Spark Post: The Role of Culture on the Effects of Gender

http://www.buzzfeed.com/connorkemuo/why-i-stay-closeted-in-asia

This BuzzFeed article focuses on the effects of the intersection of gender, race, and sexual orientation in Asian society, as told from the point of view of one man’s experience in coming out to his conservative father (and explicitly not his mother). I believe the article serves to highlight, in a very effective way, the idea of sexual orientation as an affront on gender, thus illustrating the real correlation between the two.

In class the other day, we discussed the realities of Asian societies in regard to homosexuality – specifically, their ignorance and rejection of the idea, let alone the social permissibility, of a “gay lifestyle”. On some level, then, I think the article serves as an important way to illustrate this cultural attitude on a very personal level.

To what extent does our own discussion of the relationship between gender and society represent a distinctly American viewpoint? Does anyone have any other relationships with cultural subsets or international cultures, perhaps leading to different manifestations of gender in these societies?

From my own personal experience growing up in Texas, earlier this semester someone made the assertion that homosexuality was “generally accepted”, something which I found to be highly mis-descriptive of my own home. Additionally, as a gay man, I have on several occasions seen a reversal of typical objectification subjects, with men being treated as objects and displayed in many of the ways by which women traditionally are in heterosexual society.

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One thought on “Spark Post: The Role of Culture on the Effects of Gender

  1. Andre Rosario

    Thanks for sharing this, Hunter! Regarding other cultures’ views of homosexuality, in the Philippines, homosexuality is also looked down upon. The reasons why might be slightly different.

    Part of the reason is a religious influence. Catholicism marks Filipino culture and values, suggesting that homosexuality is a sin and that gay men don’t deserve respect.

    Another part of Filipino culture that might also influence attitudes towards gay people are values, specifically that Filipinos aren’t confrontational people. In a Thought Catalog article “What It’s Like to Be Gay in the Philippines,” one contributor suggests that this is a legitimate reason. That said, usually serious discussions about homosexuality don’t happen, if the topic comes up at all. This avoidance is barely tolerance and definitely not acceptance.

    Also, in terms of media and objectification–some Filipino TV shows include gay characters, but only for comic relief in the form of the loud, feminine, “flamboyant” stereotype. I see this as objectifying gay men. Although this objectification isn’t sexual, it suggests that gay men aren’t complex or important enough to serve as more than just entertainment.

    “What It’s Like to Be Gay in the Philippines” ThoughtCatalog article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/what-its-like-to-be-gay-in-the-philippines/

    Reply

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