Gynophobia (also spelled as "gynephobia") is an abnormal fear of
women. In the past, the Latin term was used, "horror feminae", literally meaning "fear of women". [Raymond Joseph Corsini (1999) "The Dictionary of Psychology", ISBN 158391028X, [http://books.google.com/books?id=cB5UOSsIN74C&pg=PA452&lpg=PA452&dq=%22horror+feminae%22&source=web&ots=h67xmMg_vC&sig=Rw7to8rctM7mo80092WoahoHhcU p. 452] ]
The word caligynephobia is also coined to mean the fear of "beautiful" women. For the latter one the expression "venustraphobia" is also used ["Venus trap phobia"] .
It should not be confused with
misogyny, which is dislike of or prejudice against women, although the term may be seen used in this meaning as well.
Gynophobia used to be considered a driving force toward
homosexuality. Havelock Ellisin his 1896 "Studies in the Psychology of Sex" wrote:
It is, perhaps, not difficult to account for the horror - much stronger than that normally felt toward a person of the same sex - with which the invert often regards the
sexual organsof persons of the opposite sex. It cannot be said that the sexual organs of either sex under the influence of sexual excitementare esthetically pleasing; they only become emotionally desirable through the parallel excitement of the beholder. When the absence of parallel excitement is accompanied in the beholder by the sense of unfamiliarity as in childhood, or by a neurotic hypersensitiveness, the conditions are present for the production of intense "horror feminae" or " horror masculis", as the case may be. It is possible that, as Otto Rankargues in his interesting study, "Die Naktheit im Sage und Dichtung," [sic] this horror of the sexual organs of the opposite sex, to some extent felt even by normal people, is embodied in the Melusinetype of legend. [ [http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/e#a2654 Works of Havelock Ellis] at Project Gutenberg] Wilhelm Stekelin his book "Sadism and Masochism: The Psychology of Hatred and Cruelty" discusses "horror feminae" of a male masochist.
Some authors consider the myths about
Amazons( Eva Keulsargues that violent amazons are the evidence of gynophobia in Classical Athens. [Eva C. Keuls, "The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens", ISBN 0520079299, [http://books.google.com/books?id=Fke7pcstmv0C&pg=PA322&dq=%22gynophobia+is%22&sig=IR1HBPbbI65ejYYwtuwcMNPLyQc p. 332] ] ) and medieval witch hunts to be manifestations of gynophobia in human culture.
Both misogyny and gynophobia, as well as oppression and discrimination of women, have at times been present in the practices of the monotheistic religions of
Christianity, Judaismand Islam. [Serinity Young (1999) "Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion"ISBN 0028646088, p. 360.]
Androphobiafear of men
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