Are Liberals Trying to Pathologize Heterosexuality? Re: Heteropessimism – Liberals Trying to Reinvent the Wheel
I recently saw an article from left leaning Salon magazine that discussed “heteropessimism.”
Liberals didn’t like celibacy and ‘virginity-unti-marriage’ until a lot of liberal, feminist women got burned out by and felt cheated by feminist “sex positivity,” so they took the good, old fashioned Christian and conservative concepts of monogamy, slapped the word “radical” in front of it and began arguing that sexual self control and restraint may be a good thing (as long as it’s not associated with that icky Christianity, conservatism, old fashioned values, or Purity Culture – eye roll here).
Now, those left- of- center seem hell bent on shaming heterosexuals for being heterosexual, or convincing them that heterosexuality is so passe’ and awful.
Some of this seems really bogus to me, considering that a percentage of American homosexuals claimed they wanted to have the ability for a man to legally wed another man – in other words, some homosexuals were claiming they wanted to mimic aspects of heterosexuality.
So it makes little sense for liberals to turn around and say that being heterosexual is blase’ and miserable (even if some married heteros do admit that marriage was not the fantasy they had hoped it would be) and that heterosexuals can learn a thing or two from homosexuals.
If this were true, why would homosexuals want to practice some of the same things that heteros do, like get married and have children?
I’m a never married hetero lady, and I’m here to say there’s nothing wrong with heterosexuality or with hetero marriage.
The issue is not hetero marriage or being hetero itself, but that secular culture and Christian churches have had the sad tendency in decades past to “over sell” marriage.
The reality is that you’re not going to find your meaning, purpose, identity and happiness (certainly not sustained happiness) in marriage, or not in marriage alone, no matter what romance novels, Hollywood Rom Coms, or your typical pro-marriage Christian sermon says.
What happens is that secular culture and obsessively pro-marriage Christians “promise big” on marriage and parenthood, but once people actually marry and have a child or two, they realize that no, marriage and parenthood aren’t the Norman Rockwell, Hallmark Card they had been promised.
Too often, church and culture portray marriage and parenting as though they will be fairy tales.
The conservative Federalist site is upset that some mothers have been getting real about motherhood lately and publishing their anecdotes about how boring, stressful, or difficult motherhood can be.
There’s nothing wrong with being heterosexual or having a hetero marriage, so far as it goes, but I do see a problem with a secular or religious culture that paints an unrealistic picture of marriage.
It’s one that can let people down, once they actually do marry and realize their partner is not a perfect dreamboat who can save them or magically make their life better.
I have more to say below this link and excerpt – the church was already given a solution to this problem via the New Testament, which I will explain below:
July 4, 2022
It’s time to examine alternative ways of living and loving found in other cultures and LGBTQAI+ communities
By Jennifer Hamilton
…Heteropessimism is a new word for an intuitive, possibly very old, concept in white Western culture. Coined in 2019 by writer Asa Seresin, heteropessimism is an attitude of disappointment, embarrassment or despair at the state of heterosexual relations – specifically about being in one.
Seresin’s definition is useful because this pessimism is accompanied by the paradoxical practice of sticking with heterosexuality in its current forms, even as it is judged to be “irredeemable.”
Seresin now uses the term “heterofatalism” to emphasise how dire, hopeless, and lacking in visions for an alternative, this attitude is.
So what is heteropessimism?
Heteropessimism describes a negative attitude that pervades heterosexual culture, within many of the men and women who co-create it.
Heteropessimism does not necessarily imply violent or harmful relationships, overt sexism, abuse or even a hierarchy. In fact, many heteropessimistic relationships likely start with real desire for romantic, sexual and intimate connection.
Heteropessimism describes something more mundane. It’s a pervasive disappointment, ambivalence, if not doubt, about the quality of the lived heterosexual experience.
It is either unhappily ever after, or living with compromises that are fundamentally unsatisfactory. While life can be a little disappointing at times, the problem with heteropessimism is the negativity stifles thinking about how things could be different.
It is easy to find examples of heteropessimism in culture. Stories that highlight the power of female friendship or sisterly love (from “Sex and the City” to “Frozen”), often do so by comparing it to the disappointments of heterosexual romance.
… So, why are heterosexuals so pessimistic about heterosexuality?
Many couples feel resentful in relationships with unequal caring responsibilities. This imbalance was given a new clarity during COVID.
…Where do we go from here?
There are established alternative ways of living and loving in other cultures and LGBTQAI+ communities. These include expanded kinship arrangements with friends or family, platonic or romantic polyamorous relationships, or even just good relationship therapy.
…But a feature of heteropessimistic culture is that proponents are uninterested in, even hostile to, such possibilities.
Although heteropessimism as a concept is useful in raising awareness of an enduring cultural problem, pessimism can’t help solve it.
— end excerpts —
There’s already a solution for this, and no, it’s not found only in “LGBTQ” communities. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel.
The apostle Paul and other writers of the New Testament already had a solution for anyone not in a heterosexual Nuclear Family, but too often, the church does not want to look at it and practice it, which is:
the church, composed of believers in Jesus, is supposed to meet the companionship needs, and other needs, of other believers in Jesus.
That is, if you’re a believer in Jesus, other believers are now your brothers and sisters in Jesus, and Jesus and other New Testament persons indicate you should be able to count on that spiritual family just as solidly, if not more so, than a biological family.
Jesus taught that your spiritual family is to take priority over your biological family, your spouse, your Nuclear Family – but most Christians will not accept this.
(See (Link): Matthew 12: 46-50 and (Link): Matthew 10: 37,38 for more about how Jesus discouraged his followers from prioritizing biological family or spouse above devotion to God or above spiritual family, as today’s American conservatives tend to do.)
The church, for too many years, has prioritized The Nuclear Family, Marriage, and Parenthood above any and all other concerns or types of people.
(Part of the reason I believe they do this is that they feel to NOT do it is to cave in to anti-Nuclear- Family liberals.
Not all liberals, from what I’ve seen, are opposed to the Nuclear Family, but some are.
So, out of a misguided attempt to defend “the church” from Marxists and progressives, most Christians are happy to ignore parts of the New Testament that don’t fit the “pro marriage, pro nuclear family” idolatry they support.
Secondly, American culture, in the last few decades, has been prioritizing sexual and romantic love over platonic love, over friendship.)
This means that anyone who is divorced, widowed, never married, childless, infertile, or childfree has no where to turn to get their needs met. And the church doesn’t care.
The church just yells at single adults to run out and marry and have a kid, but they won’t meet single and childless adults where they are, and meet the needs of single adults so long as the singles remain single.
God forbid a single, childless adult inquires as to if or how a church may help them get their needs met, because the average (usually married) pew sitter will just dump the problem right back on to the lap of the single adult and demand that the single adult should make a singles ministry from scratch and run and maintain it
(and never mind that a lot of single adults may too busy from being a care taker for a sick family member or may be holding a job to have the time or energy to start or maintain a singles ministry).
This is all the more hypocritical, as most church services or ministries are already set up to cater to married adults who have dependent children.
But the singles are supposed to do all the heavy lifting for singles groups and singles ministries on their own, with little to no emotional or financial support from others in the church.
If churches really did want to meet the needs of single and childless adults, they totally could, but they choose not to.
Instead, churches just assume that all singles will end up in a hetero marriage, or they keep pushing marriage on to all single adults.
Being single is not valued by churches.
Basically, it looks to me like the liberals are advocating that people not in a marriage should be able to get their needs met via a network of platonic friends – well duh.
As I said, the Bible already sets this up as a solution in the New Testament: Christians are supposed to provide community for other Christians, even ones they are not married to nor biologically related to; in that way, divorced, childless, and widowed adults could get their needs met too.
This would be lovely if Christians actually lived this biblical suggestion out, but they seldom do.
(Link): Stop Believing God Told You to Marry Your Spouse by G. Thomas
(Link): Federalist Magazine Staff Annoyed that Other Outlets Publish the Down Side of Motherhood and Are Requesting Sunny Motherhood Propaganda Pieces – As If Conservatives Haven’t Pushed for Motherhood Enough? The Mind Boggles
(Link): Critique of Federalist Editorial “There Is One Pro-Women Camp In American Politics, And It’s The Right by Elle Reynolds” – Do Federalist Magazine Members Realize There Are Single, Childless Conservative Women?