Sarcastic Saturday :: 6 points refuting “heterophobia”

20 Feb


6. As in the style of meninism or reverse racism, heterophobia does not actually exist, because heterosexuals occupy a privileged place in society.
Society as a whole is and has always been heterocentric.  Heterosexuals are allegedly 90% of the population (I don’t entirely believe that statistic, I have to admit, because of the nature of the subject being sensitive enough that pollers might lie, not be aware, or might simply not be found – I have a fair amount of queer friends, and I don’t know of any of us who have ever been polled about such a thing, and I also don’t know where these polls were taken and when, but I digress) so they’re seen as the norm.  And okay.  90% is the majority.  But 10%, assuming the statistic is true, is still over 700 million people.  That’s not an insignificant number.  Heterocentrism is not saying, however, that heterosexuals are just the majority.  It’s saying that heterosexuals are the norm.  That everyone not heterosexual is other and lesser.  It’s assuming that everyone is heterosexual and not presenting other options.

5. Non-heterosexual people have many justified reasons for being “afraid,” wary, or distrustful of heterosexual people.
They may have had experiences with heterosexual people being unaccepting in a variety of ways, from passive-aggressively pretending their sexuality does not exist to targeting them in attacks or hate crimes. They may have grown up in an environment that was generally hostile to the idea of non-heterosexual people, and may be used to needing to hide their sexuality in order to keep their job, housing, or social circle. It is the same principle as Schrodinger’s Rapist – they can’t tell from just looking at you whether or not you’ll be accepting of them, and often it’s safer to be wary than to be sorry later.

4. “Heterophobia” is a buzzword that heterosexual people like to throw out when confronted with issues of media or real life representation for queer people.
This may take a couple of paths.  One, a weird potential psychological technique that works like: “oh, those gays and all of them must be liberals and because liberals try to be sensitive to discrimination, if we tell them they’re discriminating against us they’ll feel guilty and have to stop!”  Two, some convoluted train of thought that often happens when people say “well, if this character/person is straight it’s actually more harmful because they did/are a stereotypical queer thing, so they should just be straight and if you say otherwise you’re a heterophobe!”

3. As per the above, “heterophobia” is a way of appropriating the marginalization that queer people experience in order to induce guilt.
This is pretty self-explanatory and pretty tied into the rest.  (Funny how when marginalized people ask non-marginalized people to stop saying/doing discriminatory things the non-marginalized people say the marginalized people are being “too sensitive” and either need to “toughen up” or “take a joke,” depending on the context, but when non-marginalized people even feel remotely discriminated against by marginalized people it’s okay to call it discrimination and criticize it.

2. Crying “heterophobia” is a way for heterosexual people to prioritize their feelings over queer people’s feelings.
No one likes to be made fun of, of course, but all too often it is heterosexual people’s first reactions to be upset when queer people criticize and/or joke about heterosexuality. It’s likely an instinctive reaction, which is fine, but many people don’t bother to try to push past that initial reaction to consider what is actually being said. They react because their feelings have been hurt, and because they prioritize those hurt feelings over listening to the feelings of others.

1. The jokes queer people make at the expense of heterosexual people are largely about blowing off steam and/or using humor to diffuse their anxiety, whereas jokes at the expense of queer people are almost always rooted in bigotry.
A Tumblr post, for example, that says “the heteros are making me upsetero” is a tongue-in-cheek way to express one’s frustration (and love of bad puns). But jokes about U-hauling lesbians and effeminate gay men made by heterosexual people are at best stereotypical and mean-spirited and at worst hateful and othering. The rule of thumb in humor is punch up, don’t punch down. Making jokes about those who have more power or privilege than you is completely different than making jokes about someone who is at a disadvantage to you. It’s the difference between making jokes about your boss and making jokes about your intern, in other words.

–your fangirl heroines.



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