Happy Mortal

This life, well-lived.

Afraid of Gay Poop

Sculpture Female Nudes Embracing 15 - Finance Tower Brussels

Why are people in the U.S. so afraid of homosexuality?  [Anyone who doubts that people are afraid of gay should watch a few Brüno clips.]

Disclaimer:

  1. I do not think that homosexual people are poop.  Rather, I think that this is the position the heterosexual matrix puts them in.  This is tragic and terrible.
  2. However, I think this position can be described otherwise, and appropriated as a site of power from which to destabilize discussions concerning homosexuality.
  3. Read on!

One possible answer to why many fear homosexuality, following Judith Butler, has to do with identity and social excrement.  So . . . Identity is not something innate.  Identity is formed through “regulatory practices” –the laws, interactions, and discourses that try to regulate social life.  One of these regulatory practices is “sex” (you know, binary, hetero, sex).

In order for “sex,” or lets say, “the heterosexual matrix,” to regulate identity, it has to define itself against something; it has to refuse what it is not.  So, homosexuality becomes refuse, excrement.  It is the necessary remainder, the deviation, the “outside” of the matrix.  In order to maintain a heterosexual identity, there must exist powerful forces that guard the constructed boundary between inside and outside, in this case, between hetero and homo.

The catch is that these boundaries are never absolute.  After all, we know that where there is excrement, there is orifice.  Where there is orifice there is the potential for things to both go out AND come in.  To follow the metaphor, there are many orifices, or weak points, that threaten to disrupt the heterosexual matrix.  On an individual level, for a “heterosexual,” this means that homosexuality is doubly threatening: 1) it threatens the person’s very identity 2) because, it undermines the entire matrix of practices that constitute heterosexuality.

In short, homosexuality is so scary because recognizing it means that the stuff you worked so hard to push out is coming back in, and that puts the whole system out of whack.

Sculpture Female Nudes Embracing 17 - Finance Tower Brussels

3 Comments

  1. You just blogged past rekonstruct, AND did it with a title using the words “gay” and “poop”. He must be crushed.

    That, friends, is a trifecta.

  2. Wow, I didn’t think I was afraid of homosexuality before reading this blog, but the thought of poop coming in instead of going out, well that’s frightening, so now I’m not sure.

  3. I think America’s fear of homosexuality is visceral first, and ideological second. Homophobia tends to take place in arenas where there is also rampant misogyny. I hate to generalize, but it seems that homosexuality represents the feminization of the male to this population, and the last thing that a misogynist wants to be is more like a woman. This brings me to my other point. Homophobia is such a powerful reaction because sexuality is such a muddy spectrum. Sexually we don’t operate in bare dichotomies, yet our culture has tried to make absolute pairings of male and female. So when a misogynist is presented with a feminized male and deep down finds himself attracted to it, this quite literally unhinges them.

    As Zizek points out, it is not surprising that those most vocal against homosexuality engage in homosexual(esque) activity in response to this. The example he cites is the anal gang raping of a young homosexual male (with a mop) by a bunch of crazed homophobes.

    As long as America thinks that women are less than men, and continues to operate with absolute dichotomies of sexual preference and sexuality, America will remain afraid of gay poop.