As you may have seen in the press, gay marriage was recently passed as law in every state in the US. I was listening to some amazing insights of an Australian author and broadcaster who grew up in the 70s which has really opened my eyes to the situation and how it affects straight men.
He explained that when he was younger in Australia there was a very limited option of what it meant to be masculine. Unlike today where it is acceptable to be a feminine heterosexual man, when he grew up it was very clear what you had to do to be a man. The stereotypes dictated how men should behave about sport, women, drinking and homophobia for example. The men at that time had an enormous fear of homosexuality and being called gay or homo struck at the heart of their masculinity. In addition even today, it is not easy to disprove if someone labels you so they would avoid doing anything where they could be considered gay.
As a result, the masculine stereotype for them evolved to mean anything that was the antithesis of homosexual male behaviour. They considered that gay male traits included being: clean, tidy, polite, emotional, well read and intellectual so unconsciously these men were conditioned to value the opposite as that would minimise the possibility their masculinity was challenged.
Interestingly however, they were not actually scared of homosexual men and they probably didn’t even consider the actual act of sex between men as that would potentially brand them as gay themselves just for thinking about it! With the further acceptance of individual’s choosing their partner irrelevant of sex, straight masculine men brought up in the way I explained will now be able to activate a whole side of them which was previously chastised for being too feminine or ‘gay’ without the fear of reprise.
In our lifetimes, I’m sure we can all see that behaviour around homosexual men and women has changed, and this law being passed in the US is a continuation of the trend. I’m sure the stereotypes of how to be a man or a woman are evolving in tandem and am really curious to see what the world will be like in 60 years when a few generations have passed through. Fortunately, I plan on being around to see it all!
And for those who want an even bigger picture and outlandish idea to consider …
On a metaphysical level, I do have a spiritual belief that the planet communicates through us to a bigger end. Although I’m sure people may challenge this idea, I feel that the increase of homosexuality is potentially nature’s way of curbing population growth which at current rates I feel is inappropriately virus-like*. I’m sure this idea will never be able to be proven, however I do find it curious that it has taken so long in humanity for homosexuality to be widely accepted and a side effect of this change in relationship type is a reduction in population growth which I seriously believe we need.
*The world population has doubled since the 1960s and based on current figures, it will double again in less than 60 years. That means that on my 100th birthday, the population on earth will be 10 billion greater than from when I was born: 4 to 14 billion people in 100 years! This cannot be sustained.
Did you grow up with strong expectations of your masculine and feminine behaviour? Who were your role models? Do you think gay marriage will make it easier for the rest of us?