscuous women were seldom condemned to prison. Sexuality rebellious women were controlled by classifying them mentally ill or retarded. The cleaning of promiscuous women out of society was in many times a massive control operation. This is illustrated by the ratios of women and men in prison and in mental hospitals. When in prisons a vast majority of the inhabitants were men to ratios were just opposites in mental hospitals. These institutions were quite expenses for the taxpayers, but the protection of families was worth paying the high bill.
In societies where people live on the edge of hunger the control of sexual behavior can get extreme forms. In the northern parts of Nigeria a woman could be stoned to death if she has sex with a married man. In these areas people live in constant deprivation of calories in their food and this is why a husband’s sexual relation to another woman is a real physical danger to life to his wife and children. In the eastern part of Africa the female circumcision is a common phenomenon. Behind this cruel phenomenon is women's need to suppress female sexuality because women are 100% to dependent on their husbands who owns all cattle and all land.
In our culture the controlled of sexuality is more internalized and so we don't recognize its massive size and strictness. The control is hidden behind the sex roles of men and women. For example we took it quite natural that the sexual drive of women is much lower than the sexual drive of men. We do not see that this difference is probably only a result of the fact that control of female sexuality is much stronger and this control suppresses female sexual behavior. In the same way we believe that only men can enjoy of casual sexual adventures, but women are able to enjoy of sex only in marriage or in romantic relationships. I.e. we claim that the women can only enjoy sex if his partner is committed to maintain children and her into future. These same features, which are part of control of heterosexuality, can also be seen in the behavior of homosexual men and lesbian women.
Media, movies, TV and pornography give us an illusion that in our modern society promiscuous heterosexuality is accepted and common, but is only a myth. If we look at the cold, real figures in sexual statistics, we notice that there is not any heterosexual promiscuity in our societies. The real prevalence of casual sex in societies is so minimal, that we must explain it ether by that the control is extremely effective or we really have strong biological tendency to monogamist relations. The only essential form of heterosexual promiscuity in our societies is still prostitution, and we know well the strivings to restrict prostitution in our societies.
Maybe the most difficult thing in the recognition of the regulation of heterosexuality is that its main source is women. As we have seen, women are more dependent on the family-institution and they have much greater motives to defend heterofamily. But how have women been able to play an important role in the control of sexuality when all the political and economical power in society has been the hands of men? The priest, the police, and the psychiatric have been males. And the murder of honor has been committed by a male member of the family. This is a confusing question, which has got answers only lately. There are many kinds of power in the society. Every single member of the society has some forms of power to the other members. The power is not something that only men in power have. It is not Kings power over its citizens, power from top to down, but also from down to top. As if Foucault says: " The power is everywhere; which does not mean it envelopes everything, but that it stems out of everything”. Women have had power in the society because they have built a vast network with women, which have in co-operation defended the interests of women, defended family and children, defended marital sex against extramarital sex and promiscuity. This task has been made easier by a fact that all women take advantage of defending family and so all the women accept the control of sexuality.
In the control of heterosexuality is the feature that it only needs to control sexuality of the other sex to achieve control of both sexes. It takes two sexes to have heterosexual sex. By controlling sexuality only of the women you achieve total control of heterosexuality.
In the near future all the laws discriminating against homosexuals and lesbians will be abolished. But are we then in a situation that there is no discrimination against homosexuals? No. In the same way the control of the heterosexuality is not accomplished by laws and police. There are laws against prostitution, but the mainstream of women stay away from promiscuity because the social control of their sexuality takes place in proximal social environment. It is not official control, but unofficial, control on the grass root level.
It is possible to control heterosexuality without law, police or prison, but this is not an easy task. The social control of sexuality needs constant renewal of cultural myths, attitudes, beliefs and taboos. The aim of these myths and beliefs is to create a strong emotional force to be used in the social control. This strong emotional content is essential to these attitudes, beliefs and myths. We all know how extremely strong feelings of guilt and shame could be if we have broken the sexual norms. The task of the sexual controller is to create attitudes with maximal emotional strength to support control activity. In this task emotional values of sexual beliefs are more important than their truth values. This is why in the area of sexuality we often meet quite peculiar and odd myths – and astonishingly - people believe in these myths. They accept these myths and taboos because they intuitively know that they need these myths in the control of heterosexuality in their society.
It is a mistake to see that these myth, beliefs and taboos are caused by tradition, and as time go by they will pass away. Or believe that these myths could be wiped out with an ideological fight or enlightenment. These myths are needed to support the control of heterosexuality, and although need of this control has somewhat decreased in the last decades, the need will never disappear. This is why these myths are continuously reconstructed and one can perceive how new myths and new variations are formulated all the time.
On the basis of the control of sexuality is a bundle of myths, conceptions, beliefs, traditions and taboos. This bundle is so complex and it has so fuzzy and obscure parts that it is very hard or even impossible to describe it on the explicit and conscious level. This bundle comes more complicated because there is a constant conflict in a society between different groups. Some groups, like teenagers, widows, unmarried and divorced men and women, would like to make exceptions to sexual rules, when married couples prefer strict control of sexuality. There is also an apparent conflict between men and women, because benefits of the control are more important to women and the target of control are mainly women.
This bundle of myths, beliefs, and taboos and emotions is not strict and logical, but rather loose and fuzzy. This makes overlap with homosexuality possible. The discrimination of homosexuals, the tendency of heterosexuals trying to control and restrict homosexual behavior is caused by this overlap. If there is no overlap or only a slight overlap in a given society, there is no discrimination against homosexuals even thought control of heterosexuality in this society can be severe? The discrimination of homosexuals is a mistake – the culture had created its sexual ideological system to control heterosexual behavior of women, but this ideological system is so complex, fuzzy an obscure it targets homosexuals and lesbians as well as its main target - sexually rebellious heterosexual women.
It is possible to gain better understanding of discrimination by these basic guidelines: Don not ask how the homosexuals are discriminated against, but ask why. Concentrate on heterosexuality, on the complex game the heterosexuals play, concentrate on the grass-root-level regulation of sexuality do not concentrate on legal issues, and keep in your mind that they are mainly women, not men, who are the main force of chastity in our societies. You do not have to be a heterosexual to intuitively understand the thinking of heterosexuals. Every member of a society has internalized attitudes and myths of sexuality which are created to control sexual behavior.
|discriminated, discrimination, gay rights, homosexuals, politics, sociology, view|
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