Thursday, January 31, 2008

Androphiles of the world unite!

I try to use the word "androphile" whenever appropriate, in place of "straight women and gay men." It's more efficient, and includes bisexuals too. Unfortunately since I'm one of the few people who uses the term, it isn't that efficient after all, since I always have to explain what it means. Even to presumably well-educated, cultured people. I would have thought the meaning was obvious.

An androphile is someone who is sexually attracted to men. A gynophile is someone who is attracted to women.

The world is a more hospitable place for gynophiles, after centuries of patriarchy, especially modern, homophobic patriarchy. The ancient Greeks were totally patriarchal, but they certainly were not homophobic.

In fact, the Greeks had boy beauty contests and a popular theme of Greek vases was a painting of a nude or semi-nude young man with the inscription "Kalos" on the vase, usually along with the boy's name, which meant "[boy's name] is beautiful."

But patriarchy AND homophobia are a deadly combination for androphiles. Thanks to homophobia, gay men are constrained from expressing their admiration for the erotic charms of men, and thanks to patriarchy, women are only permitted to be the objects of desire, not the desiring subject. Evolutionary psychologists even try to claim that women are not "visually oriented" - in typical evolutionary psychology fashion they turn the causal arrows around: it isn't that the Patriarchy is hostile to female desire it's that females aren't interested in male beauty.

This "women are not visually oriented" meme is so strong that it trumps even homophobia. Images of sexually attractive men are almost always designated "homoerotic" and even usually hipper Sue Johanson pushes the concept.