Monday, January 11, 2010
Mysogyny, Homophobia, and Solipsism.
Is what I read on the internet representative of common attitudes? Because either I'm only visiting a select number of websites with a very narrow focus or our civilization is rife with people who hate women and gays.
I admit, I troll through a lot of humor websites - funny pictures mostly. But a few things that stand out are tendencies toward hostility and exclusion of gays and women that don't quite measure up to an arbitrary standard.
One meme that spread around for a while was the 'Gay Test.' These were pictures of hot girls either in front of a guy or carrying a product such as a newly purchased MacBook. The caption says that if you noticed anything but the hot girl first then they have bad news. We all know what the 'bad news' is. It's notable that it's referred to as 'bad news'. It says interesting things about the person who wrote the caption that he considers the news bad. It probably wasn't calculated, he probably wasn't even thinking about it, but there it is. Either he considers being gay to be a bad thing or he wants others to think he believes that.
Homophobia is pure solipsism. I was going to blame religion, but religion is just an excuse. A self-defined perception of the world is the cause of almost all bigotry. We're all naturally solipsistic because our brains are the only way we have of interpreting our perceptions, so everything we see and hear is filtered through our identities. Let's make a hypothetical man. This man isn't aware of his solipsism, he simply believes his opinions and perceptions are correct. This man is also straight. The thought of having sex with another man is repulsive to him. Because this man believes himself to be inherently correct he also thinks that homosexuality must be inherently repulsive, so anyone who chooses to be gay is an incomprehensible and frightening deviant. Remember, our hypothetical man believes homosexuality is a choice because he is solipsistic and so believes that everyone is the same as him.
There is a positive correlation between religiosity and homophobia only because the vast majority of people are solipsists (because it's only natural) and most people are also religious. In other words, a coincidence.
I've known a lot of guys who were homophobic and considered themselves tolerant and broad-minded. Their very generous slogan on the matter was "They can do whatever they want with each other as long as they don't do it near me." So the gays are free to exist so long as they stay out of sight.
Kids are still calling 'gay' things that they don't like or are stupid. More habit than anything else, I think. They don't realize that if any of their friends or classmates are secretly gay, every time the slur is used they feel more afraid and ashamed.
I had a conversation with a teenager just last year about gays. She said she didn't at all have a problem with lesbians, but gay guys were just gross. I asked her why and she emphatically stated, 'because of what they do!' I pointed out to her Dan Savage's impeccable logic. Not all gay men do the thing she was disgusted by, only about 75%. Almost half, 49%, of straight couples admit to doing that thing on a regular basis. Gay people make up maybe 5% of the population. Do the math.
For those of you not in the know, misogyny is hatred of women. What I've noticed going around the internet, and I've commented on this only recently, is an abiding hostility toward women in general and unattractive women specifically.
Watch me pontificate!
The biggest reason for this hostility is that men are raised to believe that women are eye candy for them. In their worlds, women are decoration and accessories. They come to believe that they are entitled to see beautiful women everywhere and so become personally offended when they see a woman they find unattractive.
In general, men's attitude towards women is conflicted at best. We tend to get twisted up between what we want, what we're told we should want, and what we think our friends want. Our ability to see women as objects to be at once desired and reviled is so well-known as to be cliché.
I want to give some advice to the general male population whom, studies indicate, are probably regularly consuming internet porn. These girls women you're looking at are people with whole histories. They are daughters, sisters, and occasionally mothers. They don't always have the best reasons for posing in the photos and videos you're looking at.
Anyhow, this is just the impression I get from trolling around the internet. It's not like I head out downtown every day and talk to hundreds of strangers. I could be wrong.