What the hell does “hetero-normative” mean anyway?

I get the feeling that there should be some negative connotations associated with the term “talking heads”, but I can’t figure out why. What else should heads do? What else should be talking?

I had to write a paper on feminism last Friday. I couldn’t do it. All I could think of were those stereotypical types, “nazi-feminists” as a friend of mine called them. The kind of people who use words like “hetero-normative”. I can’t stand it.

I just read a novel, published online, called Lockpick Pornography. It’s fast, dirty, and angry. Full of what can only be described as “nazi-homosexuals”; the main character at least is militant and wild in his hatred of anything “normal”. It is a rant about gender issues, and though I do agree with some of the points, I could barely stand reading it. How can a person be angry at the heterosexual beauty myth? What does that even mean? I survived through it with the help of Mrs. Hubert and Michelle.

“Tough like set theory, but easy like Home Economics.” I’ve heard that line before. In different words, from a different author, but it’s the same line.

I sometimes think that I need to be a black transgendered woman in order to understand what people get so upset about sometimes. I am a middle class white male; such people have no clout in matters of discrimination. How are people offended by words? By actions, even? The things that offend me most are people trying too hard to be politically correct or non discriminatory. Sexism for the sake of sexism is probably wrong in most reasonable moral theories, like racism and homophobia, but these discriminatory “isms” can be only a consequence of some incidental correlation.

I’m reminded of Stephen Colbert. He claims on his show that he doesn’t see race, and in doing so, sounds racist. That’s the beauty of it. I think it’s completely realistic. Ignorance of your own racism and not being racist at all, at times, converge to the same thing. That’s not to say that racism (sexism, etc) is right or justifiable, it’s just that people often perceive things as racist when they’re nothing of the kind.

South Park. Episode 4×08. Chef Goes Nanners.

Chef: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You just missed the point entirely.

Children: Huh?

Chef: I’m not mad because the flag shows somebody getting killed. It’s because it’s racist!

Children: Racist?

Chef: Children, don’t you even know what this argument is about? That flag is racist because a black man is being hung by white people.

Children: Ooooh

Chef: Oh?!

Children: We didn’t really see it that way.

Chef: But that’s a black man up there.

Children: Yeah but, colour of someone’s skin doesn’t matter.

Chef: But of course it matters when… oh my god.

I’m definitely aware that I might be accused of just being ignorant of the subtleties of the issue—of racism, feminism, the social construct of gender, all of it. But I think it’s equally possible that it’s all the subtleties that are social constructions. Something for us to direct our anger at. Social construction as a social construction. It’s not something I’d be able to argue for if someone assaulted me on the street accusing me of conforming to hetero-normative expectations as they do in Lockpick Pornography, so I reserve the right to change my mind about the whole thing, but my intuition tells me that it’s a philosophy that could be developed further.

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One Response to “Normative-normative”

  1. [...] heard termed “queer theory”, by talking about social constructions of gender, etc. From my earlier post on hetero-normativity, it’s probably pretty clear that I don’t have much sympathy for these questions either. [...]

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