Rethinking Normal

This week I met a fabulous woman. We were connected by an equally fabulous mutual friend.
One of the topics that came out of conversation was about what people see as the norm.

What is it that certain sections of society call normal?
How is that people are so afraid when that normality is challenged?

I raised a point of a subject that fascinates.
That of polyamory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyamory
How individuals can create sexual or romantic intimate relationships with more than one consenting adult is something that not too long ago I would have considered not normal. And I guess a host of other people as well. Although polygamy and polyandry have been around for time immemorial and seen by many cultures as the norm. Hmm

As communities, often shaped by strong cultural or religious thinking, anything out side that norm can appear frightening or at worst threatening.

Take the reactions to many individuals around redefining marriage to something that is not heteronormative. Even in countries that would consider themselves liberal, such as the UK or USA, there is still resistance. Not as vitriolic as say Russia, Uganda, Nigeria and others but still, there a lot of people who although they don’t say it will consider ‘gay marriage’ as not normal.

Coupled with this fear, are stupid and unfounded assumptions around parenting and worse still linking homosexuality to paedophilia. Just because of whatever reason, they see homosexuality as not normal.

The boundaries of what is considered normal are to be pushed once again. Laverne Cox, (pictured) one of the stars of Orange is the New Black is featured on the cover of Time. The first transgender woman to do so. Stirring up a whole new debate online for now.

Orientation and sexuality is but one area that triggers an emotive discussion on this.
The dominant narrative of normalcy defined by heteronormative religious conservative thinking is being challenged and will continue to be with. It will take patience and some challenging conversations for those with a more flexible definition of what is considered normal with those who are quite rigid in their ways.

Normalcy is not something we can assume.
It is a constant conversation.
I know I am still trying to understand all the issues and complexities faced by transgender.

It is dangerous to assume that one considers normal should be imposed on everyone.

Life is such an interesting journey
Far from normal.

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6 thoughts on “Rethinking Normal

  1. Where there are human beings there will always be a normal. normal is not conservative and it is not liberal, it is not religious or atheistic and it is not cultural. It is human.

  2. You’d love to do a current issues in sexuality n gender module as part of UCLs Anthropology course. It’s fascinating.

  3. I did that course in 2001… Just checked the courses on offer now n not quite the same (language and gender etc). But I bet it includes roughly same stuff n prob more up to date. In meantime, check this: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ucl+anthropology+courses&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-gb&client=safari#hl=en&q=ucl+anthropology+current+issues+in+sexuality+and+gender lots of links that you may find interesting. I bet if you got in touch with a lecturer there they’d pass you a reading list. Will have a look to see if I can find an old one, but I have a feeling I cleared them out last year :-s always regret that!

  4. I loved this piece on trying to understand the human definition of normal, very interesting. I actually just published a post yesterday on the possible origins of “normal perspectives”. Feel free to check it out! 🙂

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