Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Banality of Heterosexism

Heterosexism, or the presumption that man-woman relationships are the norm, is a dangerous spirit that haunts the eventual future burial ground of gender-based discrimination. You know how they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well, see…I don’t know about that heaven and hell thing in the literal sense, but there is definitely a metaphorical context that makes the saying true. Think about it: the crazy people that think whatever they do about whatever they do are so moved by their own personal truth, however sick and demented it may sometimes be, that they disregard the fact that their "truth" is, not only largely offensive, but also not believed by the people that they choose to judge using their belief system as the standard.

Does that sound right? Or preachy? It’s definitely far too early on Saturday morning (as I write this) to get preachy. I just know this much: people have to open up and accept the fact that the driving force behind who we are is our own free will. That isn’t specifically to go against any particular set of religious beliefs, though we know my feelings on the matter; but chew on this for a minute: how do we grow into whoever we are without will?

Get this, dear readers – I am on Facebook days ago and I see a status up by a friend of mine that had very apparent heterosexist ideas in it. Now, I’m not one for internet beef (or real life beef, I don’t eat the stuff). I think that shit is so 8th-grade and passé bullshit really isn’t my thing. Though, if I am to have an intelligent and healthy debate, as I do with aforementioned friend regularly, we tend to keep Facebook out of the picture because, to me, it’s so much more personal than a forum, a blog, even twitter. And it got out of hand.

Featured below, m’loves, are screen shots of all the action. The last two comments were not captured before the entire exchange was deleted. My self-diagnosed OCD kicked in and I actually color coded the conversation for your convenience – I am featured in the yellow-gold color. The intention of this post is not to ruin any relationships that I have with any of the people directly or indirectly involved (which is why I even colored out the avatar images). Note: you may have to click the images for a better view of the conversation.


Now, much like the work of Hannah Arendt, I feel that the banality of an individual’s ideas and actions of any sort are lost in the dominating force that is group think. Unfortunately, people think they are enlightened; they think that they believe these things to be true and they have some sort of social advantage (without basis, mind you) over other groups – whether directly or indirectly – because of the overwhelming support they have from other people who believe the same thing. It takes a considerable amount of courage (and, hell, sometimes even insanity) to move away from the wrong ideas you’ve been spoon-fed for lifetimes.

This conversation spilled over to twitter. After it spilled over to twitter, it spilled over to a telephone conversation of my dear talented, passionate(but misguided on this particular topic) friend pleading with me that he is a good person, not a homophobe, that wants to encourage "men" to be "men" - whatever that means and however that should happen. And my entire problem with that is this: far, far too many individuals allow their beautiful individual selves to die within someone else’s definition of who and how they should be. Aside, what makes a man a man? Do you not see the skewed origin of this thought pattern? I have friends, many great people, caught up and torn in the ideas of what the mainstream deems “normal” – and the scariest part is the fervor and depth of their rationalities.

And though some (and not all) people’s ideas of normality – especially in dealing with the banality of heterosexism” or the ignorance of passing, albeit rationalized-to-them, hate speech – is backed by “good intentions, it’s still just another way for a member of the social status quo to further impose their belief system on other people. So, uhh…how else do you approach individuals with good intentions? I mean, besides the inter-technological beating of a dead horse to a pure pulp? You do what I did – email several different educational resources about gender versus biological sex, so-called “gender roles”, heterosexism/homophobia, hate speech and the idea that all people are actually people!

...being a decent human being does not excuse any of this. It doesn't make it less wrong, and it doesn't make my volume against the issue less audible. As I told my friend, if he were anybody - and I do mean anybody - else saying the things that were said, I'd have been just as riled up and vocal about it all.

Be Righteous.


  1. He said, "You kind of look like a man hater." Oh, he had to go there, to that intellectually dishonest way of fighting since he was floundering in his justification of bigotry.

    I'm glad you stuck with your point. The haters have been winning far too many fights in too many areas of late knowing the good folks are often polite.

  2. I'm actually really glad I was able to attempt to get through with my points and discuss what I thought was wrong. I think I knew that nothing great was going to come from the conversaton at that point (or at the point where I was asked what my problem with "masculinity" is).
    It's difficult wanting so passionately to educate and enlighten brothers AND sisters and having to deal with people that are just as passionate about their own points. I really didn't want to argue; that's never my intention. Rather, I really genuinely feel responsible in helping other people wake up. How do you reach the unreachable?