Greetings, Dialecticbitches! Are you heteronormative? Find out with this FUN QUIZ!
All you have to do for each question is decide which picture shows a romantic relationship, and which shows a platonic one. Let’s go!
If you answered mostly B’s, congratulations, you are not heteronormative!
If you answered mostly A’s, congratulations, you ARE heteronormative! You may now take your job at the daily mail.
Don’t believe me? The following are captions from the daily mail’s gossip pages, judging the affection displayed by each of the pairings:
1) Pic A “Finally some couple time: Rob and Kristen catch up in the back of their chauffeur driven car”
1) Pic B “Kristen Stewart held hands with her live-in gal pal Alicia Cargile outside a bookstore in downtown Los Angeles last Saturday”
‘Live-in Gal Pals’? Who hold hands? Really?!
Okay, 2) Pic A “ PDA fest: lovebirds Kendall and Harry… getting very close, confirming they are far more than friends.”
Not exactly a ‘PDA fest’, though, is it. I think the term you were looking for is ‘hostage situation’ :P… to quote Harry’s sister
2) Pic B “Hug it out: The former X Factor star was also spotted giving a friend a hug while sporting his two-tone shorts”
umm… I wouldn’t really describe that as a hug. ‘Tender embrace’ is perhaps more accurate. Or even “PDA fest”, as you so wrongly attributed to the picture before. But potato tomato 😉
Moving on, 3) Pic A “Hush hush: Despite being pictured together, the reported couple are keeping their romance under the radar”
Oh, so apparently all you have to do to be considered a “romance” is get “pictured together”. So if that’s the case, you guys must think this next picture is the ROMANCE OF THE CENTURY…
3) Pic B “Cara appeared a bit concerned as she eyed her friend”
Her ‘FRIEND’! asdfghjkl;’!!1 When was the last time you TONGUED one of your friends?
Yeah, I bet it was a “short romance”, given that it looks like they can’t stand the sight of each other…
You were very quick to get the words “close friendship” in there, weren’t you? Had to explain that one away verrrry quickly. I wonder why that is?
So why did I collate these picture captions? This is not meant as speculation on the sexuality of any of the above celebrities (although I deliberately chose them in particular as their sexuality is sort of up in the air at the moment (although Cara is widely seen as bisexual, despite never having actually said those words). My intent is not to ‘out’ famous people, instead I want to talk about the mentality behind those picture captions and how in a broader sense they are indicative of the assumptions we all make.
Now you may have noticed that in each of the captions above, the main judgement criteria of the person writing them as to whether the people shown are “loved up” or “BFFs” comes down to one thing. GENDER. Rather than looking at the actual levels of affection displayed between the two (as in my opinion each of the same-sex pairings look more affectionate than the opposite-sex pairings), they automatically conclude that man + woman = banging; woman + woman = THEY’RE SUCH GOOD FRIENDS, RIIIGHT!1!
This is what is commonly referred to as heteronormativity.
So what is heteronormativity? Heteronormativity is assuming that everyone is straight, unless proven otherwise. It’s that people will view a man and a woman next to each other as obviously romantic, whereas if it’s two people of the same sex then it’s often rationalized as them just being friends.
As a point of reference, let’s look back at the sort of captions a (formerly) closeted person used to get before she came out…
“Cute couple: Ellen and Alexander were spotted arriving back at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday” (x)
YOU CAN JUST SEE THE LOVE THERE, CAN’T YOU?! 😛
The Daily Mail didn’t report on this picture, however the queer-girl website afterellen.com were quick to refer to this kiss as a “Clever publicity ploy”. It’s refreshing to see that not only can straight publications can make gendered assumptions about relationships, but now gay girls can do it too! YAY! 😦
Fortunately, queer celebrities are starting to fight back against this, and thus challenging all of us to question why we think in the narrow and constricting way that we do. For instance, rapper Angel Haze called out the media for referring to their girlfriend as a ‘friend’, saying “we fuck and friends don’t fuck”. Preach.
Lady Gaga has also deftly taken down the heteronormative assumption that her bisexual identity is just a publicity stunt when she told her critics “It’s not a lie that I am bisexual and anyone [who thinks] ‘she just says she’s bisexual for marketing’… this is who I am and who I have always been.”
Hopefully, if celebrities keep challenging the double standard in the way that they are portrayed, and we can in turn become more aware of our own heteronormative assumptions, perhaps one day we will determine whether people are a couple based on the love and affection they show, rather than on their gender.