Sluts And Lesbians: More Alike Than Different In A Society Of Labels

1228 words - 5 pages

Internalized homophobia is when negative attitudes from the primary group, mainly family but also the surrounding community, cause negative homophobic thoughts in a person that has same-sex attraction, but may not identify with it. This kind of internalization creates lack of self worth for those that do not “come out”. Research supports that internalized homophobia contributes to lower self-acceptance, loneliness, depression, and the lessened ability to come out to others. Internalized homophobia has a high impact on lesbians because society’s norms are to be married to a man and reproduce, and this norm is the majority in small, rural communities. Because of this norm, lesbians try ...view middle of the document...

The social construct of sexuality is based on the behaviors and attitudes of the individual. Sexual identity is socially created, given to individuals, and maintained. Therefore, social constructionists would suggest that sexual orientation is society’s construction. The social construct in a rural community is for the most part, heterosexual, and coming out as a lesbian would jeopardize the status in the community, as well as attach a negative label. This could result in loss of job, friendships, and community involvement.
Rural lesbians lack the social networks of other lesbians, and a lesbian community. Rural communities have a smaller population of lesbians, and greater disapproval from the homophobic community as the majority is heterosexual. A rural lesbian usually chooses to follow the norm and become married, have children and maintain a typical “mom” role because of misunderstood identity, gender role norms, social constructs dedicated to heterosexuals, and lack of others that share the same lesbian ideas. Most rural lesbians marry because of lack of the ability to have a support system, and the strong rural homophobic community. Research supports the idea that growing up in an anti-gay society may lead to internalized homophobia (Spencer, 2007, pg. 258). Rural lesbians also marry to continue a relationship with their primary group, to continue to be accepted and supported by these familiar people. The big cities draw rural lesbians because there is more support, education on lesbianism, and a much larger selection of partners.
Which is viewed as more acceptable to society, the woman who has 100’s of short-term committed relationships, or the girl who has had 5 uncommitted sexual encounters with 5 different men? Societal norm is that women are to be submissive to men, and a relationship shows possession, the sexual pleasure being about the man, while uncommitted sex is about the woman’s sexual satisfaction. Dunn states” Sex for fun is a deviation from social norms, violating what Goffman called a normative expectation and thus incurring stigmas” (Dunn, pg. 208). Society views a committed relationship as permission to be sexually active, while uncommitted sexual activity as deviant. The only way to avoid the stigma of being a slut is to continue to maintain committed intimate relationships with men.
I disagree with the statement that everyone knows who the sluts are. I disagree because the behavior may not be being witnessed by anyone therefore the label can not be attached. Consider the high school senior that fornicates with men in other school districts, not in contact with hers, or the single-mom who goes quietly to another town every Friday night to engage in her own sexual pleasures. A slut...

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