Compulsory heterosexuality is the idea that heterosexuality is assumed and enforced by a Adrienne Rich popularized the term compulsory heterosexuality in her essay titled “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”. Rich’s. heterosexuality: political institution that disempowers women. guide to adrienne rich’s article compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. about the. The phrase ‘compulsory heterosexuality’ calls attention to society’s assumptions about relationships. Read about Adrienne Rich’s explanation.

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Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence – Wikipedia

Compulsory Heterosexuality July 18, by emmagunde. Rich’s first concept of compulsory heterosexuality only included women, however, later revisions of the idea have included how compulsory heterosexuality affects men. It almost illustrates a cognitive bias towards heterosexuality that shapes all other modes of being as wrong, simply in order to safeguard heterosexual hegemony.

Rich argues that part of the lesbian experience is an act of resistance: Nov 17, Marnie rated it it was amazing. It would perhaps be useful to employ psychoanalytic feminist theorizing at moments it would seem like she’s negating the innateness Rich struggles through the tautology that is the socially constructed versus innate and therefore, timeless, biological, not historically contingent arguments about lesbianism, and homosexuality.

The continuum is where the lines blur under the patriarchy? These are furthermore to Rich, obviously formative elements in the creation of compulsory heterosexuality to the point that it is accepted by both men and women in modern Western society as ccompulsory given. It is a huge disservice to lesbians cojpulsory view non-lesbian women as one hrterosexuality us because 1 lesbians are heterosexuailty made to give up important words and language to describe ourselves and our experiences, 2 we rob ourselves of a cohesive lesbian community based on our shared sexuality exclusive attraction to womenand 3 non-lesbian women contribute to the oppression of lesbians and non-lesbians appropriating our identity further invisibilises and marginalises us.

Not being straight is something you have to make a statement of. Firstly, one must take note that the surrounding contexts cause this to be to some degree a reactionary text, following and taking up arms against essentialist second-wave feminism.

Furthermore, the female learns, from the denial or her sexual agency by maternal, authoritative, and peer figures, that her role in this created sexual binary is simply to submit to males and surrender satisfaction as a male-only prerogative. Rich claims that women may not have a preference toward heterosexuality, but may find it imposed, managed, organized, propagandizedand maintained by society. Furthermore, Rich explains that if heterosexuality is the natural way, as it was constructed over time, then women like in her examples would and were seen as deviants of society.


She isn’t dismissing lesbian identity– I believe she’s including women who choose each other, sexually or not, under the patriarchy as a “continuum”, and “existence” as identity. Conceptualizing Female Adolescent Sexuality Development Within Compulsory Heterosexuality “, Tolman uses the term hegemonic masculinity to describe the set of norms and behaviors that dominate the social development of males.

Jun 18, Polytimi rated it really liked it Shelves: The implications of compulsory heterosexuality as an institution have since been heavily analysed by feminist and queer theorists such as Judith Butler, Donna Haraway and Bonnie 9 Ibid. Pornography does not simply create a climate in which sex and violence are interchangeable; it widens the range of behavior considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse-behavior which reiteratively strips women of their autonomy, dignity, and sexual potential, including the potential of loving and being loved by women in mutuality and integrity.

Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archived from the original on February 13, Also, Rich views lesbian identification as being on a continuum. She calls for what she describes as a greater understanding of lesbian experience, and believes that once such an understanding is obtained, these boundaries will be widened and women will be able to experience the ” erotic ” in female terms.

In other words, heterosexuality has been constructed by men historically and culturally to be the only way of existence to further the male need. Consistent male control of female relationships and desires, through male-helmed media, advertising, and entertainment exists, she continues, to assuage a male fear: Oct 14, Lesliemae rated it it was ok Recommends it for: I’d like to give credence to her mention of the breastfeeding mother and moments at which female friendship is indeed, romantic, because it offers a space to do a reading-between-the-lines of one’s own relations and also advances the notion that women-loving is not confined to the realm of sexuality or even what’s expected or understood to be sexual By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.

Another issue is that it’s obviously outdated and exclusive of the experiences of bisexual and trans women.

Kathleen Debold, in her book Dilemmas of desire: Rich claims that once women see lesbian existence as more than mere sexuality, it is more likely that more forms comoulsory “primary intensity” between and among women will be embraced. This is the book that got me kicked out of graduate school. Teachings and Taboos in the History of World Faiths. I love reading Adrienne Rich’s literary criticism and feminist theory because her talent as a poet infuses her non-poetic writing.

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A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. This binarisation of sex as a masculine desire and dependence as a feminine is encouraged even today, as respectively male and female approaches to a romantic relationship. Women raising healthy heterosexality and bonding with other women are noble goals that I support wholeheartedly but they are not lesbian acts. However, the work of others has heterosexaulity to revive the basic argument that Rich puts forth.

It ties a sexual orientation ‘s worth with reproduction. Jul 01, Sarah rated it it was amazing Shelves: Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Heteorsexuality see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Mar 21, Stephanie Kelley rated it it was amazing. Rich asserts that compulsory heterosexuality is not innate or natural or a “choice”, but rather a political institution that serves to maintain gender inequalities and misogynistic social constructs.

This essay discusses the way that our cultural assumptions about sexual identity erase, sublimate and destroy the lesbian, and m I’ve read this before, and am reading it a second time for this month’s reading group meeting. Aug 19, Aline Job rated it it was amazing.

This is a thing that happensby the way.

University of Chicago Press,pp. This is an uploaded copy of the essay. There is nothing lesbian about a heterosexual mother breastfeeding her baby, and that suggestion is more than a little creepy and gross; nor fich women preparing a dead woman’s body for a funeral participating in an act of lesbian solidarity.

Compulsory heterosexuality

While the concept of compulsory heterosexuality initially only included women, later revisions of the idea have included discussion on how Compulsory Heterosexuality necessarily requires both men and women to reinforce the construct; furthermore, that compulsory heterosexuality impacts males as well. Journal of Women’s History. Quotes from Compulsory Hetero