Is being heterosexual out fashion?
In June, more than 26 million people placed a rainbow flag over their Facebook profile pictures to ‘celebrate’ Pride and show their support of same-sex marriage. Also in June, Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce, revealed her new name and image and the world came out to support transgender people. In comparison, rape, sex discrimination, and now adultery, after the Ashley Madison infidelity website was hacked, continue to dominate the news. So where does that leave us heterosexuals? And what do we need to fight for?
It was a historic moment when the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage as legal in every state of America. Shortly before, Ireland also celebrated marriage equality. After Caitlyn’s transformation, or rather reversion to her true self, many transgender people told their stories.
Both homosexuality and transgender people were given a platform big enough to instigate, and put into effect, real change. It was brilliant. And even more brilliant is the positive reception both received.
To think their battles are over is naïve. Currently, Southern States in the US are resisting the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage. Thus, their struggle and fight should not be forgotten like the the Paralympics legacy where those with disabilities in sports rarely make the back-page of a newspaper; the fact Barack Obama is a black man ruling a country where segregation and racism towards black people still exists; or how apartheid South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup.
My battle is not with homosexuality or transgender people and the coverage they have recently received, but with heterosexuality. This week, allegations against actor Bill Cosby for sexual assault were heard by a court. Also this week, infidelity website donning the tagline ‘life is short, have an affair’ Ashley Madison suffered a cyber-attack.
I recently came across this quotation by Charlotte Brunch, an America activist and author: ‘our very strength as lesbians lies in the fact that we are outside of patriarchy; our existence challenges its life’.
It made me question where that leaves heterosexual women: are we trapped in a patriarchy where we came barely find a love interest on dating app Tinder, are at high risk of being sexually objectified, and then when we find a relationship we are to be cheated on? The media has forgotten the good things about us, so is heterosexuality suddenly unfashionable?
When it comes to heterosexuality, my battle is with both the lack of coverage and its mass negative coverage and how it is portrayed.
Some psychoanalytic theories on sexual intercourse argue that sex is an attempt to gain total consumption of the ‘other’. In the case of Bill Cosby, one article argued that he may have preferred his victims to be half-conscious because of the moral aspect of having no retaliation but also because of the domination and power he had over the lifeless individual.
But this is when one does not have a choice. When sexual intercourse is an act carried out by choice, it is an act of pleasure and can be seen as the ultimate act of equality where the male and female body fit perfectly and merge into one another.
The man is ‘in’ the woman’s world and vice versa.
This leads on to an orgasm being referred to as a ‘small death’ in French literature and linguistics which metaphorically means one gives up everything in that moment. Total death of the self in essence can mean giving up one’s entire self, including gender which is the ultimate return to one’s true form before societal constructs.
Why is this important you may be asking? It is important because we need to revive heterosexuality and diminish the view of it being purely negative or a battle between the sexes.
Of course, bisexuals, homosexuals, lesbians and transgender people are not exempt of sexual discrimination, or, to dispute the quotation by Brunch, power structures. Power struggles in all aspects of life exist between regardless of one’s sexuality.
But being heterosexual is not all bad. Yes we do need to continue fighting for equality within relationships, fighting against oppression in sexual relationships, and resisting becoming victims of infidelity.
But we also need to remember that regardless of Tinder and awkward dates, we can find love. We can be equal in a relationship and we can be empowered too. When you find your ‘Big’ you know you are winning. So heterosexuals, continue fighting for your causes but also stand up and be proud.
My views on sexuality stem from Psychoanalytic thought and the belief in the concept of the ‘unconscious’. According to Jacqueline Rose, we all exhibit an ‘unconscious’, a grey area, or a part of ourselves unknown to us. Because we all possess this, ultimately we are all equal. As Sigmund Freud said we are born bisexual, attracted to both sexes, and come into a sexuality through society, I posit the view we all have the potential to be attracted to both sexes. After a conversation with a friend about the media currently extensively covering sexuality and positing the viewpoint we have a grey area (The Guardian article), we concluded it is becoming ‘normal’ to be of any or no sexual orientation; which ultimately is brilliant and a step towards greater equality.