Guasch; Social stereotypes and masculine homosexualities.pdf

Description Sexualities The online version of this article can be found at:   DOI: 10.1177/1363460711415216 2011 14: 526 Sexualities Oscar Guasch Social stereotypes and masculine homosexualities: The Spanish case     Published by: can be found at: Sexualities Additional services and information for  Email Alerts: Subs
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Transcript  Sexualities online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/1363460711415216 2011 14: 526 Sexualities  Oscar Guasch Social stereotypes and masculine homosexualities: The Spanish case  Published by:  can be found at: Sexualities  Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations: What is This? - Oct 17, 2011Version of Record >>  by Máximo Fernández on October 19, 2011sex.sagepub.comDownloaded from   Sexualities14(5) 526–543 ! The Author(s) 2011Reprints and 10.1177/  Article Social stereotypesand masculinehomosexualities:The Spanish case Oscar Guasch University of Barcelona, Spain Abstract The Spanish democracy has brought about important transformations in the culturalconstruction of homosexual masculinities. Leaving behind the classical southernMediterranean stereotypical images – structured around the binary opposition between‘top’ and ‘bottom’ sexualities – a new model has emerged where the idea of ‘gayness’replaces old ways of thinking about male homosexuality. These changes have shapedboth the hegemonic view of homosexuals in society and perceptions by homosexualsthemselves. Slowly, Spanish homosexuals have created new narratives dissociated fromstrategies of adaptation to the homophobic contexts of the Francoist regime. Spanishhomosexuals no longer mechanically reproduce social prejudices about male homosex-uality. They have also developed new frameworks to think about themselves. Thesenew narratives help Spanish society enrich its own view of homosexual identity byincorporating variables such as social class and age. This article explores these trans-formations from a socio-historical perspective and delineates key historical moments:pre-gay, gay and hyper-gay. Keywords history, homosexuality, masculinities, Spain Introduction This article studies social stereotypes about male homosexuality in Spain sincethe beginning of Francoism to the present day. The analysis, comparison anddiscussion builds on a critical (re)examination of my own ethnographic sources,as published (in Spanish) at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s Corresponding author: Dr Oscar Guasch, Departamento de Sociologı´a, Universidad de Barcelona, Diagonal 690, 08034 Barcelona,SpainEmail:  by Máximo Fernández on October 19, 2011sex.sagepub.comDownloaded from   (Guasch, 1987a, 1987b, 1987c, 1987d, 1991a, 1991b). This early work focused onthe configuration of male homosexualities in Spain and outlined key historicalmoments in that process. More specifically, a distinction was proposed betweena ‘pre-gay’ and a ‘gay’ phase of historical development in the conformation of sexual regimes. 1 The typology is recaptured in this article and confronted withthe passing of nearly three decades of magnificent social transformation: a thirdperiod will be, thus, added to the srcinal typology, one that will be presented as‘hyper-gay’. This article and its predecessors have an undisguised ethnographiccharacter: it is never the aim to engage with a precise account of the causalmechanisms underpinning the evolution of cultural representations about homo-sexuality in Spain. In the absence of alternative sociological works on the subject,at least as far as the Spanish case is concerned, this article remains preoccupiedwith the provision of analytical categories on the topic of how, and in whatdirection, Spanish society has changed in what relates to public views onhomosexuality.Many of the ideas presented here are based on research conducted, mostly inMadrid and Barcelona, between 1985 and 1991. Some rural areas in Catalonia werealso covered. Participant observation was a key aspect of fieldwork, particularlyconsidering my personal involvement in some of the processes discussed.Information was also obtained from 37 interviews, which could be described as‘coming out’ narratives. Volunteers for interviewing were randomly identifiedthroughout the data collection process; in some cases I have remained personallyclose to the interviewees. The temporal consolidation of these networks, togetherwith my continuous participation in many homosexual subcultural activitiesupdates and gives further the validity to the initial data collection process.This article studies social stereotypes about male homosexuality in Spain andtheir transformations. The discussion focuses on male masculinities only, the mainreason for that being the absence of historic ethnographic data on lesbianism. OlgaVin ˜uales’ ethnographic approach to lesbian relations in Catalonia, a pioneeringsociological study on Spanish lesbians, was only published in 1999 (Vin ˜uales,1999). The article also considers how homosexual people react to social stereotypesat critical historical junctures. Building on previous research, and also on morerecent analysis of media representations on male homosexuality (Llamas, 1997, forinstance), a number of ‘ideal categories’ will be set out: they might help observerstrace the evolution of social stereotypes. 2 A threefold historical division is pre-sented: pre-gay, gay and hyper-gay.  Pre-gay  is the label that is given here to thedictatorship (1939–1975). The  gay  period starts with the transition towards democ-racy and covers the last years of the 1990s. We are currently living in the  hyper-gay period. Different ideal categories will be discussed in each of periods; some of theseideal types reflect dominant views on homosexuality as represented in the mediaand in other spaces for cultural representations. Other types, however, are broughtabout when homosexuals think about their own public representations.The first two ideal types, namely  marica  and  marico´ n , dominated cultural rep-resentations of male homosexuality during pre-democratic times. Translating the Guasch  527  by Máximo Fernández on October 19, 2011sex.sagepub.comDownloaded from   words  marica  and  marico´ n  into the English language is not easy. The former iseasily translated into ‘fairy’ (Cleminson, 2004). According to the dictionary of theSpanish Royal Academy,  marica  stands for ‘an effeminate and low-spirited manwith a weak consideration for physical work’ (RAE, 1992: 1324). The latter word –  marico´ n –   is laden with sociological meaning, most of which – as it is argued in thisarticle – is idiosyncratic to the Spanish case.  Maricones,  in any case, are to beviewed as active (‘top’) homosexual males, with a masculine appearance andvirile outlooks.  Marica  and  marico´ n  were derogatory categories; in spite of that,they were firmly established in popular vocabulary and public cultures. Whentransposed to the homosexual universe of those years, these ideal types broughtabout two analogous types:  la loca  (the queen) and  el reprimido  (the repressed). Thelast ideal type discussed here is the  gay  one, which defines socialization patternsduring the transition years and the time after.The transition towards democracy brought about important social and politi-cal transformations (Maravall, 1982). These included changes in the culturalrepresentations of male homosexualities. Classifications based on sexual roles(active/passive) were replaced by a different model around the idea of ‘gayness’(Brandes, 1980). The consequences of these changes were felt at a twofold level; onthe one hand, prevailing social views on homosexuality changed as more positivereferences to homosexual behaviour and homosexual identities were introduced.But internal representations of homosexuality, by homosexuals themselves, alsochanged. Aided by the steady recognition of basic civil rights and liberties dur-ing the transition (Arnalte, 2003: 223–250; Calvo, 2005, 94–113), Spanish malehomosexuals began to part ways from (derogatory) strategies of adaptation andsurvival that only made full sense when observed against the background of height-ened institutional homophobia. As documented by recent scholarly work onFrancoism and homosexuality, the dictatorship needs to be regarded as a repressiveinstitutional setting that developed refined techniques to persecute, imprison andeven attempt to cure homosexuals (Arnalte, 2003). At present, Spanish homosex-uals are less bounded by social prejudices about homosexuality when representingthemselves in public: they have secured a degree of autonomy when thinkingof themselves in public that defies old stereotypes and contributes to the creationof new ones.Notwithstanding these important transformations, a dominant social represen-tation of homosexuality is still active; I call this a  hetero-real   representation(Sabuco and Valcuende, 2003; Witting, 2005). Hetero-real representations buildon the socio-sexual values of the so-called heterosexual lifestyle to see homosexu-ality through heterosexual lenses (Witting, 2005). Heterosexuality can be perceivedas a lifestyle with a set of emotions and consuming practices attached to it (Guasch,2000). This inspires dominant perceptions of romantic love and marital stability.For lesbian and gays, hetero-reality supports such (limiting) values as monogamy,stability, the privacy of sexual relations or the identification between sex andlove.  Hetero-real   representations of male homosexuality build on old stereotypesmainly by identifying homosexuals with supposedly female attitudes, capacities and 528  Sexualities 14(5)  by Máximo Fernández on October 19, 2011sex.sagepub.comDownloaded from 
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