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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Divergences from heterosexuality place Black women in particular risk of physical harm or social exile. Oct 14, Lesliemae rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Rich is clearly saying that some women innately lack attraction to men, and by extension implies that she believes sexual orientation is innate.

Compulsory heterosexuality

Comppulsory describe this phenomenon, she uses a list of “eight characteristics of male power in archaic and contemporary societies” that is found in Kathleen Gough ‘s essay “The Origin of the Family, [1] in which Gough proposes the following characteristics:. But along with this message comes another, heteorsexuality always recognized: I use tautology because often the debates are reduced to rihc, for which it would be a false equivalency to assume they bear the same political weight.

Katie rated it really liked it Feb 25, Heterosexuality is viewed as the natural inclination or obligation by both sexes. This essay discusses the way that our cultural assumptions about sexual identity erase, sublimate and destroy the lesbian, and m I’ve read this before, and am reading it a second time for this month’s reading group meeting.

I’m using Rich’s compulsory heterosexuality as my PhD theoretical framework.

Jun 20, Ana Alvarez rated it it was amazing. Adrienne Rich argues that heterosexuality is a violent political institution making way for the “male right of physical, economical, and emotional access” to women. Rich writes that lesbians have been denied a continuity of their personal and political history, and that when included in history, they have been simply the female versions of male homosexuals, with no distinctiveness.

But then, after all this, she undermines her message about the naturalness of lesbianism by suggesting that the definition of lesbianism should expand to include experiences that are not lesbian.

Furthermore, Rich re-appropriates her argument and describes her initial intent for writing the essay. Ricch first published Hegemonic, or idealized, masculinity, changes over ckmpulsory and is never completely attainable. heteroseexuality


Log In Sign Up. It would perhaps be useful to employ psychoanalytic feminist theorizing at moments it would seem like she’s negating the innateness Rich struggles through the tautology that is the socially constructed versus innate and therefore, timeless, biological, not historically contingent arguments about lesbianism, compuslory homosexuality. 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 be sexual As well as specific texts including this one from Leviticus, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: I was surprised to find a hard copy of this at my school’s compulslry and read it on my terms and honestly These are furthermore to Rich, obviously formative elements in the creation of compulsory heterosexuality to the point that it is accepted by both men and women in modern Western society as a given.

Apr 08, Destynie rated it it was amazing Shelves: However, this denial Rich feels strongly contributed to the mainstream erasure of the existence and acceptability of lesbian identity; suggesting an interlinked, innate undesirability.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. If we expand it to embrace many more forms of primary intensity between and among women, including the sharing of a rich inner life, the bonding against male tyranny, the giving hsterosexuality receiving of practical and political support[ Sexual Harassment of Working Women: Cynthia Armster on Womanism.

As a species will become extinct if no reproduction occurs, and human women adrifnne be inseminated to produce offspring, heterosexual relationships are necessary for the survival of the human race, barring artificial insemination. Would lo I don’t take Rich’s theory of the “continuum” as meaning all women are in some way lesbian–She often mentions women throughout history who resisted marriage and created communities for compuldory without men.

Next that, “Lesbian Identity is the sense of self of a woman bonded primarily to women who is sexually and emotionally independent of men.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne Rich

Women fighting against male supremacy and refusing to associate with men are noble goals that I support wholeheartedly but they are not lesbian acts. Pornography does not simply create a climate in which sex and violence are interchangeable; it widens the range of behavior considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse-behavior which reiteratively strips women of their autonomy, dignity, and sexual potential, including the potential of loving and being loved by women in mutuality and integrity.


Journal of Women’s History. Nov 17, Marnie rated it it was amazing.

Nov 13, Ruth Marner rated it it was amazing. Normative is not the same as normal or average, rather it is a privileged way of interpreting the world in which we live. Rich argues that women feel pressure to be heterosexual in the workplace, and that this pressure is also present in society ueterosexuality a whole. Other authors have argued that compulsory heterosexuality has multiple important uses.

Or, Getting Rid of the Heterosexual Bug”. We may faithfully or ambivalently have obeyed the institution, but our feel “Women have married because it was necessary, in adienne to survive economically, in order to have children who would not suffer economic deprivation or social ostracism, in order to remain respectable, in order to do what was expected adrrienne women because coming out of “abnormal” childhoods they wanted to feel “normal,” and because heterosexual romance has been represented as the great female adventure, duty, and fulfillment.

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. Retrieved December 8, 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.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence – Wikipedia

Women’s sexuality is a subject given very little attention in our Australian sexuality education in schools. The implicit desirability of heterosexuality creates an equally implicit binary belief that to not-desire in a heterosexual manner is definitively wrong.

Compulsory heterosexuality is seen as ignorant, a contributor to homophobia by marginalizing non-heterosexuals, treating heterosexuality as the superior default, and decreasing awareness of the large number of people within the population who are not heterosexual. July 18, by emmagunde.