Homosexuality is part and parcel of bushidō (武士道, the way of the samurai), and ever since the samurai class established their own bakufu (幕府, shogunate) in 1192, those in authority have separated the women from the men, deeming that female members of a household will weaken and corrupt a man’s resolve. Certainly, offspring were necessary for the bushi (武士, samurai) and his clan to carry on, but otherwise, onnakodomo (女子供, women and children) were often a useless commodity when procreation wasn’t on the agenda.
I was just reflecting on the irony that the traditional Christian suppression of ancient homosexuality used to be based on egalitarian to the point of feminist premises.
There is a curious correlation between ancient male dominated and strongly warrior or Hypermasculine cultures and homosexuality. The correlation is not surprising when we consider a vital premise which used to be held by classical cultures. The idea was that man alone possessed the full range and depth of personality while woman have like a sub-male mind or some lesser version of it and as such, lacked the full range of inner experiences which man are capable of.
So the idea is that man can only have genuinely in depth friendship, and by extension, be true love with other man while woman, whose minds lacked the capacity for the full range of inner experiences, are only good for breeding. As such, in very strongly masculine societies, especially in warrior cultures, homosexuality becomes inevitable as the love for male qualities encroaches unto sexuality as well. Woman are only good for breeding and earthly managing the household, true love and friendship can only be had with man.
If Christendom suppressed homosexuality it would ironically be because it argued for, and promoted, egalitarian to the point of feminist principles. It is important to note that the egalitarian negation of homosexuality was not self-evident at the beginning of Christendom which absorbed the premises of its classical culture. However from the Reformation onwards the degeneracy of the Renaissance revival of classical cultures was critiqued and many of its vital premises questioned, including that of the innate inferiority of woman’s minds. As Jeremy Taylor, a 17th century Anglican bishop, puts it:
[God] gave to man not a friend, but a wife, that is, a friend and a wife too; for a good woman is in her soul the same that a man is, and she is a woman only in her body…
–The Marriage Ring; Or, the Mysteriousness and Duties of Marriage
The idea was that a woman had no less of a “soul” than a man, and as such, was capable of the full range of experiences and friendship which man could have with one another. This development could also be seen in the Anglican Book of common Prayer‘s marriage liturgy, which moved beyond its former Sarum rite. The latter specified only two causes of marriage, to prevent sin and for procreation, the former would add a third, that is, for “mutual society” and help which one ought to have with another. The idea therefore was that woman was as capable of in depth friendship and love with man as man could have with one another.
There is no doubt that the “materialism” of Protestant or Puritan culture also had a role in “de-romanticising” the depth of male experience and made it more down to earth and more in sync with “domestic” female minds.
(Which provokes an interesting question, would the difference between warrior cultures, with a specialised male group dedicated solely to masculine activities, and hunter societies, where the male hunt to contribute to the domestic economy, a female domain, make a difference with regards homosexual tendencies?)
The ironic point however is that the Reformed and Puritan relentless strictures against classical degeneracy and homosexuality has its origins in oddly egalitarian and feminist premises.
I am very pleased to see this blog post which argues for a direct correlation between the Sparta’s lack of homosexual practices and it’s more egalitarian attitude towards woman. This provides some important historical evidence for my claims.