Oct 5, 2009

PERMISSIBLE PREJUDICES: Or real abuse by well meaning religious people?

By Dr. Nancy J. Chodorow
Public Forum on Homophobia
The American Psychoanalytic Foundation

¨It is my great pleasure to speak to you today. As I was coming home last night I was reminded of what this panel is about. There was a young man screaming the most virulent "fag"-hating epithets at another person he was angry at, or who was keeping him out of a club. It was really scary. It went on and on and on and it certainly reminded me of why we are here today.
The topic of homophobia is of course unbelievably complex, and I will just have time to make a few points partly to help all of us generate discussion and to consider the issue further. First, I want to begin by reminding us that prejudices and permissible prejudices are always historical and cultural. From the point of view of the person who holds a prejudice, it is not one. Women, first in the ‘twenties and ‘thirties and then again in the ‘seventies, noticed psychoanalytic writings that were prejudicial to women, that women have a lesser sense of justice than men, that women did not contribute to civilization, were narcissistic, and so forth. These were permissible prejudices, as was racism among otherwise enlightened white people fifty years ago. Conscious permissible prejudices, whether against blacks, Jews, women, or gays, run the gamut from discrimination to rejection to hate.¨

· Permissible prejudices seem natural. These can be taken-for-granted assumptions of basically well meaning people, which have also led, in the case of some analytic traditions and some analysts, to the real abuse of the psychoanalytic situation, when homosexual object choice has been seen as a psychological disorder, and people are thought to be in need of being cured of their sexual orientation -- a distinctly un-psychoanalytic goal. In our society, we pass laws against gay marriage, say that discrimination against gays is okay, and people from ordinary citizens through the senate rail against homosexuality. Homophobia on the individual level usually also has a conscious a pass made at him. A senator invokes the Bible.

·What seems to be the case is that there is a huge psychic faultline around the sexual body in relation to masculinity. Images of men having sex with other men, a black man having sex with a white woman, a woman who is sexual without having a baby, are for some men extremely threatening.

·In spite of this absence today of a discussion of women, I do think that by and large what we are calling homophobia or defense against one's homosexual impulses is strongest in heterosexual men.

·In particular men and in particular situations, both gender and sexual orientation are rigidly dichotomized, fragmented identifications, and any internal challenge to the separateness of maleness and femaleness or of heteroerotic and homoerotic fantasies and attachments threatens real disintegration. Characteristically, the badness, femininity and submissiveness to men has to be split off and projected outward where these in turn become extremely persecutory potential identifications. Those who represent the split off and bad projections threaten not only persecutory return, but also disintegrative flooding to meld and fuse with the self. They need to be attacked and destroyed.¨

read it all, click HERE

·Thanks to The Public Forum on Homophobia
·Thanks to The Reverend Jerry Maneker
·Thanks to Dr. Nancy J. Chodorow
·Thanks to The American Psychoanalytic Foundation
·Thanks to A Christian Voice For Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights, at the right side bar

1 comment:

Josh Indiana said...

Dr. Chodorow needs to understand that the greatest victims of homophobia are heterosexual men, who oppress each other mercilessly to keep the dichotomies alive.

I found nothing original or enlightening in her statement. Do psychoanalysts still need to get beat with that '70s wet noodle?