WOTD: Heteronormative

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I thought that it would be helpful to pick up doing an (occasional) word of the day again. Several people messaged me to let me know that they didn’t know what monogamish meant. It can be difficult when you’re around gender & sexuality vocabulary all day to remember that it’s a very particular language that not everyone speaks.

I firmly believe that you shouldn’t have to know the language to speak your beliefs. I also know that learning the language can help you speak better. (There’s a whole politic in that itself, but I’ll save it for another post on the privilege of education.)

Todays word is heteronormative.

Something that is heteronormative is something that relates back to the idea that heterosexuality is the norm. We live in a heteronormative culture. We view heterosexuality as the standard, the baseline, from which all other sexualities stray.

Heteronormativity is weaved in to everything around us. When we watch a movie and the protagonist is madly in love with someone, chances are that person is of the opposite sex. If your best friend tells you that they’re falling in love, you might be biased to think that the person they are in love with is someone of the opposite sex. If you’re young and beginning dating your family might not consider it odd that you have sleepovers with someone of the same sex because “well, that’s not dangerous!”

The way we interact with people, our behaviors, our language, these things can all be backed in heteronormativity.

We have all kinds of beliefs about people that stem from heteronormativity. Many believe that heteronormativity is at the heart of a sex hierarchy, a hierarchy that puts people who are heterosexual above everyone else, and the strengthening of these norms keeps that hierarchy in place.

Because people are much more vastly different than this clear cut system of “certain people act this way and that’s just what’s normal” being different can create issues with people who have more heteronormative viewpoints. Often times these people hold high positions of power and are quite capable of restricting privileges for people who don’t fit the heteronormative standards.

You can read more about heteronormativity online (and I recommend you do, as my small blurb here barely touches the surface) or in books at your local library.

One Comment Add yours

  1. jr cline says:

    I like the WOTD feature.

    Like

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