It’s funny to read this article – I just finished reading a book called American Nerd, in which there was a section describing why there is such hatred towards the nerd and what Americas reaction towards the nerd was like in the early part of this century. The backlash against the nerd was that nerds in general behaved in a way that was non-traditionally masculine, eschewing things like sports, physicality, grunting (kidding!) – things we think of when we think of JOCK. It was almost as if Nerds were launching an attack on the American male, and so the JOCK and the persecution against nerds started.
The concept of intimacy between men is not always about a sexual nature. There are cases in which men are close to each other and show intimacy by being friends and caring for each other. One can see this still in Korea, where men can be seen holding hands and actually showing emotions. This was the norm apparently in America before the 20th century.
Think of America, pre-Industrial Revolution. People were moving from the farm to the city, losing the supposed masculinity of working on a farm. To many people, this meant that men were become sissies. I guess that showing emotions was okay for men pre-Industrial Revolution since they were also doing hyper masculine things on the farm. However, they lose this identity when they move to the city and become urbanized. The backlash against non-masculine ideals becomes stronger because they are no longer balanced by farm work. Men are discouraged from acting in anyway unmasculine, or else their masculinity will be called into question.
This is getting a bit long winded, but I guess my point is that homophobia is hurtful to everyone. For gay people, it hurts because of the general stigma against homosexuality, leading to gay bashing, suicides, depression, etc. For straight men, it discourages anything that could be construed as homosexual behavior. This doesn’t mean intercourse or even anything remotely sexual. This includes what has been traditionally thought of as feminine ideals – such as showing emotions, physical affection, etc.