When I read the article “Compulsory Heterosexuality,” by Adrienne Rich I was enlightened and relieved. I felt as though she had a valid point to argue. She was fighting for something not many of us talk about on a daily basis. She was talking about being gay; about being a lesbian. Rich argues that we live in a world that is defined by compulsory heterosexuality. Of course we say well what kind of a world is that. Compulsory Heterosexuality is the straight mans way of living. It is the idea that procreation is the key to power. If one can create an offspring then they have the power; the idea that it takes a mother and a father to raise a child. Even the idea of two people of the same sex being together would be a burden on society. Rich argues that this sort of a world is not the best world for everyone to be living in. She is really fighting for the “Lesbian Existence.” The idea that there are gay people out there and they should not be shunned for the way they are. Rich goes as far as to argue, “Heterosexuality has been both forcibly and sublimity imposed on women.” When really thinking about it when in our society have we ever seen it ok to be a lesbian. Women who kiss other women in movies most of the time are drunk and straight men poke fun at it calling it hot.
Rich states “Heterosexuality, like motherhood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution.” I agree with that she is saying. Heterosexuality controls our society. It is an ideological force that keeps power in its place. If we looked at heterosexuality like we look at every other institution we can see the inner workings of why people really find this to be the dominant way of being. On my search for this ideology I came across this Youtube video. The video is of a song called, “Heterosexuality is a Construct.”
This song although horribly done in my opinion really has some good lyrics at times. The song states “we must color out of the lines.” We have to stand up to this institution and tell the construct, it is ok for people to be gay. “Love knows no gender,” the song proclaims and it should be true, but this idea of Compulsory Heterosexuality keeps this from happening.
In class I hope we really idea this term more. Although I feel as though I have a handle on the phrase I feel like there is so much more to be learned about this and the lesbian experience. I am hoping we pick apart this institution and really understand how it came to be. How are people advocating for gay rights and how the world is changing if only a little bit at a time. Through love and understand I feel the world could be a better place.