Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence (1980)

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Rich, Adrienne. “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” Signs . 5.4, 1980. 631-660. Electronic. In “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” Adrienne Rich asserts that theories that treat lesbians as lesser people are weak. One idea presented in the text is that heterosexuality is forced upon women by male power and that women who engage in heterosexual relationships submit to this power, thus reinforcing the power relationship. She notes that there is a general assumption that heterosexuality is normal and as well as an “idealization of heterosexual romance and marriage” (Rich, 690). Ultimately, Rich calls for acknowledgement of lesbian existence in theory, in research, and in society. (JJones)

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  • Adrienne Cecile Rich

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