The invention of Heterosexuality


The most powerful paragraph I have read in a while:

The idea of heterosexuality as the master sex from which all others deviated was (like the idea of the master race) deeply authoritarian.  The doctors’ normalization of a sex that was hetero proclaimed a new heterosexual separatism – an erotic apartheid that forcefully segregated the sex normals from the sex perverts. The new, strict boundaries made the emerging erotic world less polymorphous — safer for sex normals.  However, the diea of such creatures as heterosexuals and homosexuals emerged from the narrow world of medicine to beconme a commonly accepted notion only in the early twentieth century. In 1901, in the comprehensive Oxford Dictionary, “heterosexual” and “homosexual” had not yet made it.

–From The invention of Heterosexuality. Jonathan Ned Katz. 1990. Socialist Review v.20, n.1
The article challenges the idea that the category of heterosexuality is natural and timeless.  It was invented at the same time as the category of homosexuality (in North America and Europe).
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s