Heteronormativity and Heterosexism (Blog 5)
When we did the ice-breaker interruption game last week, it got me thinking about different ways that heterosexism imposes itself upon our lives, whether by culture or by comments of other people, it is something that we will seemingly never be able to escape. I have been thinking about this specifically in regards to my participation in rugby through high school and on the team here at the U. One stereotype about women rugby players is that we're all lesbians. Through this assumption, I think that I have experienced a different form of heterosexism. I personally identify as heterosexual, but many of the women on the team are bisexual or lesbian as well. One thing that I have experienced going out with them is a desire of men to "turn the lesbians straight," as if their sexual orientation is something that can be manipulated by hyper-masculine, egotistical men. I have a hard time understanding their logic, and sometimes wonder if they are trying to be funny. Either way, I think it is inappropriate and degrading to the women who are lesbians, as if their sexuality is not heteronormative, and therefore not acceptable.
Another experience I have had from my years of playing rugby is the assumption that I am a lesbian. I actually had a guy say to me once that I am too pretty to be playing rugby, only ugly lesbians play rugby. I have also had guys who do not want to hang out with me and some of my rugby girls because they assume we are all lesbians, so why should they waste their time? These assumptions and stereotypes drive me crazy. Who cares about sexual orientation when you are just hanging out? I love all the women on my rugby team regardless of who they choose to date; why do all women have to be potential sex partners to be interesting? The heterosexism in these comments and actions are overwhelming and frustrating. If we can work towards something like Patricia Hill Collins's new gender ideology, maybe we can move beyond this negative attitude surrounding non-normative sexualities.