The Importance Of Heterosexuality

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Heterosexuality, although a prevalent institution, has in the past been ignored in discussions about sexuality and society. Sexuality was only acknowledged in terms of “sexual other” in the past (Richardson, 2000), with discussion focusing on gay, lesbian, and differing sexualities. Many sociologists, in particular feminist thinkers, see heterosexuality as oppressive for women and subsequently another form of patriarchal control to reinforce their subordination, influenced by constructed gender norms and differences between men and women. Heteronormativity is the norm across all institutions and is the way in which heterosexuality is legitimised (Richardson, 2000). It reduces the agency women hold in relationships and controlling women’s life…show more content…
What we consider as normal and acceptable, sexually or romantically, is a result of external influences and the discourse that heterosexuality is the biologically and historically natural and preferred practice. This is oppressive for women as they are given little to no choice in and are led into heterosexual relationships and marriage. Women must suppress their true sexual feelings to be accepted as normal in society and remain respected by men and those in higher power, such as employers, family and friends. Foucault’s (1979) opinions on sexuality oppose early essentialist theorisations that sexuality and our feelings are instinctive and that a sexual desire other than heterosexual is deviant, as they explore the way in which individuals “embody the exercise of power on and through their…show more content…
Women that were attracted to the same sex were frightened to speak openly about their sexuality due to fears of being judged by family and friends because of the stigma surrounding being attracted to anyone other than a male. Feminist groups and writers created a new strategy to weaken male supremacy, “Political Lesbianism” (Richardson, 2000). In 1979, the Leeds Revolutionary Feminist group published a paper titled “Political Lesbianism: The case against sexuality”. This stood for the idea that women who were in a heterosexual relationship were “sleeping with the enemy” and fuelling a patriarchal system to further strengthen male supremacy. Political lesbianism showed society that women from different backgrounds and that do not fit the stereotypical lesbian labels can rebel against patriarchy and male dominance by either “boycotting” men or being with another woman, and so it helped to “de-stigmatised lesbianism” by expanding the narratives surrounding lesbianism and the motives for being anything other than

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