Public Opinion: Lesbians vs. Gays

También en español Conversing recently with a friend, the topic of lesbianism came to our attention. Upon the mere mention of girls kissing girls, his instant reaction was, “That’s so hot!” even though one of the young women in this case was treating the other abusively. When I pointed out the contradiction, his reply was, “I mean, that sucks, but c’mon! Seeing girls making out is still pretty hot.”

Sadly, this reaction is all too common when people talk about women who partner with women, though rarely to this extent. However, it does drive home the point that society generally sanctions lesbianism for no other reason than it is between two women. While it may be great that people have accepted this so willingly, it is often for the wrong reasons. Simply seeing girls as “hot” ignores any other factors, including the one in the scenario above.

There is one catch to this unquestioning approval of lesbianism: it does not apply to all same-sex couples. The public opinion is more discriminatory toward male couples. The same people who loudly praise the merits of female couples often openly condemn their male counterparts. To make this even more contradictory, they take this negative viewpoint for the same reason that they take their positive viewpoint with the women: men together versus women together. Women can love women because that’s “hot,” but the same principle does not apply  for men  who love men.

Why does society find it appropriate to laud same-sex coupling when it is between women, but condemn it when between men?

Creative Commons image by: Marco Gomes