The Body in Society – Heteronormativity

Heteronormativity is the belief that society is built on strict ideologies that heterosexuality is the norm. It is often also white heterosexuality that is promoted. Tanya McNeill studied sex education in the USA and argues that the government’s ‘promotion’ of heteronormativity in education policy and curricula legitimates homophobia in schools. A large number of schools only teach about heterosexual sex and relationships, and then only teaching the method of abstinence or abstinence until marriage. Arizona state code even prohibits schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’ in it’s sexual education curriculum, with a number of other states requiring that homosexuality is presented in a negative light.

From my own experience of sex education in England, I don’t remember being taught about anything other than heterosexuality. From reading the government’s ‘Sex and Relationship Education Guidance’ given to schools, it is clear to see that the UK’s sex education curriculum is much more inclusive of homosexuality than the USA’s, but still focuses on heterosexual sex and relationships, and preventing pregnancy. While the focus is mainly on abstinence, schools are also required to teach about other methods of contraception. I think it is important to include all sexualities within sex education, more than just heterosexuality and homosexuality, as I only learnt about others like asexuality from being a member of the blogging website Tumblr. It is unlikely that parents will teach their children about anything other than their own sexuality, if they discuss it at all. Therefore it is important that schools teach it, all-inclusive, not just ‘promoting’ heteronormativity.


McNeill, T. (2013) ‘Sex education and the promotion of heteronormativity’, Sexualities, 16(7), pp. 826–846. doi: 10.1177/1363460713497216.
(no date) Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s