Heteronormal, and Proud of It!

If it were possible, the founders of Harvard would surely be spinning in their graves today. A group of students at this fine institution of higher learning, which was founded nearly 400 years ago to train preachers of the gospel, are in a tizzy over comments made Saturday by Jada Pinkett Smith, the actress wife of Will Smith.

Smith, who was being honored as the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations’ “Artist of the Year”, made some remarks about her life in particular and relationships between men and women in general–and this was enough to set off the PC alarms:

Students said that some of Pinkett Smith’s remarks concerning appropriate gender roles were specific to heterosexual relationships.

In a press release circulated yesterday by the BGLTSA (Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance)-and developed in coordination with the Foundation-the BGLTSA called for an apology from the Foundation and encouraged future discussion of the issue.
[…]
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.

Free speech? Hello?

What’s astounding is that it isn’t enough to avoid openly homophobic speech anymore, we must avoid even implying that heterosexual relationships are normal to be “thoughtful”.

Excuse me, but have those kids lost their little minds?

This is a stunning example of mind-numbing idiocy. Can we get a volunteer to explain the facts of life to Harvard’s BGLTSA? They obviously don’t know they wouldn’t be here to suck up valuable oxygen if their parents hadn’t engaged in blatantly heteronormative behavior at least once. Horrors!

Harvard will survive, but between this ridiculous episode and the Larry Summers debacle, the institution is on the verge of becoming a running joke. “MBA from Harvard, eh? Very impressive, but do you know the difference between boys and girls?”

Look, “heteronormative” behavior has been the standard for most of the world’s societies for most of history. It’s also the standard declared by the one man in history who claimed to be God and then proved it by coming back from the dead. Choose as you see fit, but that’s good enough for me.

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5 responses to “Heteronormal, and Proud of It!

  1. Andy Golubitsky

    I must say that I am currently not a student at Harvard, rather an Architecture student at Syracuse University, but none the less I am shocked by your comments and how ignorant a man with influence can trully be. It’s very sad when intellectual discource is frowned upon and that when young emerging minds are belittled by confused fundamentalists such as your self.. It is one thing to not overcomplicate matters that have tangible, time proven solutions, but it’s another when a stifling condition in our society renders those attempting to progress intellectual thought as childish and immature. It is our nature as human beings to be inquisitive of the status quo, more so within those possessing elite intellect. It is a lot easier to go along with the crowd.

  2. i’m pretty sure Jesus said nothing about gay people. unless you’re talking about a different man.

    • Actually, he did. Unless you believe Jesus isn’t God, in which case we’re into a whole different discussion. At the very least, though, see Matthew 19:4-6 in which he clearly states that God’s plan of marriage from the very beginning was one man and one woman.

  3. I know this is an old article but I only just stumbled across it. I was looking for intelligent discussion of heteronormativity. Please get your facts right. To say that ‘”heteronormative” behaviour has been the standard for most of the world’s societies for most of history’ shows a blatant lack of understanding of historical context and change. Clearly there’s no way we would ever see eye to eye on the issue you’re discussing, and that’s the free speech you seem so keen on whilst simultaneously denying, but at least try to do your research.

    • So you’re saying heteronormativity has not been the dominant position of most of the world throughout history? I’ve mellowed a bit in the four years since I posted this piece and I would take a different tone today, but the point stands: the fuss over Jada Pinkett Smith’s comments was ridiculous.

      The GLBT kids at Harvard are free to say whatever they like, but they were being silly and oversensitive. Jada Pinkett Smith didn’t criticize their lifestyle choice, she only related her life story and spoke highly of committed relationships. Since she’s heterosexual, her comments were apparently interpreted as heteronormative and they decided to take offense.

      This is a nation where upwards of 95% of us aspire to marry someone of the opposite sex and have kids the old-fashioned way. They’re going to hear some positive talk about heterosexual relationships from time to time. If Pinkett Smith had abused them from the podium, they would have had a point. She didn’t and they don’t. They need to get over themselves.

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