Saturday , October 16 2021
Home / Project Syndicate / Homophobes and Autocrats

Homophobes and Autocrats

Summary:
Chinese President Xi Jinping recently became the latest in a long line of autocrats to treat anyone who does not conform to conventional gender norms – particularly gay and effeminate men – as menaces to society. But what is it about “non-manly” men that so terrifies dictators? MOSCOW – China’s government has banned “sissy” and “effeminate” males from television, part of a vicious propaganda campaign that brands them as “abnormal” and somehow in violation of the country’s morals. President Xi Jinping’s targeting of gay men – and of anyone who doesn’t conform to conventional standards of masculinity – should not be surprising. Homophobia is an authoritarian trademark. Biden's Collaborative

Topics:
Nina L. Khrushcheva considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Menzie Chinn writes Velocity Is Not Stable

Paul Krugman writes The Fed Shouldn’t Make a Call on Inflation Yet

FT Alphaville writes Italy’s ill-fated dalliance with techno-democracy

conversableeconomist writes Reduced Wage Inequality Since the Pandemic

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently became the latest in a long line of autocrats to treat anyone who does not conform to conventional gender norms – particularly gay and effeminate men – as menaces to society. But what is it about “non-manly” men that so terrifies dictators?

MOSCOW – China’s government has banned “sissy” and “effeminate” males from television, part of a vicious propaganda campaign that brands them as “abnormal” and somehow in violation of the country’s morals. President Xi Jinping’s targeting of gay men – and of anyone who doesn’t conform to conventional standards of masculinity – should not be surprising. Homophobia is an authoritarian trademark.

When I was a student at Moscow State University in the early 1980s, one of my classmates – a soft-spoken lover of literature – was expelled, supposedly for plagiarism. But I’ll never forget when another classmate leaned in and whispered that, in fact, our expelled peer’s crime was that “he was gay.”

Whatever his sexuality, our classmate was clearly deemed too gentle for our “heroic” Soviet milieu. Indeed, even women had to be virile: images of worker-maids in orange vests plowing snow and hammering nails were all too common in the Soviet era. But for men, being anything less than a quintessential “man’s man” – chest puffed out and rifle at the ready – was, for all intents and purposes, criminal.

Dictators depend on order. They maintain their positions not by meeting the people’s needs, but rather by controlling as many aspects of life in the country as they can. This includes defining exactly how people should behave and portraying heterodoxy as untrustworthy and even dangerous. In China, as Rana Mitter has pointed out, imposing conformity with regard to gender is part of a broader campaign to ensure compliance with state-approved political...

Nina L. Khrushcheva
Nina L. Khrushcheva is a Professor of International Affairs and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The New School and a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute. Khrushcheva received a degree from Moscow State University with a major in Russian in 1987 and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton University in 1998.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *