British writer Julie Burchill complains in her latest column that gay men aren't chastised for insulting straight women, but if a woman criticizes gay men, she's accused of homophobia.
Burchill uses actor Stephen Fry as an example. Recently, Fry said that straight women aren't interested in sex. "The only reason women will have sex with [straight men] is that sex is the price they are willing to pay for a relationship with a man, which is what they want," Fry told Attitude magazine. "Of course, a lot of women will deny this and say, 'Oh no, but I love sex, I love it!' But do they go around having it the way that gay men do?" Fry then goes on to say that if women loved sex as much as gay men do, they'd have straight cruising areas, similar to gay cruising spots. Burchill counters that liking sex doesn't mean seeking out anonymous casual sex - it's possible to enjoy sex as well as, rather than instead of, enjoying a relationship. She feels Fry is being insulting by perpetuating the cliche of the frigid, clingy woman.
Burchill says gay men's condescension towards women has been going on ever since the birth of "New Lad" culture in Britain in the early 1990s. (This culture corresponds to the American culture of FHM, The Man Show, and other media that celebrated beer-drinking, boob-ogling, sports-obsessed "real men," rather than their "sensitive Nineties man" counterparts.) As straight guys openly drooled over women, gay men started to insult them - perhaps feeling that they were more a part of female culture than male society, and therefore that they were entitled to bash people they felt were their peers.
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Late last year, writer Jan Moir published an op-ed piece in British newspaper The Daily Mail on the death of gay Irish pop star Stephen Gately. She linked Gately's death at age 33 to his "homosexual" lifestyle of clubbing, doing drugs, and picking up strangers for sexual encounters. The article sparked outrage, and many gay British celebrities called Moir homophobic. Indeed, Stephen Fry himself wrote, "I gather a repulsive nobody writing in a paper no one of any decency would be seen dead with has written something loathesome and inhumane." Burchill views Moir's article as "a woman passing a comment on gay male sexuality," - basically, she says, doing the same thing Stephen Fry did when he made his comment about women's sex drives - and she's frustrated that Moir was pilloried, while Stephen Fry can seemingly make such judgments without receiving the same level of criticism Moir did.