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Weighty matters - John C. Kirk

Jul. 11th, 2006

12:06 am - Weighty matters

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Date:July 21st, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
Surfing in via nou's roundup, I'd say there's a second type of phobia I think you've missed: culturally created (and therefore culturally sanctioned) phobias. Homophobia is one of these: in the main, homophobic men are disgusted by gay men because they perceive them as a threat to the stability of their own gender identity. The culture we know here in the West has a lot to say about what a man's gender identity should and shouldn't be: he is not permitted to express emotion intensely, directly or frequently, unlike women, and furthermore true male-to-male bonding in the sense of deep friendship and affection is effectively forbidden thanks to the post-Christian paranoia that it necessarily entails homosexuality. And yet the human urge to bond persists; so in effect, homophobes take their own insecurity about relating to other men out on the gays, demonising them for 'corrupting' others when in fact what they really represent is an uncomfortable reminder that the homophobes themselves are being partly crushed by the narrow confines a Western masculine identity imposes.

Fatphobia, analysed the same way, is a symptom of the West's unconscious insecurity about overconsumption. Thin people find fat people disgusting because fat people represent a threat to the collective Western self-delusion that we consume no more than we need to to survive. In fact we don't, we're nations upon nations filled with rapacious maws in thrall to the morally vacant capitalist mantra consume, consume, consume - but like all human beings we're also colossal hypocrites and we really don't like to have our noses rubbed in that uncomfortable truth.

Well that's my 2p anyway :)
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