Hegemonic African Masculinities and Men's Heterosexual Lives: Some Uses for Homophobia


Ratele, Kopano. 2014. “Hegemonic African Masculinities and Men’s Heterosexual Lives: Some Uses for Homophobia.” African Studies Review 57 (2): 115–130. doi:10.1017/asr.2014.50.


Author: Kopano Ratele


Based on two relatively well-reported cases of homophobia in Malawi and South Africa, this article aims to show some of the ways in which hegemonic African men and masculinities are unsettled by, but also find ideological use for, the existence of homosexuality and nonheteronormative sexualities. Deploying the notion of psychopolitics, the article traces the interpenetrating psychosocial and sociopolitical aspects of homophobia. The argument is that analyses of issues of lesbian, gay, and “othered” sexualities are vital for a fuller understanding of the production of hegemonic forms of gender and masculinity in Africa. The article suggests that the threat posed by homosexuality is used as a distraction for some of the socioeconomic development-related failures of Africa’s ruling men but also, more significantly, for the impossibility of hegemonic African masculinity itself. 

Keywords: homophobia, homosexuality, heteronormative, heterosexual, masculinities

Topics: Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, LGBTQ, Sexuality Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Malawi

Year: 2014

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