Heteronormativity is the normalization of behaviour tied to the presumption of heterosexuality, which adheres to a strict gender binary. Gender binary is an important part of heteronormativity because it acknowledges feminine and masculine and nothing else and promoting compulsory heterosexuality. Heteronormativity insists on gender binaries – it is either male or female, black and white with no grey area, blue and pink without considering that there is purple somewhere in between. Heteronormativity doesn’t see the full spectrum of gender.
Butler (2010:) defines gender as, “a stylized repetition of acts”. By implying that gender is an act, it means it is something that can be performed, therefore making it constructed and scripted. So it would be safe to assume that the way one acts, walks, talks, gestures and carries themselves defines their gender and constructs their gender identity, so without the ‘acts’ of gender, there wouldn’t be gender. Butler (2010:407) further more goes on to say that, “the act that one does, the act that one performs is, in a sense, an act that’s been going on before one arrived on the scene”, basically a fancy explanation for ‘scripted’. To put ...
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Mulvey (2010: 61) describes how in the heteronormative society there is also a focus on the phallus as a symbol of power. This phenomenon is known as phallocentrism; it is the system that places an importance on the power that comes with having a phallus thereby creating patriarchy. Where heteronormativity creates a system where heterosexuality is the only acceptable sexuality, phallocentrism creates a system where those who bear a phallus have power. The world comes to be seen through the view of those who have a phallus in what is known as the male gaze Mulvey (2010: 63) however there is a flaw to this phallocentric system: it almost entirely ‘depends on the image of the castrated woman to give order and meaning to its world’ (Mulvey, 2010:56). Its power is in the lack of a woman, so because a woman lacks a phallus, by virtue of nature, a man has power over her.
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