The Operation Of The Codes Cultural Studies Essay

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There is a famous saying that " behind every man there is a woman". This is a universally acknowledging so called truth. This reinforces the concept of heterosexuality that man and woman are made for each other by God. Today the concept of heterosexuality is challenged by homosexuality. This famous saying above introduces an acceptable and unquestionable societal norms that is attached to culture and religions. For centuries, homosexuality is regarded as transgression of the natural law of god, a sin, something unnatural. The first creation of man according to religion like Islam, Judaism and Christianity is that God created Adam and Eve his companion of female sex in order to procreate and increases human race on earth. This very beginning of human history on earth conceptualizes heterosexuality which is universal and those who dare oppose this concept are marginalized, oppressed and are forced to live a shameful life for the rest of their lives. Culture and religion banned homosexuality. In every religion homosexuality is not tolerated and is punishable by death. In religious book like Quran, god created female companion for male : " If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, Take the evidence of four (Reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way". "If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and mend, Leave them alone (do not annoy them in other words after they were punished); for Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful" (Quran).

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However, homosexual is seen as immoral and unnatural in the order creation of god. The issue of sexuality for a person is a delicate one and being the other of the normative self of heterosexuality arises contempt in societies. They are regarded as shameful, they have even internalized a very demeaning picture of themselves. So homosexuality is often repressed and misjudged. Homosexual have to operate underground for fear of oppression from society because of their difference. Homosexual's epithets are very common like "men of Sodom" [1] , " an act of bestiality" . [2] Homosexual over the world have fought a battle for recognition. But the rise of homosexuality has given birth to heterosexist prejudices and homophobia. Homosexuals have struggle with societal norms, religions and cultures to gain recognition through a politics of recognition, literary writing. The world of homosexual is different from that of the heterosexual. It is assumed that gay men are feminine, sissy men with no sense of masculinity, they have weakness like women ( stereotyped image of woman), oversexed and poor at sport. Lesbian women are seen as masculine, called "tomboy" during childhood, overtly hygienic and with no sense of fashion. We can deduced that man has all female characteristic and vice versa. Hence this is not the case but is only assumptions based on prejudices. Homosexual have normal life like heterosexual but only their sexual orientation differs. Gay identity counteract the "sin and sickness" images prevailing almost everywhere. Though lesbian women want to create a sexuality out of male dominance they are slave of man's image, setting the pattern of heterosexual norms. As a result, many lesbians have been criticized by their dress code and behavior. the butch in lesbian couple's identity is based on the patriarchal dominant culture who has denied their true identity as a women. In brief, they have repressed their femininity to adopt masculinity. They wear men's trousers, shoes and has short hair cut identical of a man whereas the 'femme' assumed their femininity. Sometimes they become indistinguishable from a man. An example from the popular culture is the TATU group comprising of a couple of lesbian, the one who is very feminine while the other masculine. Thus these lesbian couple adopt a heterosexual structure from which they were supposed to be free. They have been criticized for having adopting the sex/gender system. Hence there is a need for the emergence of new women in lesbian couple.

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In post modernism era, homosexuality has become more acceptable thought homophobia is pervasive in the world mostly in the orient countries like Egypt, Yemen, Syria, India, china, S. Arabia… in westernized societies, the politics of recognition has recognized gay/lesbian as individual who has the same rights as heterosexual individuals like the right to marry, right to parenting , property. Top American singer Elton john is gay who has married in a church and he has a baby boy. Hence we see that in westernized societies, gay live in a normal life even religion like Christianity has become more lenient toward gay/lesbian. Lesbian is a gaining recognition even among heterosexual woman compared to the women's movement in 1960's in American set by lesbian activists who were not welcomed by heterosexual women. Katy Perry's famous song "I kissed a girl" introduces heterosexual audiences in a lesbian world starting

" this was never my intention,

just wanna try you on,

I kissed a girl and I liked it,

it felt so right, it felt so wrong,

you're my experimental game

just human nature

it's not what good girls do

not how they should behave

my head gets so confused" .

thus tempting the heterosexual to try this experimental game, hence it is a step for the acceptance to the homosexual world. " it's not what good girls do, not how they should behave", at the same time it is a forbidden world for good girl emphasizing on the societal norm and not to enter in the marginal group. Though Katy Perry is heterosexual who has just recently married to an English man. Her song promoting the homosexuality and this single has sold about 4 million copies in the US alone. Katy Perry song " I kissed a girl" was inspired by a friendship she had with a girl when she was thirteen and she did kissed her. She was totally obsessed with her beauty - porcelain skin, red cherry lips… many considers it as being a lesbian friendly tube. We can deduced that a female beauty can attract not only boys but girls also which is natural. But with societal restriction of homosexuality, many are reluctant to chose their sexuality. Sexuality is an issue which is highly imposed on an individual that is heterosexuality. Being homosexual is a taboo in almost all societies.

Many gay/lesbian have been treated unfairly to the extent of persecution and execution. In diverse geographical areas regardless of economic, political and intellectual advancement, many countries throughout the world have penalized and prohibited sexual relationship of the same sex. Sodomy is regarded as an act of bestiality which law condemned. Though sodomy is a practice even among heterosexuality but homosexual arise more contempt in societies. Anyone inflicting the practice of sodomy on someone is punished by law in countries like Mauritius. In Mauritius for example, there is banners prohibiting homosexuality and sodomy : " sodomy is an act of bestiality and everyone practicing this act shall be cursed by God" .

However, in countries like America many literary writers have fought for their recognition. Barbara smith, an afro American queer theorist who fought for the recognition of black homosexual. She relates her experience of being oppressed and rejected for her homosexuality and by her race also. She was oppressed because of being a black lesbian. She was accused of trying to be white. In America, gay/lesbianism is meant for the white and black are ostracized. Barbara's smith wanted to show that black lesbian exist. Her writing is for the black lesbian women who are oppressed because of their sexuality and color.

Wittig disputes the naturalness of women as a social category and the biological origin s of both gender difference and inequality. For centuries, women have been the object of oppression, being portrayed an inferior and was and they are still being dominated by patriarchal societies. According to Wittig, " woman" is a socially constructed term which is imposed on a female at a very early stage of her life. to be a woman means to be subservient and passive to male dominance. In brief, being a slave of the men. Women in the hand of men are cultural artifacts. They are the absent figures who are used sexually by man. Wittig strongly disagrees with the system of heterosexuality which according to her is problematic in the sense that it is the origin of the oppression inflicted on woman by man. In her opinion, heterosexuality is an economic, ideological and political power of men. The only way of escaping this ruthless system of oppression is the affirmation of being lesbian rather than woman. Heterosexuality affirms the 'natural' difference between a man and a woman. Our acceptance of heterosexuality contribute to our reluctance to challenge this oppressive system perpetrated on women from which they are unable to escape. For Wittig, lesbianism is an escapism to that oppressive system of heterosexuality from which a woman can live freely. Throughout histories, woman is perceived as erotic object of fantasy, a machine for reproduction and child- bearer which Simon de Beauvoir called " myth of women:. Her role is confined to domesticity sphere and she occupies a very limited space. This is a clear image of female oppression by the patriarchal system. According to Wittig, a female can move beyond that space by her total rejection of heterosexuality which is a constructed barrier of gender and assume her role by being a lesbian. This is the reason why many women want to be a lesbian. Lesbianism provides the freedom female.

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To conclude, homosexuality is a personal decision of the individual. Though many societies condemn homosexuality, it has gradually gained acceptance through various ways that is writing, music. We cannot judge a homosexual because of its difference. The post modern era is more flexible of changes though homophobia still exist and cannot be eradicated completely.

Reference and bibliography

Discourse on Lesbian Identity and the Politics of Butch-Femme Written by Amy Goodloe,

Literature and criticism by Pam Morrison (1993)

Katy Perry's official website

Barbara smith "homophobia: why bring it up? In the lesbian and gay studies ( new York and London route ledge)

Monique Wittig "one not born a woman"

I acknowledge that Mrs Sonia Kotiah's lectures have helped me greatly in my understanding of homosexuality and queer theorists.