You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Heteronormativity’ tag.

Talk about unintended veracity.

Talk about unintended veracity.


Fascinating don’t you think?

Consider the neat way this dovetails into how relationships in our society are structured and the expectations placed upon those who are male and those who are female.

Pro-tip:  The deformed cup or one that isn’t complete without the other is where you should start your discussion blaming. :)




This clip is about the acceptance of same sex couples making out in public spaces.  Why is it okay for hetero couples to mash face, but not when of the same sex. Gauge your reactions and how you feel about the situations presented.  Examine your feelings and ask where do they come from, and are they based on rationality or just what someone told you was OK and what was NOT OK.  Question those assumptions as authority has a nasty habit of being wrong.

The clip ends with a similar situation only this time the same sex couple is female.  Do you think the reaction will be the same?  If I can find the clip we’ll watch and see, but I can already guess the result.  It is much more OK for two women to be making out because women as members of the sex class, happen to be doing sexy things appeals to patriarchal norms in society and thus is far more acceptable then two men (clearly violating patriarchal norms) engaged in the same activity.

So, when you hear people talking about sexism and patriarchy and feminism do not rationalize it away as “some topic that does not apply to you” or “those battles were won years ago.”  The struggle for a genuinely decent society is still ongoing and could always use more people who are aware of the problems and their privilege and most importantly how they can make a positive difference.


I’ve researched a little into the topic of Heteronormativity in our culture.  It is a big word, but really it just means the structural framework of how we view women and men in our culture and the roles and expectations we define as normal and how these roles should be performed.  All fine and dandy right?  In reality, not so much.  It does not take much to transform gender roles into gender stereotypes and beginning the process of ordering people into their “proper” gender identities based on their actions and appearance.

Being an outlier on the hetronormative scale invites a variety of negative responses ranging from quizzical looks and questions all the way to profane gendered slurs.   Concepts like heteronormativity and Patriarchy, if you are part of the dominant majority, are sometimes very hard to see or even conceptualize.  It is only until you breach a perceived norm (as a member of the privileged class, if you’re in the underclass you get oppressed by default 24/7) do things start to go sideways.  I came to this little discovery point about twenty some years ago for something as basic as choice of adornment.


The cause of some controversy? :>

Having worn a gold rings on my index toes for some twenty years now let me assure you that I have received compliments all the way to outright hostility for a simple choice of jewelry.  One of the most common responses I get is “Hey, aren’t toe rings for girls?”  to which I usually reply to my (almost always) male questioner, “Hey aren’t earrings for girls?”. Which usually makes them stop and think for a bit as the realization that the cultural validity of gendered practices is not static, but rather quite fluid in nature.   Okay, well I hope they realize this, but most of the time they, just repeat their first comment again (they having just passed a heteronormative judgment), to which I reply, “I think they look cool, and thanks for asking,” and politely steer the conversation elsewhere.

Less judicious or enlightened  individuals have often questioned my sexuality dropping the familiar hetro-bomb, “Are you gay?” with the word gay dripping with scorn and derision.  Does wearing toe rings make you gay?  It has not worked yet, and I would not be particularly worried if it did because like most decisions of this nature, first and foremost it is my choice.  And I choose the gendered slurs and disapprobation  from various sources because when it comes down to it, it is their problem, not mine.  I can come to this conclusion precisely because I am a member of the dominant class and still retain enough of my privilege so that my outlier choices do not negatively effect my social status much over all.

Still think that patriarchy and privilege are not integral parts of our society?  Push your “normal” gender role a bit just to see, as an experiment,  how closely heteronormative norms are enforced, I dare ya.  :)

  Men are not supposed to do nail polish either.  I say bollocks to heternomativity. :)

Men are not supposed to do nail polish either. I say bollocks to heternomativity. :)

Just in case you forgot how to be normal the wonderful people at have put together this little gem.  If you have not book marked Sociological Images, I suggest you do so now.

“So, the advice, as I mentioned, is all about trying to hide the shape of her actual body and make it appear to be more hourglass. To “transform it into an hourglass,” they say:

slim your hips and thighs”
“draw attention to the upper part of your body”
balance your figure” with shoulder pads
“a roomy top will de-emphasize your bottom”
offset your hips”
“avoid side pockets, they add bulk where you least need it”

I wonder what it would be like to live in a world where the fashion industry encouraged us to “emphasize” our differences from one another, instead of trying to make us all look the same. If you were pear-shaped, for example, the advice would be all about highlighting that awesome booty and tiny waist and shoulders. Work that pear-shape!”

Work that pear shape indeed!  This video and others (there is a whole list of how to perform to gendered expectations) like it are endemic of the hoops we jump through trying to perform gender roles and societal expectations.

This area is not my forte, but it is Intransigentia’s.   I’m sure  she will have something to add to this little piece of hetronormative wisdom.

As I was assiduously avoiding planning my lessons for my upcoming classes, I happened to redirect myself to this list from the Blog Mistress Mom.

It is a simple post really, just a list of reasons as to why her son is wearing pink.  I stopped at this particular point:

“Because even if pink is for girls, what’s wrong with being (like) a girl?”

What a brilliant question.  What brilliantly loaded question!

Just what exactly is wrong with being like a girl?  I mean, women represent more than half of our population and are prominent role models in the majority of our lives (for better or worse).

So what is wrong with being like a girl?

When I deal with problems I rely on my critical thinking skills and rationality; they are the first responders to the majority of situations.  Even when I need to produce a response with a emotional basis there is that precursor thought of ‘oh…this requires my emotional intelligence…lets spin up the empathy/feelings centers and put them to work’…(I realize this is quite “meta” and is certainly not 100% accurate, but necessary for where I am going.)  So my first response to this question was of course what I’ve learned of feminist/gender theory:

The hetronormative values of our Patriarchal society implicitly and explicitly diminish, dismiss and marginalize females and the idea of femininity. The assumption:  To be female or associated with femininity is to be inferior.

This underling assumption is appallingly prevalent in our society, it permeates every facet, every interaction, every assumption we base our reality on.

What this question did was prompt one of those delicious “Ah-Ha!” moments when a deeper understanding of a theory or notion finally sinks in.  Where does rape culture come from?  How can women still be oppressed when they have, in theory, equal rights?  Why are the standards we live by so permeated by hetronormative values?

“To be female or associated with femininity is to be inferior.”

I am usually quite a fan of gaining knowledge and expanding my horizons and what not, but sometimes I wish I could claim the protection of ignorance, to shield myself from the profound sense of injustice and sadness that accompany such melancholy revelations.

Studying history brings similar moments; for instance discovering that we in the West are not the ‘good guys’ and more often than not are just as ruthless and inhumane as our official ‘evil’ enemies.  What is worse (of course it gets worse) is that most of the people refuse to accept their unhappy role in this oppressive, exploitive, blood-drenched narrative we as a race have written.  It is the same with the patriarchal nature of our culture, people refuse to see the superstructure because they have internalized the values the patriarchal structure presents.  They are not defending “oppression” they are defending what is “right”.  And what is “right” is rape culture and the oppression of half the human species…how dare you challenge those assumptions?

I challenge those patriarchal assumptions because they are fundamentally unjust and irrational.  By default that makes my opinion an outlier…*sigh*… but given my political and historical views of history, this is nothing new under the sun.

All I can say now is thanks for the “Ah-Ha” moment Mistress Mom, I owe you one.

Michal Coren gets it wrong even at the best of times.  I can always count on the Sun Newspaper to annoy me enough to blog about the inanity that fills its pages.

I really want to agree at least once with Coren before I die and with the opening sentence of his article I though today would be the day.

“These are sad days for the American right.” intones Coren.

My eyebrow twitched, would this be the day?  Naa… It would be easier to smash an atom with my shoe then agree with Mr.Coren.  Case in point –  next sentence (italics mine):

“The Republicans have no credible leader, Rush Limbaugh has conquered the art of perennial outrage and the men in smart suits and women in shrinking skirts at Fox try to outdo each other in their use of hyperbole.”

Very nice ass-hat.  ‘Smart’ men and sexualized women.  Isn’t institutionalized misogyny great?

“The tragedy is that all this comes at a time when we have one of the most worrying presidents in American history. Then, just as we think it can’t get any worse, comes the dream ticket of Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean, both former beauty queens and both proving that jokes about beauty queens are somewhat justified.”

Ah, yes.  Beauty queens are always stupid.  Check.  Throwing a “somewhat justified” does not fix the message.  Just like after punching someone in the face then saying ‘sorry’ does not mitigate the initial transgression.

“Actually she is an ordinary, nice woman blessed with beauty, a devoted husband and a good family. It really should end with that. But no.”

Bra-vo! She should be constantly pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen too.   Sex class! Back to the galley with you and make me a sam’ich bitch.

“Palin wants power and is willing to close her eyes to the facts as she marches forward in glorious denial. Perhaps most chilling is how so many conservatives refuse to accept the obvious and twist into awful shapes trying to justify the woman’s failings.”

The ‘facts’: You are a woman and should never ever aspire to power.  The public sphere is not your domain and how dare you even contemplate running for the highest office in the land.  How could the Right even think of backing a female candidate?  Patriarchally speaking, we have not gotten past the  archetypal feminine “built in” flaws!  The horror.

“Her daughter Bristol’s pregnancy,[…] Yet, where was your relationship with your daughter, one that would have indicated to you in numerous ways that the girl was hiding and doing something that was wrong?”

Because mother daughter relationships are always open and communicative, if only you’d just play your role and tend to the children.  I guess Mr.Palin does not get the whole ‘girl’ thing and could not spend the extra time strengthening his role and bond with her daughter, his culpability is never questioned, while hers is immediately put front and center.

Awesome.  Could this patriarchal values 101 lesson get any worse?  Of course it does, the ass hattery kicks into overdrive as Coren trashes Carrie Prejean.  What follows is his cogent response against her arguments(insipid as they my be).  Hmmm…calculating the possibility my previous sentence being true…err… did I mention the smashing atom thing with my shoe… ?

“Carrie Prejean is an even more frightening example of right-wing hypocrisy. Her now famous defence of genuine marriage — only between a man and a woman [Wow, parroting the hetronormative standard. You go girl!]. […]  she has posed almost-naked for photographs and that she made at least one graphic sex tape for a former boyfriend. We’re also supposed to believe that her recent relationships with young athletes have all been entirely celibate.”

What?!  Pose nekkid for pictures?  How dare you, whore!  You are a public figure and you go off parading your sluty-slut-slut-lifestyle for all to see?  No, no.  You keep your sexuality ensconced  in terms of patriarchal expectations or it will be a extra slut-shaming lightning round for the likes of you, after-all it isn’t your sex life for heavens sake.

What she does on her own time is her business, but a moral position demands consistency and so should the response of social conservatives. This woman has even less right to speak for the American right than does Sarah Palin. And that, I’m afraid, is something I thought I’d never say.”

If only the italicized phrase applied to women…

So the calculus is in.  If you have taken nekkid photos of yourself, and/or had sex with more than one partner (outside of marraige…ohhh the vapours take me now) as a woman that is an automatic disqualification from being in the ‘moral’ category.

The burning nuclear stupid burns!  No Mr.Coren the morality of women is not intrinsically tied to their ranking in the Sex class.  Women are autonomous beings capable of thinking outside of their imposed gender roles.

You should try it sometime.

I do not endorse what Mrs.Palin or Ms.Prejean represent, it is social conservatism of the most repugnant variety.  Would it be too much to ask that we tackle their arguments as opposed to their gender?

feminism It is a cross-posting extravaganza. (Many thanks Intransigentia)  But no, really, if you ever need to explain to your friends about Patriarchy or white male privilege or hetronormativitiy or any of the diverse topics along those lines, these two posts are not bad places to start.

The first is a post from Shakesville.  It is long for a blog post but well worth the read.  Check out the article here.

The second is a post from the Pursuit of Harpyness, it is a personal anecdote, but a good look into the hetronormative standards which pervade our society.  The comment section is also quite informative for this article.  Find it here.

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