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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Help Center Find new research papers in: People who question their sexuality are accused of being compulsory heterosexual. Yet, if we forget about this ideology and experiment in order to see what one really needs, then it can truly be a woman’s decision instead of a man’s.

Teenage girls talk about sexualityargues that lesbian erasure can be a health care issue. It is not about politics and it is not about platonic and familial female relationships. Barry argues that this rationale is romanticized through popular media.

You might meet the right guy. This offers a basic understanding of what lesbians are subject to in a patriarchy. Gender, heteeosexuality and heterosexuality: However, this denial Rich feels strongly contributed to the mainstream erasure of the existence and acceptability of lesbian identity; suggesting an interlinked, innate undesirability.

Journal of Social Issues. At certain points in history, homosexual men and lesbians have shared a social existence, and acknowledged a common fight against society; compulsor Rich writes that to treat the lesbian experience as a version of male homosexuality is to discard it, denying the female experience and the realities it brings, falsifying lesbian history. Views Read Edit View history. Mar 20, Rayna rated it it was wdrienne Shelves: Reblogged this on fauxmosexuals — it’s not just for gays anymore!

Compulsory heterosexuality – Wikipedia

Retrieved from ” https: Books by Adrienne Rich. Udora Richardon points out that, “Any divergences from the social norms of marriage, domesticity, and the nuclear family have brought serious accusations of savagery, pathology, and deviance upon Black people. 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.

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The lesbian continuum is the overall “range—through each woman’s life and throughout history—of woman-identified experiences, not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman”. There’s also a problematic bit in there about gay men, but I think the point of that was to reiterate that the lesbian experience is entirely different from theirs, so it shouldn’t be lumped together as it frequently has.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

Furthermore, Rich re-appropriates her compuosory and describes her initial intent for writing the essay. A major drive for compulsory heterosexuality is that of evolution. To ask other readers questions about Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existenceplease sign up. A feminist critique of compulsory heterosexual orientation for women is long overdue. On a more radical note, Rich describes the possibility that all women exist on a lesbian continuum, and we see each other moving in and out of this space throughout the lives of women.

Compulsory heterosexuality

Refresh and try again. I mean the term lesbian continuum to include a range–through each woman’s life and throughout history–of woman-identified experience; not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman.

It is not that I disagree with this opinion, but Rich seems to co A very interesting reading, although I find some parts relatively narrow-minded- she uses strong arguments to support her views, but sometimes she goes too far, xdrienne overwhelmed by her own sexuality.

However this seems fallacious due to majority opinion — if there are assortments of ways to desire that are not-heterosexual; it seems strange that heterosexuality alone is held up as the ideal and everything else as wrong or mistaken. These self-identifying female liberators feared to question the boundaries around their own heterosexhality, so convincing was created the menace of the lesbian Other.


Rich herself cites an earlier source for the term, a European feminist project Intl Tribunal on Crimes against Women. In Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existenceshe begins by criticising the works of heterosexual writers who made the assumption in their writings that all women are innately heterosexual, or ignored or dismissed the existence and validity of lesbian relationships.

This pre-civilised idea of physical dominance nevertheless forms a Foucaultian power-threat to which women learn from a young age and from the experiences of their mothers and grandmothers to submit.

Additionally, Rich criticizes feminist scholarship for its exclusion of lesbian as a genuine, natural option for women. It ties a sexual orientation ‘s worth with reproduction. I really liked Rich’s perspective on the oppresion of women through compulsory heterosexuality.

Compulsory Heterosexuality | A Feminist Theory Dictionary

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 compulsorry sexual Only then, will it be possible for a woman to truly decide if heterosexuality is the right thing for her.

However, the work of others has attempted to revive the basic argument that Rich puts forth. Nov 13, Ruth Marner rated it it was amazing.

Hegemonic masculinity is normative, or An ideal standard or model.