Blog Against Heteronormativity II
Saturday April 22nd 2006, 10:40 am
Filed under: Solidarity
Today we’re blogging against heteronormativity.
Bla(c)kademic defines heteronormativity like so:
heteronormativity is a term that can be used to describe institutions, policies and beliefs that reinforce the rigid categories of male and female. these categories, supposedly, determine our sex, sexuality, sexual desire, gender identity, and gender roles. therefore, there are expected behaviors for males (such as the patriarch of the nuclear family for example), as are there expected behaviors for females (the submissive wife to the patriarch, among other things). but we all know—THAT’S BULLSHIT!
How do you see heteronormativity? How do you touch it? We are, to borrow an old phrase, like fish swimming in an ocean we can’t perceive. From time to time, Bitch|Lab likes to remind us that no one is outside of ideology. The ideas shaping the behavioral and perceptual norms of our society are breathed in and out, flowing around and through us like wraiths.
We can’t see it. Not without long, difficult and often quite painful effort.
How do you see heteronormativity – that is, your subconscious belief that heteronormative forms are ‘natural’ – working within yourself?
There are passive ways. Maybe you’re watching a sitcom, something mindless to distract you from the day and encourage you to buy…everything. The sitcom family consists of the usual configuration, a straight couple with up to two children (or more, if it’s a show about ‘traditional’ themes). You may like the program, or dismiss it as a failure as teevee comedies go. As you watch, there’s a concept on display that you probably accept without any thought: this form, this arrangement of people is not one way of doing things but the way.
The only real way.
Other arrangements – for example, a lesbian couple with children or transgendered people doing anything at all – may, if you’re a ‘liberal’ in the usual way, be acceptable in a special sense, enveloped within the protective zone of tolerance (a sort of cognitive reservation where the ‘natives’ are safely contained), but they’re never considered natural, an expression of simply another human possibility.
This shuffling of people who stray too far off the heteronormative ranch into ‘tolerance’ reservations is something I’m very familiar with because I’ve done it myself; countless times.
You congratulate yourself for your Olympian altruism, your broad-minded acceptance of ‘diversity’. You’re a fantastic person. You deserve the sweetest of cookies and the wettest of kisses. And while tolerance is preferable to gleeful oppression (the fundamentalist approach) or even worse, bloodthirsty destruction of difference (the fascist maneuver) it ironically holds in common with its flaming sword wielding cousins the core idea there are normative humans and…others.
This is the endless battle that must be fought – starting with ourselves (even those of us who think we’re “outside of ideology”) and right onto the streets.
Other blogs participating…
Abigail: damn straight
amber: being amber rhea
ampersand: alas, a blog
ann bartow: feminist law professors
ann bartow: sivaracy.net
aster: no one’s dancing
az: going somewhere
baileyflower: vivre sans temp mort
belledame222: fetch me my axe
blackamazon: having read the fine print
brownfemipower: woman of color blog
chase: taste the world
corinne: midnight bridges
cypress: the soap box
didi: psychotic cocktail
dmfinny: from where i stand
dora: chicken scratch
dr. crazy: reassigned time
dumi: black at michigan
el: my amusement park
emily llyod: poesy galore
fabulosamujer: fabulosa mujer
frobisher: idle worship
fournier: privilege judo
greymatters: lobal warming
harper: the dyke squad
hugo: hugo schwyzer
irrationalpoint: the soapbox
jay sennet: jay sennet jaywalks
kevin andre elliot: slant truth
kwillz: the adventures of a crazy black screenwriter
lake desire: new game plus
le lyons: femivist
liz losh: virtualpolitik
lucy tartan: sorrow at sills bend
lythande: light of the moon
maia: capitalism bad; tree pretty
marith: i am speaking now
mary: putting the “fist” in pacifist
megan: feminazi by night
mili: emily’s journal
natasha yar-routh: an androgynes perspective
100littledolls: one hundred little dolls
outspokenmatrix: independent thinker
paris: romminghouse madrigal
professorGQ: the emancipation of professorGQ
raznor: raznor’s rants–costarring reality based friends
river: life at paradux hill
sage: persephone’s box
skyscraper: queering me
sly civilian: sly civilian
spotted elephant: the bipolar view
steph: quirky knit girl!
stinkylulu: stinkylulu sez
terrance: the republic of t
textaisle: arbusto de mendacity
the amazing kim: the amazing kim
the goldfish: diary of a goldfish
turtlebella: slow but steady
vegankid: words in resistance
verbify: signifying nothing
winter: desperate kingdoms
with my nappy heades ass: reframing productivity
y.t. kholi: too [super dope word] for the masses
zachary sharpe: the law, in its majestic equality
Blog Against Heteronormativity
Thursday April 20th 2006, 5:28 pm
Filed under: Solidarity
Bla(c)k ademic is sponsoring Blog Against Heteronormativity (BAH) Day, Saturday, April 22.
What attracts me to this topic (beyond the obvious appeal of supporting progressives in their multi-flavored activities) is an idea that has been gaining force, for me at least, with each passing year: a thriving human civilization is dependent upon our collective acceptance and understanding of all human possibilities, of, to use a single word, fluidity.
The effort to eliminate non-hetero (or non strictly hetero) variations on our common theme – if only via relentlessly assuming heteronormativity – is a war against our natures. Such struggles are always, of necessity, exceedingly brutal because our possibilities will manifest, one way or the other, making any effort to suppress them a kind of madness.
But more on Saturday, including a tour of the BAH knowledgium.