What is heteronormativity? How is it challenged and examined? These issues are discussed at length by examining examples of effeminate men, masculine women, and cases of intersexuality.

What is heteronormativity? How is it challenged and examined?

© SolutionLibrary Inc. solutionlibary.com 9836dcf9d7 https://solutionlibrary.com/gender-studies/sexuality/what-is-heteronormativity-how-is-it-challenged-and-examined-these-issues-are-discussed-at-length-by-examining-examples-of-effeminate-men-masculine-women-and-cases-of-intersexuality-3i8

Solution Preview

...on women as the norm throughout history, therefore denying women the opportunity of loving each other without punishment. She feels that compulsory heterosexuality has caused women to lose their power "to change the social relations of the sexes, to liberate ourselves and each other". It has also reduced the visibility of lesbians in our culture and socialized many people to believe that lesbianism is a form of male hatred. To challenge this, Rich feels that we should consider the idea of a "lesbian continuum" -- that all women exist on a scale from extremely straight to extremely gay, with a gray area in between. As a result, "we can see ourselves as moving in and out of the continuum, whether we identify ourselves as lesbian or not."

This concept directly counters the heteronormative assumptions that Sedgwick discusses (and opposes) in her work. Instead of having all elements of one's sexual identity line up (your sex and gender opposing your preferred partner's), Rich seems to feel that it cannot be that rigid, that the line can be a little squiggly so to speak. Although many women included on the lesbian continuum may not identify as such, her idea that they can move in and out, that it is fluid, makes it possible for us to see that it is not as easy to make assumptions about people as one might think. The lesbian continuum allows for women to constantly place and re-place themselves within it, to identify and re-identify themselves, strongly challenging these notions about assumption within heteronormativity.

Another challenge to heteronormativity can be viewed when examining how people conform to their assigned gender roles. Tomas Almaguer, in his article, "Chicano Men: A Cartography of Homosexual Identity and Behavior", argues in part that within the Chicano culture, male homosexuals will not be punished as severely if they continue to fulfill the masculine role when having sex. Chicanos, unlike within our white culture, categorize people by the sexual acts they perform, differentiate them between "active" and "passive", and stigmatize them accordingly. Chicanos use this differentiation to separate male homosexuals -- those who take the ...