The Androcentric Construction of Homophobia: Gender-oriented Analysis of the Generative Mechanisms of Teenage Hostility towards Gay Men and Lesbians
Using the results of a sociological inquiry based on a sample of 920 male and female students at ten Italian institutes of secondary education, the article shows the interconnections between the processes of constructing gender and teenage hostility towards gay men and lesbians. Beginning with operational definitions of gender and homophobic prejudice as multidimensional properties, the gender-oriented analysis reveals a sociological frame in which homophobia figures as an expression of the virilist dispositive and of the connected tendency to accommodate oneself to the normative pressure of the reference groups and of society as a whole, in terms of masculine domination and heterosexism. Male teenage prejudice appears based on the mechanism of stigmophobia interiorization: the fear of being labelled as homosexual and of being discredited in peer relations. To avoid any risk of oversimplification, the analysis focuses also on the counter-mechanisms that can weaken the connection between masculinity and homophobia.
Keywords: homophobia, gender identity, teenagers, stigmophobia, homophobic bullying