Tag Archives: heteronormativity

cw: heterosexism, cissexism, fundamentalism

Contrary to popular misperceptions of fundamentalists, then, [James] Dobson does not see sex as a necessary evil.  For Dobson, sexuality is our most primary energy.  Whereas in Dare to Discipline, he castigates the “scientific experts” whose theories of child rearing led the nation to lose confidence in its heritage of biblical wisdom… Dobson idealizes and fights to preserve the modern family created by those scientific experts he loves to hate. But the point of his nostalgia was never historical accuracy. The point was discipline.

In large measure… this discipline is about maintaining middle-class status.  Historian George Mosse has argued that the emergence of nationalism in the nineteenth century was intimately connected with white middle-class norms regarding respectable sexuality. Dobson cites Joseph Daniel Unwin… who frames the issues as quasi-mathematical law: a civilizations level of cultural attainment is inversely proportional to the openness of its sexual regulations regarding extramarital and premarital sex.

Drawing on Unwin, Dobson identifies sexuality as our deepest truth. It is the heart of personality: “Self-awareness begins with an understanding of our sexual identity… Everything we do is influenced by our gender assignment.” […] Whereas Freud presented the discipline that civilization exacts as a source of discontent, Dobson presents this discipline as true contentment. For the mechanism by which society effects sexual discipline (according to Dobson) is private property: having a mate, a family, and a home of one’s own.

Ann Burlein, Lift High the Cross, p.155-156


An Incomplete Log of Inquiring Minds

Originally I intended to post this list as part of a larger post.  For now, I’ve decided to post the list alone.  Got a hunch it might be useful to link at some point.

Below, an incomplete list of certain kinds of search terms that have appeared on my stats page since 2014.  Expect some callous ones.

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Aces in the Church

aces in the church cover

Too often, non-aces will speculate about what it’s like to be ace under the gaze of one of the most politically powerful religious groups to date, making assumptions about what we do or don’t face, without asking those of us who have the relevant experience.  This zine, “Aces in the Church,” was created to be a compilation of ace experiences with & within Christianity, to bring our stories together into one place and close the door on any need for speculation.

Big thanks to everyone who contributed.  “Aces in the Church,” a small digital zine edited by yours truly, is now available to read.  Links for view/download: wordpress, sendspace, google drive


💢

Been disappointed to see more joining onto the “-phobia” bandwagon with (spreading?) use of “aphobia” and “acephobia,” trading on an equivalency between a phobia and an evil ideology.  Really not keen on that.  Instead of saying “aphobic” or “acephobic,” it’s easy enough to just say anti-ace.

If you need a noun, there are lots of nouns that can be applicable.  Anti-ace prejudice, anti-ace bigotry, anti-ace harassment, anti-ace vilification, anti-ace abuse, anti-ace violence.

For hetero-focused things, you can specify anti-ace heteronormativity.

There’s also compulsory sexuality and sex-normativity as decent terms.

And I’m not sure why “acemisogyny” isn’t already a thing.

Lots of options!  Lots of ways to get at the idea of ace-targeting wrongness and harm without resorting to “-phobia.”  I know it’s just to follow an established pattern — and my beef is with the entire pattern, too, but I’m just addressing one of the groups I’m part of here.

Can we please agree to put this one on the shelf?


Of good ace fairies and bad aces fairies

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healthism and femininity

[cw: Christianity comparison in post; sexually-toned “reparative therapy”-toned psychiatric abuse, misogyny, and anti-sex worker sentiment at link]

Anyway this is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say the concept of “health” has been used to abuse and control people.

And I should be able to drop a sentence like that and leave it, without anticipating someone seeing it and coming back to me with “It’s good to be healthy though.  Don’t shame people for trying to get healthy.”  Of course it’s convenient to be healthy.  But I should get to be able to say “be wary of how people deploy the concept of ‘good for your health'” without getting inane responses, the same way I should be able to say “be wary of how people deploy the concept of ‘it’s God’s will'” without someone replying, “But some things ARE God’s will and it’s important to follow it.”  I mean, I expect even very sheltered Christians to get the idea that some Chritianities are worse than others and do lead people astray, but I swear I don’t know how to get through to some people about healthism, not when it’s as ingrained in my culture as it is, I dare say more than Christianity is.  Critiquing healthism is incomprehensible blasphemy.  I might as well tell someone “I want to be sick and always getting sicker.”  It’s…  I don’t know.  I worry.  I worry about the pervasiveness of a faith that strong.

Here are some quotes for those of you who didn’t click the link.

A quote from user lesbian-lily in the linked comment chain:

I’m too tired to find sources and images and whatever, but this is literally how they used to assess women’s mental health and still is a lot of the time. If women wore baggy clothes, didn’t wear make up, didn’t have perfect hair or rejected femininity in any way it was used as a sign of their mental health, a sign that they were crazy and needed fixing. Women wouldn’t be able to free themselves from institutions until they began to conform to femininity. Associating self care with femininity is kinda really fucked up considering we used to get sectioned purely for not being feminine enough.

A quote from Beauty and Misogyny: Harmful cultural practices in the west screenshot’d by user nineteencigarettes:

Pertschuck’s big worry is that, “The woman who feels unable to meet the demands of a female identity and who grooms and dresses accordingly is indeed likely to be viewed as asexual by those around her” (1985, p.221).  The woman may desire precisely such freedom from men’s gaze but Pertschuck will not allow it.  He sees the solution for such women who refuse to service male sexuality as “appearance training.”

What’s got me hecked up is that I can’t even be properly horrified at just the passages themselves, because I’m also thinking…

I’m imagining that someone would tell me the use of the word “asexual” here has nothing to do with the modern usage by the ace community, not even a little bit.  Which makes about as much sense to me as saying that there’s no anti-butch sentiment in trying to “help” an unfeminine woman engage in more feminine beauty rituals, as long as the reason for that “help” isn’t paired with suspicion that she’s attracted to women.  Or as much sense as saying that this “appearance training” to make her sexier (to men) has nothing to do with heteronormativity.  Just misogyny.  Just misogyny alone.  Because those two systems don’t overlap like that and aren’t enmeshed in each other or anything.

I’m so hecked up by the homophobia of saying homophobia doesn’t care about making women attractive to/attracted to/”sexually available” to men.  It’s just so patently false, so black is white and red is blue, it springs up in my brain now when I read about this stuff.  God, I want to fight someone.  But this is down the rabbit hole deep.


so I bought some new books…

Group reproduction – both biological and social – is fundamental to nationalist practice, process, and politics.  While virtually all feminist treatments of nationalism recognize this fact, they typically take for granted that group reproduction is heterosexist.  I refer here to the assumption – institutionalized in state-based orders through legal and ideological codifications and naturalized by reference to the binary of male-female sex difference – that heterosexuality is the only “normal” mode of sexual identity, sexual practice, and social relations.  Heterosexism presupposes a binary coding of polarized and hierarchical male/masculine and female/feminine identities (ostensibly based on a dichotomy of biophysical features) and denies all but heterosexual coupling as the basis of sexual intimacy, family life, and group reproduction.  And heterosexism is key to nationalism because today’s state-centric nationalisms (the focus of this chapter) not only engage in sexist practices that are now well documented by feminists, but also take for granted  heterosexist sex/gender identities and forms of group reproduction that underpin sexism but which are not typically interrogated even in feminist critiques.

[…] Heterosexism as sex/affect involves the normalization of exclusively heterosexual desire, intimacy, and family life.  Historically, this normalization is inextricable from the state’s interest in regulating sexual reproduction, undertaken primarily through controlling women’s bodies, policing sexual activities, and instituting the heteropatriarchal family/household as the basic socio-economic unit.  This normalization entails constructions of gender identity and hegemonic masculinity as heterosexual, with corollary interests in women’s bodies as objects of (male) sexual gratification and the means of ensuring group continuity.

–V. Spike Peterson, “Sexing political identities/nationalism as heterosexism,” Women, States, and Nationalism, p. 59-60

 

To display the falsity of the “natural” nuclear family, Michelle Barrett explored the many different forms that family takes in human societies by examining anthropoligical and historical works.  “At an ideological level,” she wrote, “the bourgeoisie has certainly secured a hegemonic definition of family life: as ‘naturally’ based on close kinship, as properly organized through a male breadwinner with financially dependent wife and children, and as a haven of privacy beyond the realm of commerce and industry.”  If we reject the ideological assertion that the state is merely protecting natural relationships, then we need to ask whose interests the family-household system embedded in twentieth-century American liberalism serves…

[…] The ability to create a privatized household depends on financial resources that are unavailable to many, particularly families that do not have a white, male wage-earner… Those who cannot satisfy the material prerequisites of family life do not create the same kind of privatized units as those of the more economically privileged…

[…] Although the contractually agreed-to marriages of today may seem like a significant advance over the pre-arranged, clearly economic arrangements made for many men and women in the past, this understanding presupposes that monogamous, dyadic sexual relationships should have higher status and receive greater benefits than other forms of relationships.  This superiority is asserted often through a variety of disciplinary mechanisms, including mental health experts, the media, schools, religious institutions, and the law.  In this sense, marriage itself can — and should — be understood as a disciplinary system…

–Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values, p. 19, 20, 23


>>

“Lifelong lack of sexual interest, though a recognized entity, is unlikely to produce distress” (quote from Pipeline | S1 Biopharma, found via redbeard’s post)

Citation needed.


The Virgin Queen

[tw: transmisogyny, incest]

But when we’re fictionalizing someone who was famously the “Virgin Queen,” most of that fictionalizing will center around one thing: “Come on.  We know she’s f***ing someone.  Who is she reeeeaaally schtupping?  Because it had to be someone, right?”

I’m not the only one who noticed this, I see.  Glad to hear it acknowledged.  Not glad that this thread carries through more depictions than I was even aware of, though.


When Dudes Talk Gender & Asexuality

…I’ve seen them get a few things wrong.

This post is my submission for the March 2016 Carnival of Aces.

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