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masculinity and religion

meowwalex's picture

Thinking about the conversation we have started concerning the constructs of masculinity in our culture reminds me a lot of the scandals throughout many religious communities...these are ultimately surprising to the public, not only in their hypocritical qualities, but because they are centered around important men within that community -- previously considered as ideal models for what a good religious man is.

It seems a lot of these incidences are centered around the notion that homosexuality is a behavior that is wrong, and that no strong, religious man could identify as gay. (Why is it that being gay makes you less of a man in the eyes of so many? That is a terribly broad question, I know)

(For example, the Ted Haggard scandal a few years ago, well as the various incidences throughout the Catholic church.

It seems to me that especially in the religious world, the construct of masculinity is something that is especially hurtful.


Joseph's picture

masculinity and religion resource

You might like to check out Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality:

bluebox's picture

Homosexuality and religion

I think that society sees a homosexual man as less of a man because so much of masculinity is defined in relation to women. Being homosexual removes one of the most important comparisons in a man's life, between him and his wife/girlfriend/lover. With no woman to compare to, society compares the man and his male partner, where they are both (potentially) masculine. But in a couple, there is a masculinity/femininity quota that must be filled, which is why people automatically jump to distinguishing which is the "woman" in the relationship. Or if they can't, the divide the femininity equally between the two men, and, as being more female makes a man less male, they are both less of men than a heterosexual man.

I'm not positive that the above makes total sense, but that's how I think people could see it. I don't believe that sexuality makes any difference in how much of a man/woman you are, or how religious you are, or if you are a "good person" or not.

Also, pertaining to the homosexuality in religion comments, I wanted to leave this here. This is a movie called Fish Out of Water which analyzes the 7 quotes from the Bible that are used against homosexuality and gay marriage. I highly reccommend it regardless of orientation or religious beliefs. It's culturally relevant and quite funny at times.

S. Yaeger's picture

Not sure if you

Not sure if you like/watch/care about Modern Family, but this week's episode dealt with the idea that a same sex couple is seen by heteronormative culture as needing a male and female role holder.  Your comment here reminded me of it.  The fathers of the show's gay male couple get into an argument over which partner is the woman, but ultimately come to the conclusion that neither is.  

sekang's picture

Hi meowwalex, I agree with

Hi meowwalex,

I agree with you that scandals involving people in religious communities tend to become hot topics in the society because of "their hypocritical qualities" and since they are "considered as ideal models for what a good religious man is." I think when the scandal involves two men, it becomes a hotter issue. I think that's very expected and even inevitable, since catholics and christianity (I don't know about any other religion) forbid homosexuality. Since the "religious men" practice something that they preached others to refrain from, the "religious men" would definitely considered as hypocrites. 

I actually think any type of scandal involving any men in power tends to become a big issue in the society. You can read these articles as examples to see how politically powerful men and rich men frequently get involved in scandals.

Money, Power, and Sex

When Culture, Power and Sex Collide (I found this one pretty interesting! If you don't have much time, read this one :))

Why Powerful Men (Like Arnold) Cheat

So what I'm trying to say is that any type of scandal is an big deal. Personally, I view them as a sexual immorality and am definitely not happy with that. 

I think the homosexuality characteristic of this scandal especially in a religious community just added one more reason to make this a big deal. But, in general every kind is a big deal.

I'm sorry that I can't answer to your question "Why is it that being gay makes you less of a man in the eyes of so many?" I do definitely belive that being gay makes a man less of a man, but I'm not sure why. 


sekang's picture


Since I'm a bit technologically challenged and don't know how to edit my post, I decided to reply to my own post.

I would like to fix my typo here. What I meant to say is 

I'm sorry that I can't answer to your question "Why is it that being gay 
makes you less of a man in the eyes of so many?" I do definitely belive that today's society had constructed an idea of  'being gay makes a man less of a man,' but I'm not sure why.
I guess what my next question is what is the definition of "man"? If being gay makes a man less of a man, then 'being gay' probably goes against the definition that the society had made. 
And sorry :(

S. Yaeger's picture

I just want to point out that

I just want to point out that the Catholic sex scandal is about pedophilia, not homosexuality.  I know it can seem like a small distincton, but it's an important one given that one of the ways in which gay men are maginalized by society is for them to be lumped into with pedophiles in people's minds.