it’s, like…astonishing how you don’t really notice heteronormativity and compulsive heteronormativity until you’re outside of it. i brought it up at dinner today while we were joking about my little sister potentially being a lesbian, and my mom said she didn’t think that in our house it was like that.
which it’s not: our house is a very safe and welcoming environment. but my sister (who’s eleven going on twelve) doesn’t spend all day at our house. and besides, our house can be like that.
my parents never say “hey, are there any girls you’ve got your eye on?” I know because every time they ask about a boy, I jump in with “or girls, or anyone else, it doesn’t matter”. especially my dad. it’s just - heteronormativity is so prevalent and yet it’s so…niche. they’re nuances, things no one really picks up on. for every gay couple that’s spotlighted in a movie, there are at least a hundred straight couples in a hundred straight movies. for every commercial with gay people, a thousand with straight people. (an exaggeration, but still.) and ever worse: for every lesbian couple spotlighted in a movie…well, what lesbian couples? i can’t remember the last film i watched where there was a real, healthy, legitimate lesbian or f/f relationship - or any f/f relationship at all. heteronormativity is just so overwhelming and it’s tucked right underneath reality so you don’t see it unless you’re looking, unless you know it’s there.
and in the outside world, anything can and does happen. i’m willing to bet money that my sister’s friends never even approach the idea of liking a girl the way they’re supposed to “like” boys. and i bet that if there was that idea, there would be a lot more people willing to accept it, because i know there aren’t a lot of great eleven-year-old boys in my sister’s grade, and if she’d grown up knowing that liking girls the way she now believes she’s meant to like boys was just as okay, i bet by now she would have a crush on a girl.
billboards with straight couples. ads for kay jewelers that say “she” and “he”. matching his and hers shirts. parents, grandparents, family friends all asking if she’s met any “nice boys” (which is basically an oxymoron in sixth grade). and above all:
there’s so much heteronormativity that i can say “[insert female friend’s name] is so cool i love her i would marry her” and no one bats an eye, but if i say “ugh there’s this kid in my class named aidan and i hate him he’s my arch-nemesis”, my parents immediately joke about how we’re secretly in love.
but yeah, mom. heteronormativity doesn’t exist anymore.