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 Lesson 16: Homophobia and Heterosexism Social Problems Robert Wonser 1.

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Presentation on theme: " Lesson 16: Homophobia and Heterosexism Social Problems Robert Wonser 1."— Presentation transcript:

1  Lesson 16: Homophobia and Heterosexism Social Problems Robert Wonser 1

2 2 Erotic Relations are Historical Relations  Sexuality has changed and evolved historically  that it, is not universal and fixed  This removes bodies from the biological realm and places them firmly in the social realm.

3 3 Did you know?  Heterosexual and homosexual were invented in the late nineteenth century by doctors and scientists who created the science of sexology.  Before that time people engaged in homosexual and heterosexual acts but their acts did not adhere to them as identities.  Initially heterosexuals were defined as people only interested in sex for pleasure. Term was used to distinguish them from the time’s‘normals’ who only engaged in sex for procreation.  The socioeconomic organization of society—not genes, not brains—created the conditions for living heterosexual and gay or lesbian lives.

4 4 Gendered sexualities  Like gender, sexualities are also expected to be “opposite”, and gendered:  Compulsory heterosexuality – the dominance of heterosexual values, and the fact that both hetero- and non- heterosexuality are shaped by dominant social scripts  Dichotomy between heterosexuality and homosexuality only began in 19 th century  When is there an exception to this?

5 5 Lesbian or Bisexual Chic  Illustrates a mismatch between sexual behavior and sexual identity  Paula Rust defines this phenomenon as “same-sex behavior engaged in by essentially heterosexual individuals under certain extenuating circumstances, in keeping with the cultural belief that there are only two true forms of sexuality”  Behavior is most likely found “in a cultural milieu favoring sexual experimentation.”

6 6 Lesbian or Bisexual Chic  Is this cultural acceptance of“girl-on-girl” progressive?  Or are the images marketed for heterosexual male audiences and focused on using women to pleasure men (Luscombe 2004)?  Does this perpetuate the myth that bisexuality is simply a phase and not a valid sexual identity?  On the other hand, is it subversive in that it challenges compulsory heterosexuality?

7 7 Problem with term “ Homophobia ”  Problem with the term homophobia because it literally means“fear of homosexuals” – hatred, anger, and aggression are stronger components than fear.  Not just a mislabel but helps excuse hostile behavior as the (understandable) result of inescapable fear (Logan 1996).

8 8 Heterosexism  Homophobia refers to individual beliefs and behaviors, not institutionalized discrimination.  Heterosexism is a system of attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships. It can include the presumption that other people are heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the only norm and therefore superior.

9  Similar to“white privilege”; we’re not taught to see how racism puts some in a position of privilege but rather view it as something that puts racial ethnic minorities at a disadvantage. 9

10 10 Examples of Heterosexual PrivilegeHeterosexual Privilege  You can go wherever you want and know that you will not be harassed, beaten, or killed because of your sexuality  You do not have to worry about being mistreated by the police or victimized by the criminal justice system because of your sexuality  You can express affection (kissing, hugging, and holding hands) in most social situations and not expect hostile or violent reactions from others

11 11 Heterosexual Privilege  You are more likely to see sexually- explicit images of people of your sexuality without these images provoking public consternation or censorship  You can discuss your relationships and publicly acknowledge your partner (such as by having a picture of your lover on your desk) without fearing that people will automatically disapprove or think that you are being“blatant”

12  You can legally marry the person whom you love  You can receive tax breaks, health insurance coverage, and spousal legal rights through being in a long-term relationship  You can express yourself sexually without the fear of being prosecuted for breaking the law 12

13 13 Heteronormativity  Heteronormativity is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life.  It asserts that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes.

14 Heteronormativity  Consequently, a "heteronormative" view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender roles.  Heteronormativity is often linked to heterosexism and homophobia. 14

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