- Subject index
Gender and women's studies is one of the most challenging fields within the social sciences-the dynamics of gender relations and the social and cultural implications of gender constructions offer a lively forum of debate. The Handbook of Gender and Women's Studies presents a comprehensive and engaging review of the most recent developments within the field, including the study of masculinity, the feminist implications of postmodernism, the 'cultural turn' and globalization. The authors review current research and offer critical analyses of women's and gender studies in work, the welfare state, family, education, religion, violence and war and feminist global politics. Edited by three leading academics from Europe and the United States, and with 25 chapters written by scholars based throughout the world, the Handbook situates the most important debates in the field within a uniquely international and interdisciplinary context. The Handbook is a useful introduction to gender theory and an exciting starting-point for fresh debates.
Chapter 18: Thinking Straight, Acting Bent: Heteronormativity and Homosexuality
Thinking Straight, Acting Bent: Heteronormativity and Homosexuality
Thinking straight - heteronormativity, the belief system underlying institutionalized heterosexuality - constitutes the dominant paradigm in Western society. It secures a division of labor and distribution of wealth and power that requires gender, racial categories, class, and sexual hierarchies as well as ideological struggles for meaning and value. In this chapter, I argue that the preoccupation with gender in feminist scholarship obscures the significance of heterosexuality as a primary institution complete with organizing rituals and disciplining practices that regulate acting bent. While gender is a central feature of heteronormativity, it is institutionalized heterosexuality that is served by dominant or conventional constructions of gender, not the other way around. Shifting the focus from ...