Day Eight: February 14



  • Make sure to check out the assignment page, with a complete list of due dates
  • We will be discussing privilege and oppression during Wednesday's class. 

Two main topics for today:

  1. What are Heteronormativity and thinking straight?
  2. The Trouble with Valentine's Day
HETERONORMATIVITY: some definitions

from "Normativity":
  • institutions, structures, and practices that help normalize dominant forms of heterosexuality as universal and morally righteous 
  • govt. restrictions on marriage, romantic plots of TV shows, movies, novels
  • creates society where some are included and some are not, where some bodies matter and some don't
  • normative regulation extends to race, class,religion, ethnicity, nation
from Ingraham, "Straight Thinking":

heterosexuality involved in organization of labor (who does what jobs) and distribution of wealth (1). 

Constructed notions of sexual behavior and sexual identity have become primary organizing categories for many key aspects of social life including but not limited to marriage, family, politics, religion, work, and education (2). 

SEX SELLS! Sexuality or sex issues serve as the currency through which a host of exchange relations and social priorities are established. 

social, historical and material conditions that institutionalize heterosexuality (4). 

Screen shot 2011-02-13 at 10.26.32 PM.png

from Ingraham: "Heterosexuality":

How do we give meaning to (hetero)sexuality? How have we organized it? The question then becomes not whether heterosexuality is natural, and therefore 'normal', but, rather how do cultural meaning systems work to normalize and institutionalize heterosexuality? And, more importantly, what interests are served by these processes? In other words, who benefits from the ways we've named, defined, and organized sexuality (74)?

All people are required to situate themselves in relation to marriage or heterosexuality, including those who regardless of sexual (or asexual) affiliation do not consider themselves 'single,' heterosexual, or who do not participate in normative heterosexuality and its structures (76).

Thinking of heterosexuality as natural, normal and private (as in, none of anyone else's business), "keeps us from seeing and dealing with issues of marital rape, domestic violence, pay inequalities, racism, gay bashing, and sexual harassment (77). 

Heterosexuality is just not natural! It is socially organized and controlled. To understand how we give meaning to one of our major institutions is to participate as a critical consumer and citizen actively engaged in the production of cultural and the social order (81). 


from Ingraham and "Thinking Straight"
  • understanding heterosexuality as naturally and not organized, socially constructed, learned
  • believing the world is only/always ever been heterosexual
  • confuse institutionalized heterosexuality with something that is naturally occurring
  • believing heterosexuality is universal, existing the same all over the world, as well as among non-human animals
  • embracing sense of entitlement--social and economic--just by virtue of participating in married heterosexual life privilege
  • investing in power of heterosexuality without examining/addressing its paradoxes and problems (4)

Any examples that you can think of, especially in terms of Valentine's Day? Get in groups of 2-3 and take about 10 minutes to think about this concept in relation to Valentine's Day. Talk about the examples that you brought in. 

Leave a comment

Recent Entries

Extra Credit for Final Presentation
Barbie and Ken I found this presentation to be quiet interesting and surprising at the same time. I didn't realize…
Presentation: Fitness Products
Here's a link to my presentation for the final on fitness products. Cool!…
Extra Credit: Dr.Somerville Speech
Dr.Somerville gave her speech on "Queering like a state: Naturalized Citizenship and US Empire." I think her speech relates back…