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Heterosexuality, Heteronormativity, and Heteropatriarchy
Heterosexism is maintained by the illusion that heterosexuality is the norm. This illusion is partly kept in place by the visibility of heterosexuality and the invisibility of other forms of sexuality. To consider the pervasiveness of heterosexuality, complete one of the activities listed below.
Go to a pharmacy or other store where greeting cards are sold. Peruse the cards in the Love and Anniversary sections. How many depict heterosexual couples? How many depict same-sex couples? What options are there for customers who wish to buy a card for a same-sex partner? Have these options always been there, in your opinion?
Look at the advertisements in one of your regularly read magazines or websites. How many pictures of heterosexual couples do you find? How many pictures of same-sex couples? If a photo is of a man or woman alone, do you automatically assume the person is heterosexual? Or is that assumption so deep-seated that you don’t even think about it at all? Have you always assumed this?
Watch the commercials during an hour of television. How many images of heterosexual couples do you see? Of same-sex couples? Have these depictions always been there, in your opinion?
Go to the mall or other public place and people watch for one hour. How many heterosexual couples holding hands do you see? How many same-sex couples?