Saturday, April 22, 2006

Blogging Against Heteronormativity

I couldn't even come up with a decent title for this post (usually on the blogging for/against something days I try to put some sort of a spin on the title) and I'm not sure I've got it in me to blog against heteronormativity this morning. However, Nubian over at Blac(k)ademic got this thing rolling, and I said I would participate, so here we are.

Why am I having such a hard time writing about this? Well, I think I'm having a hard time for the same reason that I really wanted to participate: because being against "heteronormativity" is something that we might associate with people who identify as queer, and so it's interesting to me to think about my position in a discussion that many might argue isn't my discussion to be having. Well, folks, I'm here to say that heteronormativity sucks for straight girls, too - straight, privileged, educated, successful girls, who shouldn't have all that much trouble navigating the terrain of gender and sex in the 21st century. The pervasiveness of heteronormative values in our culture is directly linked to issues women have with commanding respect and authority, with anxieties that women feel about becoming crazy cat ladies if they don't get married by 25 or 30 or 35 or 40 (depending on one's geographical location, as in my neck of the woods I've crossed over the threshhold into old maid territory - and yes, people still say that here), with tension between wanting not to subscribe to particular gender stereotypes but sometimes falling into those very stereotypes because you want to get laid and that's the quickest way from point A to point B.

Still, who the hell am I to write about heteronormativity as a straight girl, a privileged girl? Well, I'm going to suggest (and I'm not entirely committed to this point of view, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway) that maybe blogging against heteronormativity is an even more important project for those of us who are, well, hetero. I'm not saying that those who identify as gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgendered have it easy in terms of resisting heteronormativity in their lives - or in articulating that resistance to others - but I do suspect that there is some measure of comfort in the fact that if one identifies as GLBT that one has the support of a group of people who resist in similar ways and who get what this is all about. As a straight, privileged, over-educated girl, I'm not supposed to have a problem with heteronormativity. Ultimately, what I'm supposed to do is embrace it.

And it's easy to fall into heteronormative patterns, whether one is gay or straight, because those patterns are so entrenched in Western Culture that they are almost invisible to us, but perhaps it is easier to remain unconscious of how we fall into them if we are straight - or if we have flashes of consciousness, it seems more necessary to repress those flashes in order to go about the business of our everyday lives (like fraternizing with guys who don't even know the word heteronormative but who exist as its total embodiment).

I don't have any real conclusions to what I'm talking about here, but these are my thoughts about heteronormativity (fuzzy though they are) on this Saturday morning. If you're interested in reading what I'm sure will be much more cogent and articulate posts about this, check out the complete list of participants here.

1 comment:

PHrauD said...

Oh I absolutely agree! And thanks for this.

The single/partnered divide has so much to do with it, at least when it comes to heteronormativity wrt relationships. I identify as queer, and while i might date men again i mostly date women -- also, i present as quite femme, and because i've had boyfriends, people often tend to forget sometimes that i'm queer. i just broke up with my (female) partner of 3.5 years and can firmly say that it's must easier to resist heteronormativity in a relationship than it is outside of one. when i rant on about heteronormativity as a single girl, whether i'm percevied as queer or not, i suspect others think i'm bitter that i'm alone. It's as if only partnered people can make rational statements about relationships -- the rest of us, queer or otherwise, are too caught up in feeling sadly alone to have an opinion.

Oh the perils of singledom! Almost makes me relate to Carrie Bradshaw.