Heteronormativity is “the body of lifestyle norms that holds 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. Consequently, a “heteronormative” view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity and gender roles.” (Wikipedia)
I chose the above picture to illustrate this heteronormativity and its prevalence in society as it depicts a wedded lesbian couple, one displaying the role of groom and the other as bride. Why are they not both in dresses or both in tuxes? They feel pressured by the heteronormativity in society, perhaps, and due to compulsory heterosexuality have chosen to dress in this manner for their big day.
Heteronormativity stresses such norms in society that a woman must be feminine and attracted to men. She must marry a man and have a monogamous relationship which ends with children. A man must be masculine and attracted to women. He must marry a woman and have a monogamous relationship which also ends in children. See the problem with this picture? All other variations that exist in the world are excluded and thus have no way to fit into society at all. Homosexual couples, transgender individuals, those of various gender identification and sexual orientation find themselves forced out of this model and subsequently find themselves forcing themselves into it which no doubt is stressful and confusion-inducing. Heteronormativity is a huge problem! It stresses that if you deviate from the norm, there is no place for you. This simply shouldn’t be the case.
There are masculine women and feminine men, homosexual, pansexual, polyamorous, asexual, etc. sexually oriented individuals, and the list goes on and on. This wonderful and unique array of people make up our world and it is just outrageous to expect and enforce that all fit into one socially defined box called “heteronormativity.”