about Heteronormativity

The idea that heterosexuality is the normative sexual orientation and that all other forms of orientation stray from the cultural norms, values, and characteristics that are thought to be linked with the presumptive heterosexuality and support the norm is known as heteronormativism. Furthermore, by only acknowledging the polar opposites of gender, male and female, heteronormativity assumes the existence of a gender binary that does not exist. Heteronormativity was coined by Michael Warner in 1991. (Hudak & Giammattei, 105). Social commentator Warner tried to apply the idea in describing the norms of a heterogeneous society to reveal the probable repercussions, either socially or legally, for those who broke the rules. The term heteronormativity describes the interdependence of sexuality and gender that not only defines gender as the binary category but also naturalizes sexual attractions as riveted at the opposite gender. The non-heterosexual structures of desire include bisexuality, transgender, asexuality, and homosexuality are considered to be deviating from the heterosexual norm although they are controlled by it. The heterosexual norm describes the hegemonic form of heterosexuality that is characterized by lifelong monogamy along with the ancient gender roles (Muñoz-Laboy et al. 896). The modern forms of lifelong monogamy include the serial monogamy. Therefore, all heterosexual relations symbolize a certain norm. For instance, the non-monogamous relations are often associated with immorality. Apart from describing homosexuality according to the erotic and intimate dimension, heteronormativity further describes heterosexuality as the power structure throughout the spheres of social life and culture that defines the relations of hierarchical gender in various contexts that are connoted non-sexually. Heteronormativity articulates a basic structure of the social units along with the institutions such as relations of families, kinship, and marriage as well as the relations of friends and colleagues (Hudak & Giammattei, 106).

Heteronormativity stance places heterosexual individuals into a certain group that is privileged. Members of the group are either male or female according to their anatomy of birth, and their psychosocial traits are in alignment with their anatomical characteristics. The individuals perform distinct and detached functions in life based on their gender. As compared to the gay, transgender and bisexuals, heterosexuals enjoy certain privileges due to their sexual orientation (Morgan, and Davis-Delano, 130). Although the privileges may not be expressed implicitly in most cases, there is part of the daily life. For instance, most people cannot elect a homosexual to be the leader due to stereotypes that revolve around sexual orientation. Heteronormativity perpetuates an inaccurate binary of male-female gender and marginalizes individuals outside the binary, the intersex and those who reject the role and expectations of the patriarchal gender (Muñoz-Laboy et al. 900). The heteronormative perspective postulates that all individuals wish to marry and have children someday. From the heteronormative perspective, finding a partner of the opposite gender, getting married, bearing children and undertaking traditional gender role is the most desirable course of life for any person.

The concept of heteronormativity is not grounded on ill intentions. Individuals who acknowledge the existence of all gender entities along with sexual orientation can still contribute to the assumptions of the heteronormative perspective. The impression that sexual orientation is lifestyle choice reflect heteronormativity although people who appreciate diversity may express similar beliefs. Heteronormativity may result in the marginalization of the lesbians, gays, bisexual or transgender (Morgan, and Davis-Delano, 130). According to the heteronormative stance, heterosexuality is the only natural sexuality. Though heteronormativity may recognize other sexual orientation, it may refer them as deviations from what is perceived to be normal instead of acknowledging all sexualities as the natural expressions of the human sexuality. Lack of conformity of an individual's sexual orientation to the dominant societal norms and values leads to homophobia as well as transphobia. Individuals who fail to adhere to the standards of heteronormative perspective are in most cases denied certain rights and benefits while the heterosexuals receive the same benefits efficiently.

The Concept of Heteronormativity in the Media

The media strongly perpetuates heteronormativity through television shows, advertisements, commercials, lyrics and music videos. The media plays a significant role in the socialization of individuals. Besides, the media represents the natural effects of heterosexuality as well as reinforcing the oppression of other individuals not represented, and they often face oppression in real life. Historically, heteronormativity was encouraged through the exclusion of individuals from other sexual orientations other than heterosexuality in televisions, films as well as literature. However, in 1997, the Americans were shocked when Ellen DeGeneres pronounced her sexual orientation as a lesbian openly on her television show, Ellen (Hudak & Giammattei, 107). Until the year 2000, homosexuals were not portrayed in any popular media. Currently, several primetime movies along with television shows feature bisexual characters and homosexuals mostly in primary roles or even supporting roles. By portraying the homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender negatively or in ways that are stereotypical in nature, the media consciously or unconsciously promotes the concept of heteronormativity. However, some recent American shows and musical series have progressed against heteronormativity since they present the homosexuals and bisexual characters as multifaceted individuals and interesting for reasons that go beyond their identity along with their sexual orientation.

My position concerning the term under scrutiny is that heteronormativity exists in the real world and should continue to exist as the norm since the male-female relations are natural and the only ways through which biological procreation occurs. God created human beings and ordered then to fill the earth through procreation. Homosexuality cannot be the norm since biological procreation cannot occur and adoption is the only means through which they can have children. The opponents of heteronormativity may argue that it may cause the lesbians, gay and bisexuals to feel alienated and alone since the society treats them stereotypically. Besides, they claim that it causes homophobia, transphobia along with biphobia (Muñoz-Laboy et al. 899). The opponents also question the normative form of heterosexuality to be normal and real. However, their arguments can easily be countered. In the Biblical creation story, God created a man, Adam and a woman, Eve and ordered them to procreate and fill the world. Therefore, from the very beginning, heterosexual was the accepted norm.


Conclusively, heteronormativity is the standard and natural sexual orientation. Other forms of sexual orientation such as homosexuality and bisexuality deviate from the norm and values of most cultures. The benefits of heteronormativity cannot be underestimated since biological procreation occurs due to heterosexuality. Besides, the intimate and bisexuality deviate from the norm and values of most cultures. The benefits of heteronormativity cannot be underestimated since biological procreation occurs due to heterosexuality. Besides, the intimate and erotic dimension of heterosexuality is critical for the psych-emotional needs of the individuals.

Works Cited

Hudak, Jacqueline, and Shawn V. Giammattei. "Doing family: Decentering heteronormativity in “marriage” and “family” therapy." Critical Topics in Family Therapy. Springer International Publishing, 2014. 105-115.

Morgan, Elizabeth M., and Laurel R. Davis-Delano. "Heterosexual marking and binary cultural conceptions of sexual orientation." Journal of Bisexuality 16.2 (2016): 125-143.

Muñoz-Laboy, Miguel, et al. "Heteronormativity and sexual partnering among bisexual Latino men." Archives of sexual behavior 44.4 (2015): 895-902.

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