A critique of social constructionism and postmodern queer theory

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It really was not until the late 1960s, and specifically in America, that androphilia or egalitarian homosexuality came to be held up as the ideal model for a modern queer democracy, and the pederastic model was characterized as being exploitative. But early gay liberation collections of poetry, such as Winston Leyland's Angels of the Lyre or Ian Young's The Male Muse or Paul Mariah's Manroot journal, contain a superabundance of pederastic verse.

Homosexual photographic magazines in London were dominated by the slim adolescent male through most of the 1970s. Chunky rough types were not common until the 1980s, and 'older men' were not common objects of desire until the late 1980s (as long as they wore leather). The view that a 'fundamental transition' has taken place is hardly tenable for the period since 1969, and demonstrably untrue as an indicator of the 'modern' period in general. Those who think that equal-age 'androphilia' rules the day ought to peruse 1990s personal ads and porn videos, a typical title of which is Just Eighteen. In the ancient world the ideal beloved was not a 'boy' but an 'ephebe' just below seventeen years old; to judge by modern gay literature and videos the seventeen-year-old boy is still the primary object of desire. [...]

I am astonished whenever I hear it said that age-asymmetrical relationships are a thing of the past. One look at a photograph of Christopher Isherwood with his lover Don Bachardy ought to dispel the notion that 'pederasty' is purely an ancient paradigm. In 1996 Mr Gay UK was twenty and his lover was thirty-six; he has taken his older spouse's last name, a not uncommon practice.

In heterosexual culture May-December relationships are nearly as common today as they used to be in the Middle Ages. Photographs of couples on the 'social pages' of contemporary newspapers and magazines make it obvious that wealthy and important men have wives noticeably younger than themselves. When a successful businessman takes a second wife, she is always the same age as his first wife, though he himself has doubled in age. The higher a man's status in 'high society', the younger his wife is likely to be (and his mistress is even younger). It was ever thus.

source: Article 'A Critique of Social Constructionism and Postmodern Queer Theory - Intergenerational and Egalitarian Models' by Rictor Norton; www.infopt.demon.co.uk/social19.htm; 1 June 2002