20 March 2008

Stumbling Blocks To Gay Liberation: MACHISMO

Stumbling Block

Machismo is defined by Merriam-Webster as a strong sense of masculine pride and/or an exaggerated masculinity. This is a very conservative definition! Machismo, as I've seen and experienced it, is a rigid set of attitudes and behaviors imposed on men in patriarchal cultures. Machismo imposes on women, too, insisting on rigid interpretations of femininity and a subordinate role to men.

It's the reason little femme boys are terrorized! It's the reason little butch girls are ostracized. It's the reason a California governor sees nothing wrong with going before TV cameras and spouting "girly man" putdowns. It's also the reason "d*ke" and "f*ggot", two sexual slurs we naÏvely embrace, both have misogynist origins!

In a culture dominated by Machismo, there is no room for persons of blended gender! We undermine the gender fascism that Machismo preaches. We contradict the world view that demands dominant men and subservient women. We will always be perceived as a threat to the concept of "pure" masculinity; our sexual orientation alone guarantees that! As I've stated before, all it takes to qualify as a gender outlaw is to be a man-loving-man or a woman-loving-woman!

Jerry Maneker has a particularly incisive take on the prevalence of Machismo. He says:

It seems to me that one only takes his masculinity seriously enough to make it a core feature of his identity when (it's) called, or can be called, into question! Then the machismo becomes prominent, often resulting in verbal and even physical Gay-bashing. One's masculinity, in a sane world, wouldn't be any more important to his identity than would be any other feature of his multi-dimensionality . . . emphasis is placed on gender because so much discrimination is visited up on people who don't conform to gender "norms" . . . and that appropriateness is largely defined by people who have gender issues of their own.

In other words, even the architects of Machismo suffer from its tyranny! That’s all the more reason to oppose it!

One of the saddest things in the world to see is a Gay man adhering to the tenets of Machismo and suppressing every feminine trait. He often will be as vicious in his stance toward effeminate men as any Straight male bigot would be! He may even pursue (or fake) sexual relationships with women, just to fall more in line with traditional concepts of masculinity.

Just as sad is the sight of a butch Lesbian trying to act macho: Picking fist fights, disparaging women like a Straight man would, exaggerating her natural-born masculine traits. Taken to extremes, this behavior can sometimes lead to spousal abuse. What a sin!

God has blessed us with the ability to transcend gender. It’s self-defeating to lock ourselves into hard butch and femme roles; that’s just aping heterosexist society! Nothing could be more antithetical to true liberation!  Understand that I'm not saying it's wrong to strongly identify as male or female; I'm just saying such identification should come naturally, and not be the result of societal pressure.

"Stumbling Blocks to Gay Liberation" continues with STEREOTYPES.

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