Gynophobia (from Greek γυνή - gunē, "woman" and φόβος - phobos, "fear", also spelled as gynephobia) is an abnormal fear of women. In the past, the Latin term was used, horror feminae, meaning "fear of women".
The word caligynephobia is also coined to mean the fear of beautiful women. For the latter one, the expression venustraphobia is also used. In many cases, it may also be rooted in social phobia or social anxiety disorder.
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 organs of persons of the opposite sex. It cannot be said that the sexual organs of either sex under the influence of sexual excitement are 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 Rank argues in his interesting study, "Die Nacktheit in 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 Melusine type of legend.
Some authors consider medieval witch-hunts and the myths about Amazons and to be manifestations of gynophobia in human culture. For example, Eva Keuls argues that violent Amazons are the evidence of gynophobia in Classical Athens.[not in citation given]
- γυνή, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- φόβος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
- Raymond Joseph Corsini (1999) "The Dictionary of Psychology", ISBN 1-58391-028-X, p. 452
- "Monk Phobia Dictionary". NBC Universal. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
- Venus trap phobia
- Works of Havelock Ellis at Project Gutenberg
- Eva C. Keuls, "The Reign of the Phallus: Sexual Politics in Ancient Athens", ISBN 0-520-07929-9, p. 332