Lesbianism vs. Male Homosexuality. A Cultural Divide



Why are two woman together more “accepted” than two men together? Lesbianism vs. Homosexuality, is there a cultural divide?

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We live in a time where meat dresses are considered fashionable, auto- tune is considered singing and being Black is considered a blessing (or at least it should be). We also live in a time in which lesbians and homosexual individuals are just as visible as their heterosexual counterparts. Having a same sex partner does not reduce one to existing and being their true self only behind closed doors. So what’s the problem? While we have become more aware and open to varying types of sexual identities, specifically lesbianism, two men together still sends shock waves to many. Parents, religious groups, media and society alike still have yet to embrace homosexuals as equal citizens. Gay men are said to be unnatural humans, sinners dammed to hell and an embarrassment to the institution of marriage.


While many will attribute their disdain of homosexuality to religious beliefs, which is “plausible”, when did ones religious convictions become a pass to blatantly be cruel to others? That’s my complex with this issue. Religion should not be used to mistreat others in any fashion.  Two men together seems to be an intolerable image, nearly a social and moral deviance. Two men together openly walking the streets receives unrelenting attention, name-calling, and possible violence. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. “Look at those two men holding hands, that is disgusting, what in the world is that?” is one of the “nicer” comments I’ve heard.


I am not ignoring the negative attention lesbians receive, however I am noting there is a difference between the two groups and how society responds. I’ve often seen two women together openly holding hands and publicly demonstrating affection through kissing, fondling, etc, yet the reaction I’ve witnessed are common and unthreatening stares. The image of two together women clearly does not result in people yelling offensive derogatory language. How often do you hear of hate crimes or violent acts towards the lesbians compared that of gay men? 


In our culture, gay makes a man automatically feminine, a disappointment to his loved ones and an unfit parent. When a woman comes out as a lesbian, she retains her femininity, is not looked at as a disgusting specimen of a human being and is suitable to be a parent. Lesbianism is nearly sensationalized in our media whereas male homosexuality is vilified.


For instance look at the media, there was little backlash over television series The L Word while shows such as Glee and Will & Grace received plenty of harsh criticism for their gay characters and storylines. Further, when gay characters are featured in television shows or movies, they are often portraying stereotypes and  a close-minded view of a gay man. Consequently where there are opportunities to showcase the gay men as intellectual, talented, loving law-abiding members of society they are depicted as a joke and not taken seriously.


As apart of rising rap superstar Nicki Minaj’s foray into the spotlight, she often toiled with her bisexuality garnering hoards of lesbian fans in the process. Her ambiguous sexuality was heavily discussed and above all heavily praised.  If, for example, her fellow rap superstar, Drake was bisexual and expressed it as she does, there would be a different response from mass media and fans alike. This insanely talented artist could not have had a multi-platinum debut album and international world tour had he been bisexual or gay. What’s more is male celebrities who show a love for fashion are often said to be gay i.e. Kanye West, Usher, Trey Songz, John Legend and Ne-Yo. The notion is, if these men are gay, there is a problem.


I’m sure you all recall back when Madonna, Brittney Spears, and Christina Aguilera shared that famous tongue twist at the MTV Video Music Awards. Though it received backlash and mass media coverage, none of the stars careers was affected. It has now become a noteworthy moment in popular culture. It made Madonna that much cooler. Fast-forward to 2010, when American Idol alum Adam Lambert kissed a male musician on stage during his American Music Award performance, ABC received over 20,000 emails within two hours, in an outrage about his performance and even went as far to suggest that ABC should prevent him performing again. After the outrageous moment struck, the network canceled his subsequent appearances. A prime example of lesbianism accepted and male homosexuality rejected.


As a culture we have progressed leaps and bounds since the Civil Rights and Feminist movements to a new era where a Black man can run the United States and a Black woman can be the most powerful woman in all of media. While segregation, discrimination, and prejudices exist towards the gay and lesbian community as a whole, people must recognize the cultural division between the two.



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