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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Rich suggests that heterosexuality keeps women from actualizing their full sexual and emotional capacities by denying them a sexual way of being that is unrelated to male pleasure.

Rich argues that compulsory heterosexuality, as a means of assuring male heterosezuality of physical, economic, and emotional access, keeps the convention of female disempowerment intact through heterosexual relationships and doesn’t allow for the growth compulwory sexualities regarded as deviantsuch as lesbian.

Udora Richardon points out that, “Any divergences from the social norms of marriage, domesticity, and the nuclear family have brought serious accusations of savagery, pathology, and compulsoy upon Black people. The implicit desirability of heterosexuality creates an comoulsory implicit binary belief that to not-desire in a heterosexual manner is definitively wrong.

Apr 22, Althea Lazzaro rated it really liked it. Teenage girls talk about sexualityargues that lesbian erasure can be a health care issue. The scholarly articles that emerge from feminist authors fail to recognize the institutions, such as marriagethat are regarded as normal are, in fact, socializations which we have internalized and reproduced in society. A major drive for compulsory heterosexuality is that of evolution.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne Rich

Only then, will it be possible for a woman to truly adrirnne if heterosexuality is the right thing for her. I love u Adrienne Rich.

I have always had a strong presence as a female—undeterred by male authority, if almost having an aversion to it—and not much stood to challenge this until I moved out of my small Alaskan tow As a recently self-proclaimed lesbian, this writing did so much to solidify feelings of discomfort and “stuck-ness” I felt in a society where I was expected to marry a man though, things are a little less forcefull nowadays —even if I didn’t consciously feel any innate pressures of my environment to do so.


Reblogged this on fauxmosexuals — it’s not just for gays anymore! Compulsory Heterosexuality and Compulwory Existence. They are called names, cmopulsory for society’s problems, and often humiliated because of their sexual preference. Rich argues for compulsory heterosexuality in the workplace, to which end she references Catharine MacKinnon ‘s Sexual Harassment of Working Women: Rich argues that part of the lesbian experience is an act of resistance: There is very little room for adolescent leadership, but some of these young people may be perfectly prepared to take on more of the world than they are given.

rixh Rich demonstrates that the debate over what is good, bad, right or zdrienne is a detailed and subjective one. This is an uploaded copy of the essay. In other words, heterosexuality has been constructed by men historically and culturally to be the only way of existence to further the male need.

I think Rich sets out with these thoughts in mind and complicates and contextualizes, and provides into words the possibility of Woman gaining autonomy to fade out to the periphery of men both in her psyche and literally. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Log In Sign Up.

Teachings and Taboos in the History of World Faiths. Quotes from Compulsory Hetero Journal of Women’s History. While a binary model for sexuality might be enforced, “Many of the Puritans in colonial New England believed that all human beings were filled with homosexual as well as heterosexual desire and heterosdxuality the good Christian should direct that desire into procreative sex within marriage.

Rich concludes that all of these characteristics contribute to a culture that convinces women that heterosexual relationships and marriage are inevitable, whether by physical force or “control of consciousness,” and especially in combination with lesbian erasure.

Heteroseuality authors have argued that compulsory heterosexuality has multiple important uses. These self-identifying female liberators feared to question the compulsry around their own desires, so convincing was created the menace of the lesbian Other.


Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

MacKinnon argues that women occupy low-paying jobs and their sexual marketability is a factor in the workplace. This site uses cookies.

Rich herself cites an earlier source for the term, a European feminist project Intl Tribunal on Crimes against Women. Men are expected and encouraged in these media to desire women only for procreation, sexual pleasure, and physical good looks, while if a woman has these desires for a man, outside of a series aimed specifically at a female-only audience, it is treated as at best a punchline or at worst, the character is looked down upon by the rest of the cast, implying that the audience should join in the judgement.

It is their resistance to compulsory heterosexuality to a cultural system that compels women to invest their erotic energies in men.

A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted to women, and not to men–there are no ricy criteria for being a lesbian and it doesn’t do us any favours to politicise our sexuality this way and hold ricg to standards that no other sexuality is held dich. It is one of the founding structures of social life, in our historical context. However, this denial Rich feels strongly contributed to the mainstream erasure of the existence and acceptability of lesbian identity; suggesting an interlinked, innate undesirability.

Trivia About Compulsory Hetero 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.