Oppression: Rejection of Deviances to the Norm

Oppression is the rejection, often from a more dominant perspective, of a culture or an ideal. In modern Western society, this higher perspective is primarily that of white, heterosexual, cisgender men. Rejected elements include, but are not limited to, gender and sexual desire. Deviance to norms is denied through demoralization or assimilation as seen in Hill Collins’s analysis of African American masculinity. Black men who reject the White normative are labeled as threatening, while those who conform to norms are seen as weak within Black culture. Hill Collins claims White Americans justify this rejection by pointing to Black culture, thereby denying and oppressing its place among the normative (180). This oppression extends to those outside the heterosexual, cisgender normative through which Tsai observes the representation of bisexual women and trans women. Both are sexualized according to heteronormativity and binary gender. Bisexual women are depicted according to male heterosexual fantasy in which they have “the best of both worlds,” while trans women are characterized through their hyperfemininity, denying gender fluidity (Tsai 9-10). Their deviance to norms is rejected by assimilating their representation according to the normative. This rejection denies the place of people outside the norm, thereby oppressing them.

Sources:
Hill Collins, Patricia. Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism. New York: Routledge, 2005. Print.

Tsai, Wan-Hsui Sunny. “Assimilating the Queers: Representations of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Mainstream Advertising.” Advertising & Society Review 11.1 (2010). Web.

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