There's no doubt those are stereotypes that need unpacking. Sociologists have long noted that homophobia is a fundamental ingredient of masculinity in modern American culture. In his seminal 1994 article "Masculinity as Homophobia," sociologist Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, argued that "homophobia is a central organizing principle of our cultural definition of manhood." Since homosexuality is associated with femininity, feminizing and anti-gay comments are the primary mechanism for enforcing the boundaries of masculinity. If a guy steps ever so slightly outside of gender norms, his peers will bring him back into line by calling his heterosexuality into question (which implicitly challenges his gender). The pressure to prove and re-prove hetereosexuality is part of what it means to "be a man"—and it pushes men to embrace both homophobia and hypermasculinity. "Homophobia, the fear of being perceived as gay, as not a real man, keeps men exaggerating all the traditional rules of masculinity, including sexual predation with women," Kimmel wrote. "Homophobia and sexism go hand-in-hand."
Homophobia, then, is not simply social disapproval and discrimination against gay people, but an entire cultural structure that disqualifying all but the "most virulent repudiators of femininity" from "real manhood"—in the process upholding gender inequality and maintaining a hierarchy of men based on sexuality, race, class, ability, and so on.My only argument with this is that I don't think the connection between homophobia and misogyny is all that particularly American. I look at anti-gay violence in Eastern Europe and the very large role that both misogyny and homophobia play in religious fundamentalist movements of all faiths around the world, and how these attitudes play a central role in anti-imperial resentments in Africa and the Middle East, and I conclude that this unholy alliance between fag-baiting and chick hating is universally male. "Being a Man" around the world depends on how far a man can distance himself from women and from all things identified as feminine. And what better way to distance himself than by despising those things extravagantly and hating them violently?
Dusenbery is very skeptical that the new spate of athletes coming out will change the masculine supreme over feminine norm that has always ruled the world (though not without challenge). In fact, she argues, it might even make things worse for men who are not gender conforming, gay or straight.
In my experience, "masculine" and "feminine" are very maleable roles for gay men that change depending on desire and circumstance. I don't think of myself as exclusively one or the other. I've always been comfortable going back and forth between them (in younger days I wore steel toed boots and a leather jacket to go out cruising; and at parties or in the break-room, I happily dropped hairpins and dished with gay friends, and even a few straight ones, male and female). I doubt my experiences are particularly unique. I've known men who inhabit feminine or masculine roles exclusively, but most shift from one to the other depending on circumstances.
As for the conventional perception of "toughness," the femmy boys in my experience were always far and away the toughest and the bravest. They may have been sweet as honeysuckle, but those vines had steel trellises supporting them. Not only were they toughest about standing up for themselves, but also had the fewest illusions about their situation and about just who was responsible for making life so hard for them and why. It was the guys who wanted to be seen as "straight-acting" who always had the most issues, and clung most tenaciously to illusions about being accepted if they could "pass." I think it was Michael Musto (or maybe it was Richard Goldstein) who once asked rhetorically, would we really want a boyfriend to be "straight-acting" between the sheets?
Male and female may be matters of biology (though not the binary that we usually assume), but masculine and feminine are cultural constructs, and as such are much more maleable than social convention allows us to believe.
Two self portraits by Robert Mapplethorpe: