Institutionalized Oppression

Topics: Homosexuality, Gender role, Heterosexuality Pages: 3 (1034 words) Published: June 10, 2010
Institutionalized Oppression
The dominant paradigm for gender relations in the United States has always been one of a heterosexual standpoint. “Measured against other Western democracies at the dawn of the twentieth century, the American state – slow to develop, small in size, and limited in capability – stood out as distinctive” (Canaday 1). Since the beginning of its establishment, the United States has taken a strong stance against homosexuality. One of the United States’ most evident characteristics that set it apart from other cultures was its harsh punishment on homosexual relationships. The harsh laws and regulations against homosexuals have not only continued to perpetuate the idea of a strictly heteronormative society, but our social construct continues to oppress any relationship that deviates from the norm. As a result of implementing a patriarchal society, the roles that men and women play in life have been clearly defined by society. Although, America believes that we are a nation of equality and acceptance, we are in reality the exact opposite. Not only do major gender inequalities still exist, but society continues to be just as prejudice and discriminatory. With the establishment of the nuclear family, consisting of a heterosexual couple and children, the mentality that heterosexuality is the ideal standard has stayed the same. There have been many criticisms on compulsory heterosexuality and the idea that heterosexuality is the only real natural relationship. In the article, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” by Adrienne Rich, she states that, “heterosexuality, like motherhood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution” (Rich 637). She argues that heterosexuality is politically institutionalized because it has been strategically and deliberately carried out by laws and regulations that restrains women and represses homosexuality. Society believes it has become more accepting, with...

Cited: Canaday, Margot. The Straight State. Princeton University Press, 2009.
Rich, Adrienne. "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence." Signs: Jounal of Women in Culture and Society 4th ser. 5 (1980). Web.
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