Black voters made huge gains this election by playing a pivotal role in Obama’s overwhelming win. But they also played a huge role in the marriage equality victories – or at least half of them did.
The Root investigated why black men were more likely to reject gay marriage than black women, and asked Aisha for some input.
“I think we see in African-American culture — art, pop culture [and] music — a level of misogyny and heterosexism that is embedded in culture,” she said. “As a result of this hypermasculinity, there is discomfort among men with anything that does not fit strict gender-conforming lines.”
Moodie-Mills explained that in her experience, many black men are uncomfortable not only with the idea of a man identifying as gay but even with a man identifying as heterosexual but choosing to get a manicure — something that has been described as metrosexual. She compared this to the discomfort some black men may feel with a woman they are in a relationship with earning more money than they do. “I think it’s bigger than just marriage equality,” she explained. “In our community we struggle with gender parity and what masculinity and femininity are supposed to look like.”
She continued, “We have hip-hop perpetuating misogyny, and we have Tyler Perry perpetuating [stereotypes of blue- and white-collar] masculinity [for the] dominant head of household, and skewing how black men and women see each other and see masculinity. Those rigid ideas of masculinity don’t allow for the fluidity that is sexuality. That’s how people get stuck on LGBT issues, because they think, ‘That behavior doesn’t fit with my idea of being a black man, so I can’t get down with that.’ ”
Moodie-Mills posited that this could in part be a reaction to our community’s complicated history, one in which many black women have assumed the role of head of household, while black men have found their very existence and their manhood attacked.