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The Masculinity/Femininity Inferiority Complex

As a matter of fact, prehomosexuals not only feel “different” — which translates into “inferior” — but also often do have a less boyish (girlish), less manly (womanly) demeanor than their same-sex peers and have less gender-typical interests. They have atypical habits, or personality traits, as a result of their upbringing and parental relationships. It has been shown over and over again that a lack of masculine traits in childhood and adolescence — such as being more fearful of physical injury than other boys, being less aggressive, not participating in the favourite games of boys — is the first and foremost fact that is associated with male homosexuality. Hockenberry and Billingham (1987) rightly concluded that “it may be the absence of masculine traits rather than the presence of feminine traits that is the stronger and more influential variant for a future (male) homosexual.” A boy whose father was hardly present in his life and whose mother was perhaps too much, cannot develop his masculine side. The preadolescent and adolescent stages together are primarily when the young person develops his self-image regarding his position among his same-sex peers. Do I belong to them? Comparison of himself with the others determines his self-image with regard to gender characteristics more than anything else.

To be clear, one must distinguish two separate steps in the development of homosexual feelings. The first is a “cross-gender” habit formation in interests and behavior, the second a masculinity/femininity inferiority complex (or gender inferiority complex) that may, but need not necessarily arise on the basis of these habits. After all, there are effeminate boys and tomboyish girls who never become homosexually interested.

Further, the masculinity/femininity inferiority complex is usually not definitively formed until preadolescence or adolescence. A child may possess cross-gender qualities even at primary-school age, and a homosexual might retrospectively interpret that as proof that he had always been a homosexual, but that impression is wrong. Not until the self-perception of being inadequate as a man or woman — as a boy or girl — has taken firm root and is accompanied by self-dramatization and homoerotic fantasies can  and should we speak of “homoseuality”.

One avoids what one feels inferior about.

GERARD J.M. VAN DEN AARDWEG, PH.D.
The Battle for Normality (1997) Ignatius Press: San Francisco

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