Extended Comments : Belle
Compulsory Heterosexuality has a lot of points that go with it. First off, compulsory has to do with the fact that, being heterosexual is the expected and the first idea that children are usually taught today about couples. To children it is compulsory, it isn't a choice but a way of life. Rich challenges that, why is it that even as adults, this idea of having a compulsory or protocol way of life is so accepted? Rich brings into question why more people don't think about their sexual orientation, and question the social norms. She questions the difference between desire and a person's wants, towards their compulsions and need to fit into society. She stated that she is, "condemned to a life of exile", because she devotes herself as a lesbian and will stand up and be proud of it. But why should she be "exiled", when all she has done is thought through her feelings, and decided on what she wants out of life?
Rich also said that women are afraid to be who they truly are because of not only society but because of men. Men are aggressive and stereotypically violent. Rich states that when men are denied compulsion, they take it in the forms of rape, sexual harassment, and other powers over women. She also brings up another valid stereotype. Women turn to other women, due to hatred of men. "Lesbian existance is also represented as mere refuge from male abuses, rather than an electric and empowering charge between women" (Page 94). Must there always be a default as to why someone breaks social normalities. Why must a woman be running from an abusive man, or hate men in general to be a lesbian? THEY DON'T, yet that is the stereotype that Rich brings into the light in her writing.
There are far too many points in this literary piece to state them all, but I believe I have covored the main ones. Everyone a compulsory heterosexual until they take the time to soul search and figure out what truly makes them happy in life. Women seem to be intimidated by men, and stick to compulsionary life in order to stay normal and accepted. And lastly, that lesbianism is so heavily stereotyped, that a lesbian is marked as a man-hater, a survivor of abuse by a man, or is exiled from society in todays culture.
This was a great piece of literature to coincide with this class. However, it was chock full with information, and valid points by Adrienne Rich. Tomorrow in class, I would like to discuss most of these points since it is impossible to touch base on all of them in one blog. I would love to hear everyone opinion on this writing, and if it was a difficult concept to grasp for anyone.
Some Websites that helped me::
Adrienne Rich's Wiki Background