How Many Ways Can we be ‘Normative’?
To begin this discussion, I propose a quote: “I don’t set out to offend or shock, but I also don’t do anything to avoid it.” –Sarah Silverman
As American University is a magnet of gay students, gay-themed issues significantly dominate campus politics. One word in particular I hear being thrown around always leaves a bad taste in my mouth: heteronormative. I had never heard of this word or this idea until the summer I worked for the University, but once I heard it being used once, I suddenly tuned in to it being used everywhere.
As I understand it, heteronormativity is the idea that society is setup with norms and values that align sex, sexuality and gender roles. That however, is not how I hear it being used.
Maybe it’s the kind of person I hear use it, maybe it’s the frequency with which I hear it used trivially: either way I cannot stand it. When it’s being used to analyze our culture in an investigative sense, I think heteronormativity can play a role. In everyday conversation, it doesn’t. Too often have I heard someone use the word heteronormative to condemn what they feel discriminates or oppresses them.
I honestly believe that the word is used by self-satisfying gay activists to blame society for how discriminated against they feel. They relish trying to make all heterosexuals the enemy, blaming that entire group for every wrong they feel they have ever suffered. But with regards to those who would discriminate, it’s not because they’re a heterosexual, it’s because they’re bigoted. Always playing the heteronormative card isn’t offering any constructive social innovation, it’s just a politically charged form of whining.
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