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Lecture 6

Week 6 - Wednesday February 12 Sexualities & Queer Politics feb 12.pdf

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York University
Social Science
SOSC 1502
Amar Wahab

Week 6: Wednesday February 12 Sexualities & Queer Politics Readings: §Overall, Heterosexuality and Feminist Theory (CK) §Ingraham, One is not born a bride: how weddings regulate heterosexuality (CK) §Lord, The Silencing of Sexuality (CK) §Cohen, Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens (CK) Quiz Questions to prepare for the Feb. 12 Tutorial (0nly one will be asked): • According to Ingraham, how are "weddings" an example of "heteronormativity? (Be sure to explain the concept of "heteronormativity" in your answer.) • heteronormativity: institutionalized heterosexuality constitutes the standard for legitimate and expected social and sexual relations. • Ensuring that the organization of heterosexuality in everything from gender to weddings to martial status is held up both as a model and as normal • heteronormativity to naturalize the institution of heterosexuality while rendering real peoples relationships and commitments irrelevant and illegitimate • all people are required to situate themselves in relation to marriage or hetereosexuality including those who regardless of sexual affiliation do not consider themselves single • one is not born a bride but to imagine oneself outside of this category is to live outside the boundaries/margins of society — romancing of heterosexuality in the interests of capitalism • weddings bc synonymous with heterosexuality • women are taught from childhood that wedding is happiest day of their life • one leads to comply with social and cultural messages that flow to and through the wedding ritual • rite of passage for appropriate heterosexual identity and membership • media shows weddings as associated with normatively of heteronormativity and whiteness • How does Cohen suggest that "heteronomativity" should be challenged by activists? create confrontational political formation • • notice historical and current accepted heterosexual relationships • who has power and who has access • Heteronormativity: the practices and institutions “that legitimize and privilege heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships as fundamental and ‘natural’within society” • “Queer politics ... entails the possibility of change, movement, redefinition, and subversive performance ...” [233]. • Anti-normativity: The problem of ‘categories’and single-issue identity politics – “queer symbolizes ... [a] multisited resistance to systems ... That seek to normalize our sexuality, exploit our labor, and constrain our visibility.” • The ideal sexual citizen is heterosexual, but also white, male, able, middle-class: “The roots of heteronormativity are in white-supremacist ideologies that sought (and continue) to use the state and its regulation of sexuality . . . to designate which individuals are truly ‘fit’for the full rights and privileges of citizenship.” • “How do queer activists understand and relate politically to those whose same-sex sexual identities position them within the category of queer, but who hold other identities based on class, race and/or gender categories which provide them with membership in and the resources of dominant institutions and groups?” • What does Overall mean by "the heterosexual institution" and "the ideology of heterosexism" and why each is problematic for women? • heterosexual institution is a systematized set of social standards, customs and expected practices which regulate and restrict romantic and sexual relationships between person of different sexes in late 20th century western culture • doesnt leave an opportunity to create different customs , practices, or explore other types of relationships as they've been normalized to the point of anything separating from the norm shall be othered and set to margins of society • women must conform to normalized ideal and expected standard • ideology of heterosexism is heterosexual romance, dating and marriage. galling in and out of heterosexual love • PROBLEM: primary benefit for men—easy sexual gratification, possession of women • culture reproduced in nature of heterosexuality and positioning women as victims to men and allowing exploitation of women • According to Lord, how does the "closet" function in the lives of black lesbians? • 1 - forced into a closet by white lesbians who focus on their sexual oppression but fail to recognize how these oppressions and racism operates in the lives of lesbians of colour • term lesbian without race automatically assumes white • closet as protective skin from society at large and contributes to multiple oppressions back lesbians face • 2 - if black lesbians chose to be with white lesbians they are double act of betrayal: traitor to black race and preventing its continuity • 3 - being closeted (not coming out) is hard Lecture: Sexuality & Queer Politics Sexuality • The discourse of modern sexuality is a historical invention: sexuality is socially and historically constructed, not natural i.e. Our sexual identity and roles are shaped by our histories and cultures and therefore change over time and place. • Sexuality as Discursive Effect: We experience our bodies simultaneously as material and discursive: the physical body is shaped and constrained by social and historical factors and can only be made intelligible by means of available discourses of the body. • Discourses about sexuality regulate bodies (through discipline and punishment). • 19th century —notion of natural / innate sexuality • it is actually a social construct Heterosexuality • Overall [152]: ‘Why is there so much insistence ... That all women be heterosexual and learn to be heterosexual, if that is what we are all naturally inclined to be anyway
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