Straight The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality

[Read] ➪ Straight The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality By Hanne Blank – Like the typewriter and the light bulb the heterosexual was invented in the 1860s and swiftly transformed Western culture The idea of “the heterosexual” was unprecedented After all men and women h Like the typewriter and Surprisingly Short eBook ☆ the light bulb the heterosexual was invented in the s and swiftly transformed Western culture The idea of “the heterosexual” was unprecedented After all men and women had been having sex marrying building families and sometimes even falling in love for millennia without having any special name for their Straight The PDF/EPUB or emotions or acts Yet within half a century “heterosexual” had become a byword for “normal” enshrined in law medicine psychiatry and the media as a new gold standard for human experience With an eclectic scope and fascinating detail Straight tells the eye opening story of a complex and often contradictory man made creation that The Surprisingly Short Epub Þ turns out to be anything but straight or narrow.Straight The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality

Hanne Blank is a Surprisingly Short eBook ☆ writer and historian Periodicals which have featured her work include Penthouse In These Times Southwest Art Lilith Bitch Feminist Response to Pop Culture the Balti CityPaper the Boston Phoenix Santa Fean Magazine and others Her short fiction and essays are freuently anthologizedMs Blank's work has been reviewed in The Straight The PDF/EPUB or New York Times The Chicago Sun Times The W.

Straight The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality
  • Hardcover
  • 228 pages
  • Straight The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality
  • Hanne Blank
  • English
  • 04 October 2016
  • 9780807044438

10 thoughts on “Straight The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality

  1. says:

    Whaaat? This 228 page book of nonfiction thought provoking accessibly written goodness ends on page 166? With the remaining pages all being annotations and bibliography and index? Ok that gets the obligatory Darth Vader 'nooooooooo' out of the way and we can safely continue without the danger of the world implodingI loved this book I've bookmarked roughly a billion of uotes and I enjoyed the discussions some of them led to in the comments to me posting them This book is written in a very accessible way and is a lovely overview of the subject that Hanne Blank wants to introduce the reader to the challenge of the concept that by now seems so ingrained in our minds and our culture that it seems almost silly to uestion it the concept of heterosexuality What Blank sets out to discuss is the idea of the newness of this concept the influence of the contemporary culture on the idea of it the way it served and continues to serve the agenda and the doxa of our sexuality on that later and the evolution of this seemingly stable concept over time And in her tracing of the lifetime of the concept of heterosexuality she touches upon the 'science' or pseudoscience of it the history of marriage the contraception the concept of romantic love the idea of sexual pleasure and of course Freud the man whom I would love to shake to his senses through some kind of a time loopIn order to understand her arguments Hanne Blank makes sure the readers are familiar with the concept of doxa which she explains as the 'everybody knows' idea When anthropologists talk about this stuff everyone knows they use the term 'doxa' Doxa comes from Greek for 'common knowledge' and that's a pretty good description of what it is the understanding we absorb from our native culture that we use to make sense of the world Doxa is uite literally in most cases the stuff 'that goes without saying' the assumptions and presumptions and 'common sense' ideas we have about our world and how it works Virtually everything we know about sexuality and heterosexuality we know or think we know because of doxaHanne Blank then takes this concept and goes on to show how we have arrived at our current mainstream and often presented as the only and valid understanding of sexuality and specifically what we perceive as solid and unchanging heterosexuality Concluding at the end of this lovely constructed introductory overview to this flawed and fascinating subject in tone of what she's been arguing about in this book about the changing concept of something that many choose to see as solid and eternal and set in stone And this too shall pass And in no particular order here are the bits and pieces that I liked letting the book speak for itself The freuent and well deserved jabs and stabs at Siegmund Freud a man whose works we are all familiar with despite as Blank notes barely anyone actually having read them seriously most of the Freud's stuff most people know doxa??? we have actually learned through someone else telling us about them in countless texts self help manuals and all that stuff Oh dear Freud hell bent on his ideas of what should be the proper sexuality especially for all those hysterical women By the 1930s thanks to Freud's students and followers who carried on his work both before and after Freud's death in 1939 the idea that vaginal orgasm was the only valid heterosexual orgasm for women had gathered an extraordinary amount of steamAmong many beliefs that Freud shared with his generally well off bourgeois peers was a deep nearly mystical belief in the importance of penis in vagina copulation The crackdown on slut shaming and everything else that people perceive as out of normal not consistent with their sex doxa There is no meaningful word for the middle of that bell curve the space that fits comfortably inside the boundaries of doxa the space that most people occupy most of the time Nameless and characterless the space we can loosely characterize as 'normal' is almost completely undefinedThis is why 'slut' and 'prude' 'pervert' and 'deviant' all work so well as insults and as ways to police the boundaries of sex doxa The labels are effortless to deploy and hard even impossible to defend against As any woman who has been the subject of slut shaming knows all too well and about two out of three American women deal with this while they are still in high school according to a 1993 study done by the American Association of University Women the victim has no traction Presenting the desire to find that 'something' that clearly separates the 'normal' from the 'deviant' as basically a need for some kind of reassurance The self identification of small numbers of sexually non normative individuals was not something that generated a sensibility of 'the heterosexual' or 'the normal sexual' in the rest of the population What generated this sensibility in the mainstream was the increasingly common experience of looking into the mirror to see if a deviant or a degenerate looked backIt is a conceit we are reared on how many children's stories have evil characters who are hideous or deformed and good ones who are beautiful? we stigmatize the disabled the deformed and the just plain funny looking on the basis of their bodies assuming them to be stupid or incompetentWe do this where sex is concerned too Even now despite there being no proof for it whatsoever many people are still profoundly attached to the idea that having penetrative sex for the first time permanently changes a woman's body that you can tell that a woman is no longer a virgin by the width of her hips or the way she walks Physical and biological scientists who look for evidence of distinctive 'gay' bodies whether in terms of genes or hormones or brains or gross anatomical features like fingers or genitals are working from the same principle In order to look for evidence of a physically or biologically distinctive 'gay' body an additional assumption is necessary that there is also a distinctive 'non gay' body from which to draw comparisons The reminders of how contraception changed the world including the entire concept of family and heterosexuality itself shifting the emphasis in relationships from unavoidable procreation and child rearing to pleasure and companionship Pregnancy had always been a fraught time gradually interfering with women's physical function even when it doesn't bring serious discomforts and complications It has always meant a prospect of another mouth to feed What we often forget from our first world perch with its hospital births antibiotics and antiseptic procedures is that until the twentieth century childbirth was also deadly The sardonic look at our culture's preoccupation despite everything we know or think we know about sexuality with penis in vagina sex as the only normative sex there is But Viagra ads make it clear that Viagra fueled erections are intended for vaginal penetration the one distinctive act of 'heterosexual sex' and the only fully legitimate source of sexual pleasure for most of Western historyFor Hitschman and Bergler 'frigidity' had a single criterion 'absence of vaginal orgasm' The standard was unualified and absolute A woman who did not enjoy intercourse frigid Women who derived sexual pleasure from acts other than intercourse were frigid too Nothing else mattered only whether a woman had an orgasm because a man's penis was inside her vagina Sexually aggressive women were labeled 'frigid' because of the association between masculinity and aggressiveness Womanhood that was not passive was not properly womanly Frigidity as Jane Gerhadt points out thus became a label and a diagnosis that defined how much sexual desire a woman must have and in what kinds of sexual behavior she must engage to be 'healthy'In virtually every culture we know to be a sexually active man is to penetrate with the penis and to be a sexually active female is to be penetrated by one The medieval English take on it was that in sex there are two partners 'the man that doeth and the woman that suffereth'It meant that the man not the woman engaged in sexual activity he penetrated while the woman merely permitted it to be done And finally this We want women to be secure enough in the pursuit of their own pleasure to pick out vibrators of their choice in friendly feminist owned sex shops but we don't want them to prefer vibrators to men We want men to be virile experienced and highly sexually skilled but not to prioritize sex over love or to refuse marriage and fatherhood We are anxious to experience sexual pleasure and plenty of it but only if it happens to the right people at the right ages in the right combinations The original pre review I read the Google Books preview of this book and found it to be interesting and written in a very accessible way It made me want to read the whole thing and so I'm on the waiting list for it at my library and will post the full review as soon as I get it and finish it Yes this book has a few inaccuracies and relies on uite a bit of oversimplification but I do appreciate the fact that it should be understandable to the 'average Joe' Yes you can say it pushes its agenda but I don't mind since I fully agree with the said agendaIn the meantime while I wait for it to become available I will leave you with some of the uotes that I found interesting from the introduction and part of the first chapter There are no such things as opposite genders any than a strawberry is the opposite of a plum They are merely different In truth sexual activity is social activity Our culture is often loath to recognize this although we do embrace the idea that sexual activity can be about the social function of expressing affection and intensifying social and emotional bonds Indeed many people believe that sex is only justified by love But sexual activity has many other social roles to play It can be a reward a mode of exchange a way to affirm loyalty or an appeasement It can be a commodity a way of providing reassurance and a rite of passage As a source of pleasure it has few euals It's an age old means of asserting dominance and a visceral mode by which to demonstrate submission It can further be a means of gaining control a way to humiliate and violate and a way to punish And any given sex act no matter who engages in it and often will involve than one of these dynamics Sexual desire what we like or want and sexual behavior what we actually do are not the same thing and may or may not be related And last we must bear in mind that the relationships between perception thought emotion and behavior are neither automatic nor consistent In many cases they are demonstrably affected or directed by culture and socialization We don't just want what we want because we want it; we want what we want because that's what we've learned to want

  2. says:

    This is a goldmine of a book It's so short and yet it has vital information that helps combat the idea that people's sexuality fit nicely in either box A or B Biology and psychology have been telling us for years that human sexuality is of a spectrum but it's important to know just how and why our ancestors felt the need to start policing it I really like Hanne Blank's writing because it is accessible and doesn't talk down to the reader so there's no need to be shy just give it a go

  3. says:

    “We don't just want what we want because we want it; we want what we want because that's what we've learned to want”The GoodI like books that teach me about what I think I already know Take the blunt force “common knowledge” doxa and pull it apart until you have a finer nuanced understanding of the world This was one of those kinds of books It brought together a lot of information some familiar to me some new and traced the history of heterosexualityI’m a ueer lesbian asexual and it was refreshing to have the centered position taken apart for a change I don’t subscribe to an innate biological “born this way” approach to sexuality If people were born straight and all that implies in 2016 then there would’ve been a word for it a long time ago Way longer than the 1800s While none of this information was brand new to me with one exception which I’ll get to momentarily the book pulled information together in a coherent way including some information I knew but had not thought of as necessarily related to sexuality The process of ethnically diverse European immigrants “becoming white” in the States in part through dating and then intermarriage was an angle I had never consideredNow the surprise Blank mentions almost offhandedly that in cultures without a concept of “romantic love” people generally don’t experience it I know it’s outside of her thesis but I wish she had devoted a little to this truth bomb or at lest footnoted it with where to read I’ve tweeted her to ask; I’ll let you know if she gets backThe BadBlank really wants her relationship to be “ueer” I’m not here to police other people’s sexual identities but as a ueer woman without the option to “shelter under the sturdy roof of straightness” it just made me uncomfortable Her partner is assigned male at birth identifies and lives as a man and has functional “male” genitals Blank as far as I know is likewise assigned female lives as a woman and explicitly identifies herself as femme But her partner is XXY intersex which she claims makes them a ueer couple They might be two ueer people in a couple but that coupling is straightThey weren’t at publication married but in 2012 they could’ve if they wanted anywhere in the country I know her partner looks androgynous and sometimes is mistaken for a woman but for social and legal reasons they’re straightI had the same problem with this as with Blank’s other history of sexuality Virgin There was just not enough inclusion of ueer issues and what was there was awkwardly worded and badly researched I know her focus is on heterosexuality but there was almost nothing about trans issues I think the existence of trans people in opposite gender relationships with cis or other trans people is hugely relevant to a shifting understanding of what it means to be “heterosexual” but the only two mentions were somewhat tragic For all Blank is an academic she doesn’t have a good grasp of LGBT terminology Billy Tipton was not “a woman” Billy Tipton was a man Blank’s assertion that he was discovered to be “a woman” is not a direct uote; a responsible researcherreporter should have uoted that incorrect understanding and then corrected it She also uses “transsexual” which is definitely not standard trans terminology these daysI knocked an entire star off of my rating for all of thatJudging a Book by Its CoverThis isn’t really the kind of book that sells by its cover It’s not uite as academic as I’d expect from a textbook but it’s not as clever or funny as say Mary Roach’s Bonk It’s priced like a popular science book not a textbook The cover design is completely unremarkable but I imagine you’d have to have an interest in the topic before you picked it up and not the other way aroundtl;drThis book wasn’t a bad review of heterosexuality pulling together a lot of background information in an illuminating way This falls in an uncomfortable space between academic and popular; it’s too shallow to be an academic text but too dry to be much fun as a popular text I’d recommend it to a certain type of person on an infamous blue website before they start spouting off about what they don’t fully understand

  4. says:

    The fact that it took me four fucking months to finish this says a lot Okay there were only three days of actual reading but still four months That's unprecedentedIt's not that there are any glaring flaws or inaccuracies or an unlikeable writing style It's of a pamphlet than a book at 180 pages of writing plus 60 of bibliography and notes I know but it's informative and eye opening even though some of the information was incomplete Kinsey scale anyone? Is nobody gonna mention that? Or the fact that Ulrichs himself was not only homosexual but also possibly transgender?The main factor that led to my lack of investment is that the whole book feels a little scattered not uite tight and cohesive enough to allow the reader to drink in the information and instead leading him along a meandering path of excursuses and notes until the very endIt's all good and fun but tbh I'm just relieved to be done with it

  5. says:

    I almost never read non fiction unless forced and this was not an exception I wasn't expecting much when I picked up this book to read for a class but I actually enjoyed it The title was interesting enough and the content serves as a huge eye opener There are so many things I learned from this book and it also made me rethink many things I thought I knew This might be the most interesting book I've ever read for school This book puts romance novels in a bad light basically accuse them of brainwashing the public While I understand the concern I am in no way inclined to give up romance novels I do recognize the discrepancies between these novels and reality I love romance novels they're my preferred genre because I would rather not read a novel that discusses real world issues That is just depressing and the whole purpose of my reading is to find an escape from the stress in life Okay so the book talked way than about romance novels There's actually a lot of things that I never even thought about and you have to read the book to understand what I'm talking about While I certainly understand the points the author is trying to make and I mostly agree with her I find it depressing

  6. says:

    This isn't a bad book per se but it's curiously pointless While Blank sets out to limn the history of heterosexuality as a concept what she really ends up doing at great length and to little new effect is to write about the legal and social concepts of marriage companionate and otherwise and the cultural history of dating None of this is fresh none of this has not been done dozens of times before decades before most thoroughly and from a deeply informed historical andor philosophical perspective None of this illuminates our current understanding of what's heterosexual and what's homosexual In fact beyond the brief personal revelations that open and close the volume there's virtually nothing here I haven't read many many times over I guess I just can't imagine who's the audience for this book Anyone seriously interested in the subject of sexuality sexualgender identity and the history of how society and individuals assign labels is not going to find anything fresh interesting or particularly useful here And those who aren't especially interested or knowledgeable are probably not going to read or seek out this book Sooo?

  7. says:

    A topic near and dear to my heart as an asexual woman who is nominally without any interest in people but is dating a woman comfortable with my aromantic affection and thus doubly confused when people attempt to label me 'straight' as if my lack of attraction is somehow given the rubber stamp of approval by people who identify as heterosexual and as if the label straight is so clear cut as that Update as of 2019 I'm fairly sure I am just a lesbian with a traumatic pastI really wanted to give this four stars it's a topic I enjoy so I want to be kind to it but it was not a very exciting read even though I enjoyed and mostly agreed with what Blank was saying It took me about two and a half months to drag my way through it and I found a lot of excuses to set it aside and read something else like fluffy ueer romances I was surprised to find out how short this book is; it looks thick but almost a uarter of it is notes and citations Not unusual for nonfiction but surprising given that this is still a short book at under 250 pages with pretty big textAnd as others have said Blank also sort of skims over trans people in this book I understand that's an whole other can of worms and that a history of transgender people would make this book explode in size but considering how heavily she hits on the fact that her partner is intersex I'd assumed she'd give it than the lip service it turned out to be She also spends a fair amount of time musing over whether or not her relationship with her partner is straight or not and whether or not her attraction to him is heterosexual it almost seemed like the entire basis for the book which felt inappropriate A winding road leading to we're not straight when a accurate answer would be we're mostly straight depending on the contextIt's an okay starting point for anyone interested in heterosexuality and how it came to be as a concrete concept separate from homosexuality but there's definitely to it than Blank covers in this book and the way she presents it feels a bit self centered and offputting

  8. says:

    Insanely informative compellingly written and exhaustively researched Straight is one of those Well I didn't know that did YOU know that? kind of books Because of that the tone is sometimes smug and lacking in subtlety but perhaps that's what's called for here The thesis of the book is that heterosexuality and as a conseuence its oppositional characterization homosexuality has only really been a concept for a short period of time and that its entire existence is based on the perception of the real and people's collective desires to adhere to example and conventional wisdom than it is anything real While some things will no doubt piss people off there's no gay gene and no scientific basis for Born this Way but astute readers will notice that there's no straight gene either and that no one is born any way but potentially every way which is going to shake some folks' self images to the core again this is perhaps a sign that the book is working and shaking the reader over the line to a new paradigm where being defined by law the church other people's morality or anything other than ourselves is an outmoded concept and certainly not a binary operation with simple oppositional classifications This would make a great addition to any health or sexuality class it's certainly cited well enough

  9. says:

    Not what I was hoping for While I think a discussion of how something as fluid as sexuality became binary with one of the options being labeled as abnormal would be useful Hanne seems interested in devoting pages to wondering how penis in vagina sex became the standard Her flawed arguments and poor techniue just got to be too much for me Sure maybe she's right that Viagra targets hetero couples because we've all been trained to think of erect cocks and their insertion into vaginas as the very symbol of male virility and power Of course it could also be because Pfizer isn't stupid and has done the basic math to figure out that a multi million dollar ad campaign is best targeted to 90% of the population rather than 10%

  10. says:

    It's a good short history of a concept most of us take for granted Heterosexuality It is at times oddly paced giving a lot of attention to some historic phases and for people who have read thought or lived on the construction of gendersexual identity the book might be a bit too 101 introduction level Overall I can recommend it

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