Society defines queer as opposite to acceptable heterosexual norms and practices. Sex is central to the concept of queer, but society, in its heterosexual morality, seeks to undermine queer sex as improper, immoral sex…
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It is inferred from Harding’s essay that because of heteronormativity, queer includes fat women, whose only chance of experiencing sex is by being raped. In The Trouble with Normal, Warner examines the dilemma of determining and pursuing what is normal. Being normal casts negative shadows on what is queer, which is why Warner thinks it is wrong for the Mattachine Society to toss aside the issue of sex to gain respectability and normativity. Two definitions of queer emerge because society defines it as having sexual norms that are against heteronormativity, something that is sinful and pathological (or what queer should be), while Harding and Warner describe it as composed of variations to the norm, where everyone has equal sexual agency (or what queer is). Society defines queer as opposite to acceptable heterosexual norms and practices. Sex is central to the concept of queer, but society, in its heterosexual morality, seeks to undermine queer sex as improper, immoral sex. Harding and Warner question the dominant social definition of queer as a negative sexual attitude and behavior just because it is outside heteronormativity. Who defines what is queer? For Harding, the hypermasculine culture defines queer vis-a-vis its sexual and political interests. She asserts that society conditions women to live for their “primary obligation”: “to make [themselves] pretty for heterosexual men’s pleasure” (68). Queer women, by sexually desiring the same sex, are clashing with their predominant obligation. Furthermore, queer is defined not according to what the defined actually feels, but how heterosexual society describes it should be. Harding criticizes society and the media for having a skewed understanding of beauty and attraction, which is the basis of political and social roles, functions, and boundaries. After discussing how society and the media pressure fat people to be thin, Harding notes that it is clear that: “…fat is Not Hot” (74, capital letters from original text). Beauty is reserved for the thin, and people are supposed to be attracted only to thin people. Queer is unattractive to heterosexual norms. Another definition from mainstream society is that queer is abnormal and must be concealed or changed to suit heteronormativity. Warner criticizes the efforts of some gay organizations to desexualize their struggles because the essence of being queer is being sexual and being open about it. He stresses that homosexuality is central to the fight for gender equality: “It is hard to claim that homosexuality is irrelevant as long as you feel the need to make the claim” (46). Sex and sexuality are political centers of the aspiration for personhood. Warner argues that sex is politics and queer is political. In 1953, the Mattachine Society’s new leaders assert the importance of “integrating” as a way of showing the public “new maturity” (Warner 46). To integrate is to be non-sexual and to be non-sexual is to forget that sexuality is a political struggle for the queer. And to forget that queer is sexual and political is to say that queer is dead and must remain so. Warner’s point is that by desexualizing the queer movement, the queer are accepting the social definition that they are not acceptable because they are not the norm. Queer is abnormal and must remain hidden in the bathrooms and bushes. Fat women are queer too because their physical characteristics put them at the fringes of physical attraction. Harding points this out persuasively, as she analyzes the heterosexual norm, where: “
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