Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women's Gender Strategies and Homophobia


Hamilton, Laura. 2007. “Trading on Heterosexuality: College Women's Gender Strategies and Homophobia”. Gender & Society 21 (2) : 145–172.


In this study, the author uses ethnographic and interview data from a women's floor in a university residence hall to examine how some heterosexual women's gender strategies contribute to their homophobia. The author describes a prevailing heterosexual erotic market on campus — the Greek party scene — and the status hierarchy linked to it. Within this hierarchy, heterosexual women assign lesbians low rank because of their assumed disinterest in the erotic market and perceived inability to acquire men's erotic attention. Active partiers invest more in this social world and prefer higher levels of social distance from lesbians than do others. These women also engage in same-sex eroticism primarily designated for a male audience. They define their behaviors as heterosexual, reducing the spaces in which lesbians can be comfortable. Finally, the author concludes by discussing the unique nature of women's homophobia and the links between sexism and heterosexism.

Last updated on 04/18/2019