Precinct 333

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Railing Against Biological And Cultual Norms

Biologically, heterosexuality is the norm. After all, the primary purpose of sex is reproduction. To deny that fact is to deny a self-evident reality.

Biology has a big influence on culture. That means gender roles have some connection to biology. While masculinity and femininity may be a social construct to one degree or another, much of it has a basis in the sex roles assigned by nature.

That is why I find the current uproar at Harvard to be somewhat stunning. No, not the Larry Summers thing. I mean the controversy over a speech given by Jada Pinkett Smith at an event sponsored by the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. Pinkett Smith 's talk included a long section on how to be successful in relationships, and in doing so talked about how men and women relate to one another as spouses/partners. In doing so, she made members of the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) "uncomfortable."

BGLTSA Co-Chair Jordan B. Woods ’06 said that, while many BGLTSA members thought Pinkett Smith’s speech was “motivational,” some were insulted because they thought she narrowly defined the roles of men and women in relationships.

“Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable,” he said.

Calling the comments heteronormative, according to Woods, means they implied that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females.

“Our position is that the comments weren’t homophobic, but the content was specific to male-female relationships,” Woods said.

Uh, dude -- standard sexual relationships ARE only between males and females. That is why the hetero/homo ratio is something like 90/10 (if you take the high estimate) or even 95/5 or less. That isn't a put-down, that is simply an acknowledgement of reality. If something takes place 90% or more of the time, then it IS the norm. That isn't a value judgement, that is simply reality.

My suggestion is that you folks get lives and worry about a real issue, not imaginary slights.


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