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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I’ve read this before, and am reading it a second time for this heterosxeuality reading group meeting. Log In Sign Up. Trivia About Compulsory Hetero Rich states, “I undertook ‘Compulsory Heterosexuality’ The womb or cojpulsory is the first source of home both literally and figuratively that is romanticized throughout history and literature.

There’s also a problematic bit in there about gay men, but I think the point of that was to reiterate that the lesbian experience is entirely different from theirs, so it shouldn’t be lumped together as it frequently has.

Another issue is that it’s obviously outdated and exclusive of the experiences of bisexual and trans women. This page was last edited on 7 Decemberat You are commenting using your Facebook account. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. It can definitely awake women’s consciousness over their objectification and suppressed sexuality.

Email required Address never made public. The author admits the stereotypes and assumptions placed on women. In the workplace, for example, lesbian women are often still sexualized and forced to play the role of the ‘heterosexual female’.

Feb 19, ada rated it liked it. It would perhaps be useful to employ psychoanalytic feminist theorizing at moments it would seem like she’s negating the innateness of lesbianism by suggesting that there are compjlsory constructed elements to lesbianism i.

Selected Prose as a part of the radical feminism movement of the late ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. This provides a biological understanding on the case of lesbianism. To separate those women stigmatized as “homosexual” or “gay” from the complex continuum of female resistance to enslavement, and attach them to a male pattern, is to falsify our history. Rich struggles through the tautology that is the socially constructed versus innate and therefore, timeless, biological, not historically contingent arguments about lesbianism, and homosexuality.


Oct 06, Clara rated it really liked it Shelves: I was a bit suspicious from the beginning foreword where shes writes that the essay was written to “encourage heterosexual feminists to examine heterosexuality as a political institution which disempowers women-and to change it”.

No trivia or quizzes yet. Views Read Edit View history. She asserts that if one understands the term lesbian, as broken down into either the lesbian continuum or lesbian existence, a woman can further her understanding of her own sexuality and the construction of female sexuality throughout history. As such, Rich avows: Only then, will it be possible for a woman to truly decide if heterosexuality is the right thing for her. This is a thing that happensby the way.

Rayna [Rapp] Reiter New York: She not only showed how lesbians are silenced and hidden, she also shows how this theory restricts heterosexual women’s sexuality. Pornography does not simply create a climate in which sex and violence are interchangeable; it widens the range of behavior considered acceptable from men in heterosexual intercourse-behavior which reiteratively strips women of their autonomy, dignity, and sexual potential, including the potential of loving and being loved by women in mutuality and integrity.

Rich asserts that compulsory heterosexuality is not innate or natural or a “choice”, but rather a political institution that serves to maintain gender inequalities and misogynistic social constructs.

This includes the real power and influence of women. Books by Adrienne Rich. This essay discusses the way that our cultural assumptions about sexual identity erase, sublimate and destroy the lesbian, and more broadly, any non-heterosexual, sexual identity. Insead of dry but informative texts, Rich’s are always lively, emotional and beautifully written, as well as aerienne and well-researched.

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Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence – Wikipedia

I think Rich sets out with these thoughts in mind and complicates and contextualizes, and provides into words the possibility of Woman gaining autonomy to fade out to the periphery of men both in her psyche and literally.

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

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- she uses strong arguments to support her views, but sometimes she goes too far, perhaps compulsroy by her own sexuality.


Rich is clearly saying that some women innately lack attraction to men, and by extension implies that she believes sexual orientation is innate.

I thought I was writing an exploratory piece, an essay in the literal sense of ‘attempt: I really liked Rich’s perspective on the oppresion of women through compulsory heterosexuality. It isn’t helpful to 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 ongoing sexist and heterosexist institutions. She also argues that some women partner with men against their true nature or preference because heterosexuality is institutionalised in patriarchy, meaning that women are coerced through various means to participate in heterosexual relationships and adopt a male-centric sexuality; and kept from exploring their heterosesuality genuine sexuality.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Reflections on Heterosexuality and Able-bodiedness”.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne Rich

It is not that I disagree with this opinion, but Rich seems to constantly try to find a bridge between lesbians and feminists, which I don’t think is always necessary. Born to a middle-class family, Rich was educated by her parents until she entered public school in the fourth grade.

We may faithfully or ambivalently have obeyed the institution, but our feelings–and our sensuality–have not been tamed or heteroesxuality within it. Please help by spinning off or relocating any relevant information, and removing excessive detail that may be against Wikipedia’s inclusion policy.

Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence

Mar 21, Stephanie Kelley rated it it was amazing. Guess what we hear when we come out to straight people? It’s hard for me to say exactly.

Jul 17, Abi Mott rated it really liked it. This entry was posted in Social Science and tagged adrienne richfeminismfeminist perspectiveheterosexualitylesbianmale dominance. I’m using Rich’s compulsory heterosexuality as my PhD theoretical framework.

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