White Crane Journal
Lambda Book Report
Greenwich Village Gazette
Brother (Journal of the National
Organization of Men Against Sexism)
News Northwest (Spokane, WA)
EXP (St. Louis, MO)
Citi News (Kansas City)
Midwest Times (Kansas City)
The Letter (Louisville, KY)
Liberty Press (Kansas)
The Express (Florida)
IDEM DITO (Belgium)
University News (University
of Missouri-Kansas City)
This is a brilliant book. It ought to be required reading
for every human being --and certainly every gay or lesbian
For, as Scared Straight explains in exacting detail, indoctrination
into the way of thinking it argues against is, in fact,
"required" of every person living in modern
human society. Robert Minor, a Professor of Religious
Studies at the University of Kansas, describes the process
of conditioning into conventional gender roles that dominates
and directs our lives. He uses an interesting bit of computer
terminology that helps make his argument clear: he refers
to gender conditioning as being "installed"
the way a piece of software is installed.
A small program analyzes your computer and determines
what needs to be where for a desired application to work,
and then inserts whatever pieces of code are needed. Now
in the installation of gender role conditioning what's
needed are a set of beliefs, opinions and unverifiable
assumptions about the nature of human life and sexuality
that support and explain the existing system. Using the
familiar story about the fish who observes "I've
been swimming in it all my life, but all I know about
it is it's water," Minor shows how in fact we're
all "wet" with the tenets of male dominant gender
conditioning but can't realize it because we can nevermore
at least seldom get out of the water enough to see what
What it is is the installed beliefs that male is better
than female, that males should compete with other males
to prove they're "real men" and not like females,
that females should effectively be victims to males' desires
and priorities in order to be "real women,"
that men should want to "get laid" and women
should want to "get a man," and that nobody
should question these beliefs lest the males demonstrate
they're like women and the females demonstrate they're
unworthy to be menthes proving the assumptions.
In a way, of course, this is a further reiteration of
the original feminist critique. It's not new. But in this
book it is brilliantly and exhaustively argued and explained.
The consequence of this installation of gender roles is
unquestioning acceptance of male dominance, hierarchical
ordering, competition, scarcity and dualistic thinking
-- especially the notion of right and wrong -- as though
these were "God-given." Even the idea of that
"God" is a self-serving, self-verifying artifact
of the male dominant conditioning.
Minor shows how heterosexuals are forced into being "straight"
at the cost of men's emotional well-being and freedom
and women's self-respect, autonomy and intelligence. He
very insightfully explains that being straight is not
at all the same thing as being heterosexual, that "straight"
means acquiescing to the gender role conditioning, and
that because the conditioning suppresses natural responsiveness
to feelings, it in fact disempowers real heterosexuality.
People don't respond to their actual heterosexual feelings
as much as they react to and obey gender conditioning.
No wonder straight marriage is under siege.
Minor then shows how gay people are taught to be gay by
a system that demands everybody be "straight."
Thus we see the notorious terms applied to gay people:
"straight-looking, straight-acting." Even homosexuals
try to be "straight."
The reason homosexuality is so scorned by the system is
because the very choice of "coming out" means
choosing to be true to one's own feelings instead of buckling
under to conditioning. In order to be gay, at least on
the surface level, one has to decide to violate the conditioning,
that is, to jump out of the water. This, in turn, threatens
the system because it shows that human beings can survive
without agreeing to the tenets of male dominant heterosexism.
On a deeper level, of course, gay men and lesbians continue
to struggle with the installed program of conditioned
expectations, values, and self-assessments. But at least
we're potentially aware of what's going on. And with our
struggle we call the "straights" to wake up
and be aware.
The gay and lesbian rights movement then is not just another
attempt by one group to compete with and dominate another
(that's how the conditioning would portray it and that's
why straights feel threatened, why, for instance, they
think that gay marriage threatens their relationships).
Our movement is about the human race waking up from a
set of assumptions about the nature of life and God that
(maybe!) made sense at the start of agrarianism, when
our ancestors were coming down from the trees and moving
into villages, but that don't fit modern, technological,
egalitarian, psychologically-enlightened society.
To pursue the computer analogy, we're part of the "deinstall"
And deinstalling the conditioning promises to make heterosexuals
and homosexuals alike happier and more responsive to their
natural humanity. Reading this book, itself, is a kind
of routine for deinstalling the conditioning.
For what activates the deinstallation is precisely the
awareness of the installation process itself. Every one
of us would benefit from running that routine.
-- Toby Johnson, White Crane Journal, Issue #50
TOP OF PAGE
Pretend for a moment that you're an educated man or
woman and an editor came to you and asked that you write
a book covering every aspect of gender conditioning
in America, yet rather than urging you, the writer,
to follow your own road map the editor insisted that
you keep in mind basic common denominators--or ground
zero--while preparing the text.
Ground zero, for the uninitiated, might be categorized
as class 101 in any women's or gay studies workshop.
It's the stuff gay and feminist activists have had drummed
into their heads from as far back as 1972 when the women's
movement and gay lib were first formulating critiques
of American society. This isn't bad, mind you. It's
just the kind of thing most of us who call ourselves
"readers" have read about a million times
before. Sentences like: "A 'real' girl is supposed
to be demeaned and devalued, put down by boys in terms
of the superiority of conditioned 'masculinity'"
and "Studies show that little boys are more likely
to be bandied roughly, wrestled with, encouraged to
play aggressively, and punished physically," aren't
exactly new thoughts. If I were the man who fell to
earth I'd want to know these things, but since I was
a kid when "Our Bodies Ourselves" hit the
bookstores in 1969, I'd like to know how things have
changed since then.
The book gets interesting when Minor explains why gender
role stagnation flowers on American soil, and why things
have not changed much. Girls, he writes, are still taught
to be "victims" and to at least appear as
weak and vulnerable. "Her job is to work to be
the girl who fulfills the victim role the best. She
is to learn to value the victim role, believe it is
not victimization, believe it is natural, and help enforce
this role on other girls." In the end, Minor says
that women may eventually seek out males for approval
who cannot give that approval to them. "They might
even reject the 'nice guy' in order to win the guy who
isn't so nice."
On the other hand, "hurt and fear are unacceptable
to the conditioned male role, but anger is 'masculine'."
"For most elementary school students, 'queer,'
'fag,' and 'gay' are considered bad without a full understanding
of their full content," Minor writes. As an illustration
he recalls what happened as he chatted with a female
neighbor. "Her young boys were playing with the
neighbor boys when we were both startled by one neighbor
boy calling those he didn't like 'butt-fuckers.' We
asked him if he knew what this meant. He didn't."
Minor writes, "A mother came up to me after one
of my workshops to tell me about her daughter's experience
in preschool. One day after school, her daughter asked,
"Mom, what's a lesbo?" Her mother's questions
discovered that her preschool daughter had been holding
hands with her best female friend at recess. She'd been
picked on by both boys and girls on the playground..."
But this is only the beginning. "Straight is a
good term for the tightrope our society wants every
person to walk -- rigid, up-tight, narrow, self-protectively
alert, highly strung," he adds. Minor touches on
the boundaries of being straight -- standing too close
to someone of the same sex, say, since males are conditioned
to be mutual oppressors. "In its most homophobic
form, it says men should greet by shaking hands. That
gives a man evidence that there is no weapon in the
right hand, the usually dominant."
Minor believes that "straight" is not really
heterosexual, since even people who identify as non-heterosexual
by orientation, are taught to value and conform to the
"straight' role." "The oppression of
gay men has nothing to do with who is having sex with
whom or who is in love with whom. It is a means of installing
and enforcing a conditioned gender role. Gay oppression
begins as a subset of sexism."
This book, despite the concentration on "101 Basics,"
belongs in every classroom of America.
--Thom Nickels, Lambda Book Report, February
TOP OF PAGE
This is a book I wish I'd written.
In a manner calculated to reach general audiences,
the author, Professor of Religious Studies at the University
of Kansas, takes his readers on an extraordinary journey,
right to the core of their most pertinent personal problems.
Like a clairvoyant, he peers into the fog surrounding
our culturally-induced consciousness, thought patterns
that are currently failing us, noting how they work
to thwart our general welfare. But next, he effectively
celebrates a futuristic awareness that I, for one, regard
as central to our personal growth and satisfaction.
Scared Straight, in other words, invites you to get
to the root of bothersome things that stand in the way
of a happier life for all. It tells you what fears you
or your friends are most likely to entertain and how
to dissipate them henceforth.
This is no everyday pop psychology book. It is a clean,
hard look into what motivates us most. It serves as
a powerful guidepost, throwing queries like daggers
at those illusions we seem to have accepted without
question. It places us, with great ease, into a new
and rewarding dimension.
The subtitle hints that that there is a connection
between not being able to accept gay people and not
being able to be fully human. It all has to do with
socially-induced fears. Dr. Minor uses the word "straight"
in much the same way that the divine 1960s Counterculture
did. I fondly recall that to the much-inspired bisexual
hippies of those halcyon days, straight no longer meant
Instead, it meant conventional, culturally-tied and
bound, unquestioningly obedient, and unduly proper.
In other words, being utterly boring, saddled with little
more motivation than to keep up with the Jones'.
But, as Dr. Minor well knows, keeping up with the Jones'
can involve many different types of dreary competition.
For many men, however, even the accumulation of money,
a symbol of manly ability, is not the foremost wealth.
Even when stripped of all of their worldly possessions,
these men still cling to an often pugnacious posture,
signaling that they're tough guys, and, therefore, somehow
worthy. They do this, mostly, unconsciously, continuing
to ape the warrior role that came into being with the
onset of the agricultural revolution when protecting
their lands became necessary following the passing of
the more individualistic hunting and gathering era.
To some, the masculine warrior's image is all they've
ever sought to emulate. They were taught to do so early
on. Daddy showed them when they were barely two years
old how to "put up your dukes."
It doesn't mean that they're really truly tough, or
even that such toughness has made them happy or particularly
able. Generally speaking, they haven't given it too
much thought. They're posing, after all.
The author of Scared Straight, perceptive seer that
he is, sees through the socialized illusions of posture,
however, being fully aware of what Susan Faludi (author
of Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man) calls
Because Scared Straight asks why it's so hard to be
human, it has much to say to "straight" folks
too. In fact, I understand, they're now reading it in
droves. This is as it should be. Scared Straight is
that unheard of tome where the straight-minded discover
how much they have in common with gays because all of
us, after all, are reared within the confines of the
very same cultural milieu.
Minor writes: "When we look at the 'straight'
role the system wants all people to live, we are not
looking at heterosexuality as a sexual orientation.
It is important to distinguish the role from the orientation.
Each is distinctly different. If a person identifies
as heterosexual by orientation, that by itself does
not imply a certain role. However, the system has a
conditioned role that is called 'straight' or 'heterosexual
acting,' and the system's goal is to condition every
human being to live and value that role. Even people
who identify as non-heterosexual by orientation, are
taught to value and conform to the 'straight' role."
This is a book that will make nervous all of those
personals ad-placers seeking partners who are "straight-acting."
They won't like what this book implies, or what it reveals
about their personal mindsets. If this book's viewpoints
become sufficiently widespread, we may, some day, see
far fewer of such ads in the gay press.
-- Jack Nichols, Greenwich Village Gazette
- January 19, 2002
TOP OF PAGE
With October designated as National Coming Out month,
the release of "Scared Straight" couldn't
be more timely. While "coming out" may be
an event, "being out" carries degrees of internalized
fear as well as self acceptance.
In "Scared Straight," author Robert Minor
will cause you to think. About yourself, your friends,
about others. It's easy reading and would be a quick-read
if it didn't cause you to pause occasionally to consider
the merit and value given the human potential.
Family values? That holy grail of discipline so frequently
hailed in today's society, Minor says, invokes images
of a grouping that is "white (or, sometimes, white-acting),
middle class, male-dominated and heterosexual - definitely
fully 'straight.'" And straightness, he adds, because
it is so closely associated with whiteness, fuels racism.
Outside the victim role - of the closeted lesbian or
gay man, for example - there are no human enemies, only
the system that has been created and carefully maintained.
The author urges us to discard the old maps governing
our behavioral direction and consider some very practical
guidelines for renewed discovery in ourselves as valuable
--Stonewall News Northwest -October, 2001
TOP OF PAGE
Scared Straight makes you look at our society and wonder
what happened. Why did we become who we are today? As
a society we have been living a role that was manufactured
by our ancestors of long ago, and still today we are
living that role. It is not a role that we choose for
ourselves but a role that has been forced upon us starting
at birth when our parents chose our name or the 'appropriate'
colors for our nursery depending on our sex. The subtitles
'Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay People' and 'Why It's
So Hard to Be Human' are perfectly suited to this title.
Robert Minor puts everything into perspective on how
our world runs; it not only runs straight but runs like
a straight, white man, the ultimate oppressor role.
Everyone else often falls in the victim role. This book
was written to help analyze and take apart that horrible
uninvited tradition of the straight role brainwash and
piece together a new more open approach to being human.
When reading this book I would suggest not reading
it in one sitting. Even a speed reader would have problems
as Minor has given us a wealth of knowledge and information.
SCARED STRAIGHT is 200 pages in length and is well worth
-- EXP, St. Louis - October 2001
TOP OF PAGE
This book, like so much of what Bob Minor does, from
activism and lecturing, to teaching religious studies
at the University of Kansas, is not "minor".
SCARED STRAIGHT begins with courage, taking on every
corner, and never lets up until the final words leave
you begging for more and ready for action. Minor marches
boldly into areas where others fear to tread. His premises
challenge nearly ever accepted moor of gender identity
and sexual orientation.
The often asked questions, which are seldom answered
with reason or fact, sates as nature or future; innate
or learned; rational or irrational; are addressed here
with clarity, background and sound reasoning. In the
end, whether you agree with Minor or not, you will close
this book knowing that you have touched the realms of
sense and sensibility and have been empowered to do
something about them.
From "Paying Attention to Emotions" to "Uneasy
Alternatives for Boys", SCARED STRAIGHT lays bare
the fear and denial of roles we are forced to play and
gives unambiguous instruction for taking positive steps
toward healing and wholeness. Minor provides the tools
for those of us who identify as lesbian, gay , bisexual
or transgendered to become more than spectators in the
urgent changes that must take place if humanity is to
evolve beyond its current restrictions. He challenges
us to lead the charge, not to be neutral and, most important
of all, to never give up!
SCARED STRAIGHT is a Minor miracle of monumental proportions.
If, after reading this book, you have not gained insight,
found some answers and benefited in a dozen other ways,
it will be because you have chosen not to.
-- Ken Gies, Midwest Times, Kansas City
TOP OF PAGE
Make no mistake about it. In the debate over nature
vs. nurture, Dr. Robert N. Minor falls pretty firmly
on the nurture side. The author argues fervently
and more or less convincingly that most gender roles
are learned responses to society's expectations,
and not biologically innate. Minor's main contention
is that the American male gender role is responsible
for many, if not most, of the ills besetting the culture
today. Violent behavior, the subjugation of women,
racism, homophobia, and a host of addictions from
sex to drug abuse, are all a product of American society's
expectations of what makes a man -- particularly a white
man -- and what doesn't.
Of particular interest to gays and lesbians is his
treatment of homophobia, which he defines as the
male fear of appearing feminine. Minor dwells on the
American male's inability to express emotion-which males
consider a feminine trait -- and his distaste for getting
physically close to other males except in such manly
settings as war zones, bars, and the football field.
When men attempt to break such taboos, society get upset.
The typical reaction is to put such men down as
faggots, whether or not they're actually homosexual.
Heterosexual men aren't the only victims of this social
construct: gay men suffer also. Minor repeatedly criticizes
gay men's use of such phrases as "straight
acting" and "straight appearing" in personals
ads: an example of an oppressed minority wanting to
conform to majority expectations, he says. Think
of African-Americans' desire in the early part of the
twentieth century to konk, or "straighten,"
their naturally curly hair in order to conform to white
Minor is perhaps too forceful at some points in pushing
his premise; biology definitely takes a back seat in
his book. But overall Scared Straight is an insightful
look at a major social problem in American society.
Thoughtful students of the sociological and cultural
problems faced by homosexuals - and gay men especially
- will find a good deal to ponder and debate here.
--- Ned Perkins, The Letter - September, 2001
TOP OF PAGE
Don't let that Ph.D. scare you off. This is the same
Bob Minor whose column appears in these pages every
month, and his book is clear, totally free of academic
jargon, and brilliant. Minor's central thesis is that
homophobia arises, not from fear or hatred of actual
gay people or what we do when our clothes are off, but
from the way all people in Western (patriarchal) society
are conditioned into hurtful and restrictive gender
roles. We all -- even the flamingest queen and the dieselest
dyke -- are socialized to fear the isolation that comes
from not living up to our prescribed roles, and to band
together and cut from the herd those people who don't
Read this book, if only for the first chapter. I've
never seen a more concise explanation of why neither
Christians nor Atheists should be using the Bible to
argue for or against us queers.
-- Sheryl LeSage, University of Oklahoma, in Liberty
Press - July 2001
TOP OF PAGE
Society has gotten a bad rap by many, especially those
seeking to blame it for all of their own personal ills.
In Scared Straight, author Robert Minor investigates
what makes up our collective tick, and he does it in
a way that makes sense.
While this book is probably more appropriate as a syllabus
requirement in a college sociology course, it can make
for entertaining reading for those who can break away
from the best of Oprahs Book Club for a moment
Without relying too heavily on scientific evidence,
Minor discusses how gay/straight roles are defined,
as well as the traditional roles of masculinity and
femininity. This guy is clearly a professor, but what
is a little unexpected is the fact that he teaches religious
It is indicated in the first chapter, which concerns
the Bibles use in modern times and how it cannot
be used for any literal translation of our own intended
morality. He asserts that the Bible is often manipulated
by the proverbial marionette strings of whoever intends
to use it. In the middle of this, he brilliantly points
out that the Bible talks much more about the evils of
being a loan officer or lawyer than ever being a run-of-the-mill
Minor then goes on to tell us how gender identity is
forced upon us by everything from our education system
to Madison Avenue. He compiles a list of reasons (or
chapters) that demonstrate how society forces our gender
roles upon us from such an early age that it becomes
impossible to even question them as anything other than
Though Minors arguments stand up to reason, he
does this by subjecting the reader to the philosophical
theory of absolute reality. In short, there is no absolute
reality because just about everything can be questioned
enough until it becomes unanswerable.
In Minors world, like that of most academics,
the sky is only blue if you choose to see it that way,
and both the chicken and the egg can come first.
The book centers around the idea that gay men are not
accepted because they challenge the deeply ingrained
ideas of masculinity that are too firm to budge. Similarly,
lesbians are much too in control of their own sexuality
to be considered real woman. Minor demonstrates the
fear factor behind homophobia that causes people to
either reject homosexuals or hide their own sexuality
in order to more closely conform to the status quo.
All of this offers an in-depth analysis of our own
conformity. What Minor fails to analyze is the fact
that most of us choose not to be our full, flowering
selves because we simply dont want the attention.
Though he would probably read into this as avoiding
our true selves in favor of conformity, it has more
to do with, like a character in Jack Londons Call
of the Wild, the chief ambition of simply wanting to
be left alone.
What would make Minors book a little more endearing
to the reader is a little narrative flavor. Some first
and secondhand accounts would do nicely here to put
a more human face on his theories. A little humor wouldnt
hurt either. Although Minor unfolds the state of our
mores well, it is just a little dry for general reading.
For nice analyses of both the way things are and ought
to be, though, there is nothing to be afraid of here.
None of this is meant to imply that Minors discussion
in Scared Straight is not well supported. It is just
to say that it becomes very easy to blame things on
society because no answer except a very large
and open-ended one is needed.
By the end of the book, Minor is asking for a recall
of all of societys ideals. Although it would certainly
be nice to invert the civilized worlds thinking
a little, it is also, quite frankly, just too much work.
--Ian Drew, The Express - December 17, 2001
TOP OF PAGE
If the government's attention is ever redirected from
to "internal subversives," Robert N. Minor will
undoubtedly be on top of
its list of insurrectionists. Scared Straight is a scary
because it forces readers to stare directly into the face
oppression and realize that we are all the victims of
deus ex machina that benefits only a tiny minority of
who, in their own victimhood, can do nothing but maintain
of their fellow human beings.
"Old wine in new skins," snorted a long-time
pro-feminist colleague when
told of the "revelations" I found in Scared
Straight. "We've been
saying the same thing for almost 30 years." And how
sadly true that
seems to be. Many texts from the last quarter century
have dealt with
the issues of patriarchy and how the straight, white,
male members of
society wield socio-economic power and dominate everyone
regardless of an occasional backlash by disenfranchised
males who mewl pitifully about their individual lack of
But the sad truth is that the old wine needs new skins
because as a
society, and individually, we still haven't beaten the
bogeyman that continues to consume us. Recent surveys
show that women
still account for only a small number of top jobs in the
US and still
make about three-fourths the salary of their male counterparts.
African-Americans are still victims of rampant, if subtler,
racism, and homophobia still rears its ugly head as legislatures
the nation pass laws to "protect" marriage from
homosexuals and the US
military continues anti-gay witch hunts. Go figure. Yet,
perpetrators are victims, according to Minor. "We
were all thrown in the
water [of society's rules] early. Throughout our life
this view of
reality - which consists of goals, ideas, images, myths,
feelings and values - was systematically instilled in
us," he writes.
No one escapes this societal indoctrination. Those on
top are taught to
expect it as their right. Those on the bottom are taught
to accept it as
their lot. Those in between are taught to keep their heads
clean, and societal activities straight - i.e. acceptable
to the rest of
the scared straight population.
And who's on top? According to Minor, "Boys are best
and some boys are
better." Masculinity is seen as the ultimate expression
of power and
anything less than strictly defined masculinity is inferior.
stoic manhood as embodied in the white American male is
best in the
western mind, and all of society colludes to keep the
"Weaker" females are "allowed" to
have and express emotions but only
because they're "inferior." Males who break
conditioning and express
emotional behavior are perceived as traitorous to the
ideal and are
labeled "fags," regardless of their actual sexual
In plain, simple language, Minor talks about how society
trains girls to
seek husbands to protect them from other men and how they
that they will "find fulfilment" by having their
men's children. On the
other side of the mating coin he describes male gender
the cultural imperative of "getting laid" and
he delves into the nine
layers of the dynamics of accomplishing this objective.
As members of
this society, these messages will resonate with each of
us; as a white
male (albeit gay), I well recall the schoolyard banter
of my male
classmates as they learned the imperative of getting laid
in order to
become real men.
Minor is eloquent in his discussion of "coming out"
as a phenomenon not
limited to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, or transgender
patriarchal model asserts that heterosexuality is the
desired norm and
that "straight" men and women will behave in
a rigidly heterosexual
fashion. Any deviation from the absolute (Kinsey's category
path results in censure and ostracization. It seems that
heterosexual people are themselves "scared straight"
in order to avoid
this treatment. And "coming out" isn't just
about sexual orientation,
either. Coming out, according to Minor, is a phenomenon
that is common
to all people who seek to experience their full humanity
and break out
of the social molds that deprive them of the opportunity
to do so.
Scared Straight is extremely readable. Although Minor
academician his book contains only a few tables, no footnotes,
useful "suggested readings" at the end of each
chapter. It is based on
the author's ten-year's experience conducting workshops
and lecturing on
understanding homophobia and the issues of sexuality and
encapsulates the experiences of a wide range of people
who have attended
Minor's presentations and who have been able to express
experiences of being "scared straight" in order
to "fit" into society.
Of course as Minor points out, such "fitting in"
means abandoning the
potential of one's own personhood. "Coming out,"
as a unique individual
in society means flying in the face of patriarchy and
we've been taught to need, seek, or want. If everyone
came out of these
social shackles, patriarchal society, as we know it today,
Does this sound insurrectionist? Read Scared Straight
and find out
more about why it should. I'm sure that there are people
in high places
who might consider their lofty positions threatened if
to think like this.
-- Donald Cavanaugh, Brother - Spring 2002
TOP OF PAGE
Onze culturele achtergrond 'programmeert' ons om heteroseksualiteit
als 'normaal te beschouwen. Veel mensen worden hierdoor
gekwetst. Dr. Minor tracht dit probleem ten gronde te
behandelen en geeft ons elementen van 'genezing' voor
dit cultureel probleem. Sterk stuk activisme.
In al onze dagelijkse handelingen worden wij gecasseerd
als 'vrouw' of 'man' en moeten wij ons ook zo gedragen.
Het begint al bij de geboorte waarbij de ouders moeten
opgeven of het een meisje of een jongen is. Familieleden
die de kleine komen bezoeken vragen steevast of het
een meisje of een jongen is. Als je zou zeggen dat het
een 'jong mens' is voellen ze zich enigzinds bedot.
De bezoekende familieleden hebben al een hele verwachtingspatroon
in hun achterhoofd, dat verschillend is naargelang het
een meisje of een jongen is.
Tot 4 a 6 jaar heeft het kind geen benul van deze antinomie
van de seksen: bij een spelletje 'geef het omgekeerde'
zal ze op 'meisje' 'vrouw' antwoorden. Pas later, als
de programmatie van zijn hersenen begonnen is zal ze
Het is een heel interessant boek dat aangeeft hoe grondig
wij gehersenspoeld worden om in een bepaald patroon
-- Idem Dito - April, 2002
TOP OF PAGE
Scared Straight is a Minor miracle of monumental
proportions. If after reading this book your fundamental
ideas of childhood, adulthood, and gender roles and
sexuality have not been challenged, if you have not
gained insight, been enlightened and benefited in a
hundred other ways, it will be because you have chosen
not to. If you read only one book this year make it
Tackling the most basic questions of human development,
KU Professor, lecturer, activist, and author, Dr. Robert
MInor, brings fresh and practical answers. From his
own experiences as a gay man, a father, and an educator,
Minor spares no facet of society and brings together
years of research with courage and pathos aimed at addressing
gender identity, sexual orientation and societal norms
that have been mindlessly accepted for decades.
"By the time children have completed elementary
school, they have been thoroughly conditioned into their
gender roles, " Minor writes. "They have been
taught how to relate as oppressors and victims, and
they have been taught what will happen to them it they
do not submit to the roles." Minor points out the
blatant ways in which children are forced to accept
patriarchal structures and the established roles that
society deems normal. "If you don't straighten
out," he relates a common threat, "you will
have to sit with the girls." The message clearly
being taught is that "non-males are the worst."
In the chapter titled "Getting a Man and Getting
Laid," Minor points out that even in our "enlightened
society" where little girls are taught that they
can get an education or a career, "a girl has learned
by junior high school that her most important life task
is to set out to 'get a man.'" He continues: "She
is taught this regardless of what her sexual orientation
may be." On the other hand, Minor states that a
"real man's goal" is getting laid. "When
boys enter puberty, they too have been thoroughly taught
that 'real men' seek to 'get a woman.' They are taught
this no matter what their sexual orientation,"
and, he continues, "all the pressure is to be heterosexual,"
and the only proof that they are a real man is to "get
a woman" into their bed. No intimacy, no commitment,
"getting a woman in junior high and high\ school
means 'getting laid.'"
From "Paying Attention to Emotions" to "Uneasy
Alternatives for Boys," Scared Straight lays
bare the fear and denial of roles we are forced to play.
Giving unambiguous instruction for taking positive steps
toward healing and wholeness, this book is probably
one of the most profound and important works of this
Minor provides the tools for those of us who identify
as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, to become
more than spectators in the urgent changes that must
take place if society is to evolve beyond its current
restrictions. "No matter what our sexual orientation
and no matter what roles the system wants us to live,
healing ourselves and our culture requires what many
observers call a 'paradigm shift.'" He challenges
us to lead the charge, not be neutral and most important
of all never give up! "The amazing fact is,"
Minor summarizes, "no matter how the system may
try to bury the idea, we are not alone. There are many
good people out there who are on this journey at all
different stages. When we feel that we are alone, we
are feeling the old messages of past hurts, hopelessness
helplessness, and powerlessness. The inward journey
is a set of decisions. They are decisions to heal from
the past, to allow no longer the past to dictate the
present, and to contradict personally the conditioning
around emotions, gender and sexual orientation."
Minor has written the most readable, hard-hitting,
empowering expose on these subjects ever published.
For more information, go to Minor's web site www.fairnessproject.org.
— Ken Gies, Citi News - September 19,
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Scared Straight: Why It's So Hard to Accept Gay
People and Why It's So Hard to Be Human is a book
for everyone. An elusive quality in most books, Minor
writes to everyone: gay, straight and the spectrum in-between.
This informative book never becomes overly academic,
thus alienating readers. Rather, the engaging writing
style makes for a pleasurable reading experience.
Minor, a professor of religious studies at the University
of Kansas, draws on material from his lectures on homosexuality
and homophobia. Acknowledging more of the high-profile
instances of gay bashing like the Matthew Shepherd case,
he delves into the pervasive homophobia ingrained in
every level of our culture. Minor addresses issues of
masculinity and femininity and the subsequent fear and
confusion that stems from these identifications, as
well the easy use of the words "fag"or "gay"
in order to minimize or demean another person.
Part of the success of the book in combating the fanatic
religious agenda, which paints gays to be subhuman and
against God, lies in the fact that Minor takes the source
of their justification, the Bible, and refutes their
arguments, drawn from seven passages, point-by-point.
He also draws from other sources of religious wisdom
such as Buddhism.
Minor at times advances the feminist agenda, pointing
out how powerful women are often treated in the same
way as gays and even identified as such when not abiding
by traditional notions of femininity. As an example,
he notes the labeling of Hilary Rodham Clinton as a
lesbian due to her position of power. Women also suffer
this erroneous identification when choosing other pursuits
in lieu of marriage and family, as if their worth as
a female is dependent on their connection to a male.
This wldely held view, Minor argues, leads to women
casting themselves as victims. Homosexuals too adopt
the victim role out of safety and self-hatred. Men don't
have it easy, either: they suffer from notions of masculinity
when pressured to care solely about "getting laid"
and the manipulation that will achieve this end.
The end of each chapter closes with a list of further
reading, allowing those interested in the topics contained
within that chapter a way to study them and become more
informed in important books such as WIsdom from
a Rainforest: The Spiritual Journey of an Anthropologist,
A People's History of the United States: 1492 to
the Present, Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from
the Myths of Masculinity, Backlash: The Undeclared
War Against American Women, and When Society
Becomes as Addict.
Ultimately Minor's goal is to start readers on an inward
as well as an outward journey for acceptance and celebration
of both individual identity and homosexuals. With an
open mind and the book as a tool, the goal may not be
Robert Minor will visit UMKC on Oct. 1 to discuss the
issues surrounding homophobia in the United States.
The lecture, book signing and reception will take place
from 4-6 p.m. in 201 Haag Hall. "Scared Straight:
Growing Up in the USA" kicks off a series of events,
sponsored by the campus Lesbian, Gay,, Bisexual, and
Transgender Initiative, celebrating Gay and Lesbian
History Month. For more information, call 235-1639 or
-- Emily Iorg, University News - September
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This book is really about heterosexism... the damage
done to all of us by rigid and societally enforced
gender roles, regardless of orientation, gender identity
or sex. It's not just about the impact of gender roles
on those that deviate from them, but also about the
pervasive effects these gender roles have
on everyone in society in the way they relate to one
another, perceive themselves, and subtly condition
our actions, thoughts and feelings.
-- Wade M. Lee, LibraryThing - June 26, 2009
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