Compulsory Heteronormativity

Topics: Gender, Homosexuality, Sexual orientation Pages: 12 (4212 words) Published: July 31, 2005
Compulsory Heterosexuality


In today's world, as humankind is still in progress, we have a much more liberated world compared to past. In terms of politics, we learned discrimination is not a honourable case to be involved in and we tried to minimize constraints reflected on "other" races, "other" nationalities, in short all of the others that are not similar to "us". "Us" is, without doubt, white, Western man. Despite all the back-drawed prejudices of others in the name of liberation, respect and equality, it does not seem to be the situation for non-heteronormatives to live in a peaceful environment. Since I came to Amsterdam as an exchange student this term, I had the opportunity to experience daily-life with all the people from different sexes, genders not considered "normal" which is rarely the case in Turkey. Amsterdam made me face non-heterosexual world and I realized that these people do suffer from unequal rights mostly in other parts of the world. I questioned myself as being far away from that topic in the past and it really made sense to me to investigate about supremacy of heterosexuals.

In my opinion, only after we learn to respect all kinds of differences out of majority we are able to have liberal minds, which makes the world a better place to live for all people. That is the reason I decided to write my paper on compulsory heterosexuality. To come to main idea, my argument will be dominantly on heteronormativity. I will try to prove that both heteronormativity and gender are social constructs, which means that they are all learned behaviours by society through culture, tradition and religion. I will show a world where any norms and taboos exist, to turn our origins of nature. I will support my argument by the works of writers and researchers on that topic. My whole effort will be on to claim that there is nothing called heteronormativity by nature, it can not be. We can not rule out the genes and instinct behaviour of people. It is just a coverage, to live in a reproductive and moral society. My final idea would be to accept all forms of non-heterosexuality as being "normal" , just like heterosexuality, by ignoring all social constructs to open our mind to a brighter world.

There is quite extensive research on studies of lesbians and gays and the compulsory heteronormativity. One major researcher is Adrienne Rich. She studied exactly what I tried to do in my own paper, the compulsory heterosexuality. Her argument starts with the normality of lesbian sexualism. She points out that, men have some methods to have power on women that maintain their control, otherwise, like lesbians do, women would not be drawn to men. They would attach to other women as sexual partners also, which she sees as more natural because it is the same bound between mother-daughter that continues with another female partner. She claims the reason why women need children is the fact that their male partners are not enough emotional,satisfying and caregiving for them, so they make children to built up stronger bounds. According to Rich, heterosexuality should be studied as a political institution, including power relations in terms of economics and human relations. On the other hand, in compulsory heterosexuality, girls in their adolescent stages are bombarded with men superiority, helping them to ignore female bodies around them. Just like gender, heterosexuality is a learned behaviour in the light of Rich's study.

One other researcher on the area is Risman, who concentrated mostly on gender. We see the parallel lines in her and Rich's article that, women have always been the underestimated ones both in society in public and in private sphere. The argument goes on the same line as heterosexuality as a learned behaviour. I took her gender article as the central work while discussing about gender inequalities. Like Rich, she insisted on repeating the constructed men dominated world. She also has...

Bibliography: • Fausto-Sterling, Anne. 2000.Sexing the Body. Gender Politics and The Construction of Sexuality. Basic Books;NY.
• Muller, Carol M. 1998. The Politics of the Gender Gap.Vol 12. Sage Publications
• Murolo, Priscilla
• Rich Adrienne. 1980. Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existance. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 5 (4): 631-60.
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