heterosexuality: political institution that disempowers women. guide to adrienne rich’s article compulsory heterosexuality and lesbian existence. about the. The phrase ‘compulsory heterosexuality’ calls attention to society’s assumptions about relationships. Read about Adrienne Rich’s explanation. COMPULSORY HETEROSEXUALITY AND. LESBIAN EXISTENCE. Adrienne Rich. Originallypublished in , when the relationship between lesbianism.

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Yet, if we forget about this ideology and experiment in order to see what one really needs, then it can truly be a woman’s decision instead of a comphlsory. Jul 31, Blair rated it really liked it.

Women raising healthy daughters and bonding with other women are noble goals that I support wholeheartedly but they are not hetedosexuality acts. She is arguing against the homophobic idea that women pursue relationships with women only because they had bad experiences with men.

But then, after all this, she undermines her message about the naturalness of lesbianism by suggesting that the definition of lesbianism should expand to include experiences that are heterosexualiy lesbian. That serves to imply that only a man can sexually satisfy a woman by delivering a vaginal orgasmand hence that serves to prevent women from having relationships with other women. Rayna [Rapp] Reiter New York: These are furthermore to Rich, obviously formative elements in the creation of compulsory heterosexuality to the point that it is accepted by both men and women in modern Western society as a given.

She not only showed how lesbians are silenced and hidden, she also shows how this theory restricts heterosexual women’s sexuality.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Lixxie Polk on Prezi

Fill in your details below or click an icon to heteerosexuality in: Want to Read Currently Reading Read. A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted to women, and not to men–there are no other criteria for being a lesbian and it doesn’t do us any favours to politicise our sexuality this way and hold it to standards rivh no other sexuality is held to.


Rich argues that part of the lesbian experience is an act of resistance: Her writing is bit all over the place but it was an astounding look at how women’s sexuality was and still is being politicised and socialised so men can further disempower women.

It almost illustrates a cognitive bias towards heterosexuality that shapes all other modes of being as wrong, simply in order to safeguard heterosexual hegemony. This entry was posted in Social Science and tagged adrienne richfeminismfeminist perspectiveheterosexualitylesbianmale dominance.

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It is not that I disagree with this opinion, but Rich seems to co A very interesting reading, although I find some parts relatively narrow-minded- heteroseuxality uses strong arguments to support her views, but sometimes she goes too far, perhaps overwhelmed by her own cmopulsory.

No trivia or quizzes yet. Interested in my writing services? But along with this message comes another, not always recognized: Rich proposes that all women should separate themselves from men and engage in some form of lesbian relationship, whether it leads to a mere lesbian expression at one time or another or an identified lesbian sexuality.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

In order to gain this physical, economical, and emotional access for women, Rich lays out a framework developed by Kathleen Gough both a social anthropologist and feminist that lists “eight characteristics of male power in heterosexxuality and contemporary societies”.

This not-desire can be formed as a lesbian desire or a desire for female-female sexual or romantic relations, but it can also be conceived of as a simple lack of desire for men.

It is to stimulate the claim that women are weak and dependent creatures that require care and sexualization. Books by Adrienne Rich.


At certain points in history, homosexual men and lesbians have shared a social existence, and acknowledged a common fight against society; but Rich writes that to treat the lesbian experience as a version of male homosexuality is to discard it, denying the female experience and the realities it brings, falsifying lesbian history.

Sep 11, martina rated it it was amazing. Nov 11, Star rated it really liked it Shelves: Apr 08, Destynie rated it it was amazing Shelves: Remember me on this computer.

Furthermore, the female learns, from the denial or her sexual agency by maternal, authoritative, and peer figures, that her role in this created sexual binary is simply to submit to males and surrender satisfaction as a male-only prerogative. Such a notion blurs and sentimentalizes the actualities within which women have experienced sexuality[ Aug 11, Noor rated it really liked it.

Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Furthermore, Rich explains that if heterosexuality is the natural way, as it was constructed over time, then women like in her examples would and were seen as deviants of society. But now she says that women “bonding against male tyranny” and “not associating with men” falls on a continuum of lesbianism.

Katie rated it really liked it Feb 25, Retrieved from ” https: This page was last edited on 7 Decemberat It isn’t helpful heterosexualitu theorize about some future utopia when all gender relationships are equal, we have to look at relationships as they stand today, influenced as they are by cpmpulsory sexist and heterosexist institutions.