Heteronormativity Save Heteronormativity is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders male and female with natural roles in life.
Advanced Search Abstract Within interpersonal and family communication, researchers have tended to construct and describe LGBTQ relationships in regard to a heterosexual norm. The article concludes by discussing the implications a feminist queer perspective holds for interpersonal and family communication pedagogies and research.
Contemporary scholars face a dearth of critical theorizing about sexuality in interpersonal and family communication. This lack, I argue, creates an aporia in which heteronormative frameworks bracket our understandings of nonheterosexual relationships. Silences surrounding sexuality have been noted in many disciplines; the field of communication is no exception.
As Yep observes, substantive conversations around issues of sexuality were absent for the first 61 years of the discipline's existence, but by the mids queer theory had directed attention to issues of sexuality and heterosexual privilege both in and out of academia.
As queer theory and communication studies have grown alongside one another, they have become more integrated. However, despite its influence in rhetoric, media, and performance studies, queer theory has largely failed to infiltrate interpersonal and family communication.
In this article, I argue that by constructing and describing queer relationships and identities in comparison to their heterosexual counterparts, interpersonal and family communication research tends to re produce binary understandings of sexuality that constrain communication research and theory.
Interpersonal and family communication research would benefit from a more nuanced engagement with gender and sexuality for at least four reasons. First, communication studies can affect understandings of identity, both others' and our own.
In the undergraduate classroom, for example, students often express the desire to better understand their relational partners through the course material.
A third problem is that existing discourses set the tone for future discourse on the subject. In this manner, the replication of normative ideas about gender and sexuality in interpersonal and family communication research can limit our ability to form alternative understandings.
Finally, a more in-depth engagement with critical theorizing can increase the validity of the claims communication scholars make about nonnormative relationships.
The primary goal of this critical interrogation is to explore theoretical and methodological difficulties encountered by researchers attempting to create inclusive theories of relationships and family life, and to offer recommendations utilizing the intersections of feminist and queer theory.
Rather than attempting a comprehensive review of existing scholarship, 1 I hope to instead illustrate specific points where heteronormative assumptions appear. I begin with a brief overview of queer theory and its intersection with feminist approaches.
Next, I explore the heteronormative construction of family and relationships in the United States. The article concludes by discussing the implications a feminist queer perspective holds for interpersonal and family communication pedagogies.
Queer and feminist approaches to sexuality Queer theory in the U. Directing attention to issues of sexuality and heterosexual privilege long neglected in the academy, queer theory emphasized the socially constructed, performative aspects of sexuality e.
The interrogation of heterosexuality as a cultural system aligns with much feminist theorizing. Despite these convergences, queer theory has often been fashioned as a more contemporary theoretical project against which previous theorizations of gender are cast as limited and outdated.
Queer critiques have challenged feminist theory's reification of sexual difference, arguing against feminism's attachment to the stable categories of men and women. And yet, feminist theory is not alone in producing epistemological erasures.
While some queer theorists have held gender firmly in their analytical grasp, others have focused exclusively on sex and sexuality, leaving gender in the domain of feminist inquiry. However, scholars have noted how in the absence of an analysis of gender, queer theory can reinscribe white gay male identities, erasing gendered and racialized differences e.
Furthermore, queer theory's emphasis on fluid, destabilized identities has at times led to analyses that privilege parodic play and public gender crossing to the extent that its project seems outside of, or irrelevant to, those factions of society that remain predicated on heterosexual norms.
But gender crossings and identity deconstruction alone do not unsettle the heteronormative assumptions deeply embedded in the private sphere. While queer theorists have often explored the effects of this system on those who deviate from it, heteronormativity does not only affect individuals with nonnormative sexual preferences.
Studies reveal that negative effects of the institution of heterosexuality on heterosexually identified women range from physical violence to emotional exhaustion and diminished mental health.
In addition, and perhaps not surprisingly, many heterosexually married women are in worse psychological health than are heterosexually married men. More surprisingly, many heterosexually identified women also report worse psychological adjustment i.
Compulsory heterosexuality also affects heterosexually identified men. Homophobia therefore becomes an organizing principle of masculinity. The homophobia created by the institution of heterosexuality also causes real and devastating violence faced by LGBTQ individuals, and reifies heteropatriarchal ideologies that influence U.
The family is a primary vehicle through which heteronormative ideologies are mobilized. Societal views of intimate relationships are therefore constructed in relation to the privileged role of the heterosexual nuclear family in the U. This affects research and theorizing about relationships, often producing unrecognized and unaccounted for biases that affect study designs, research questions, and subsequent analyses.
In the following review of interpersonal and family communication scholarship, I demonstrate the ways heteronormativity is upheld through both erasures and inclusions of LGBTQ subjects.
Examining how heteronormative assumptions appear even in the work of scholars seeking to broaden the terms of the discourse reveals the theoretical ground that remains to be covered.
At the same time, I also wish to recognize contributions made by interpersonal and family scholars who have continually challenged the exclusion of LGBTQ subjects and dominant discourses of sexuality.Under the influence of Confucian patriarchal ideology, the Singapore government has promoted a narrow, heteronormative definition of family in its pro-family policies since Criticism of marriage; Children's literature; Effects on society; Embedded feminism; Equality; Female education; Female genital mutilation; Femicide; Feminism in culture.
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