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What is Heteropessimism?

  • Published
    25th Jul, 2022

Recently, an example of heteropessimism is seen when a men trends by #MarriageStrike on Twitter, as the Delhi HC was hearing a plea to criminalise marital rape.

  • The term was coined in 2019 by American gender theorist Asa Seresin.
  • Heteropessimism can be defined as public declarations of dissatisfaction with heterosexual relationships, by people who continue to be in those relationships.
  • Heteropessimism consists of performative disaffiliations with heterosexuality, usually expressed in the form of regret, embarrassment, or hopelessness about straight experience.
  • These disaffiliations are “performative” does not mean that they are insincere but rather that they are rarely accompanied by the actual abandonment of heterosexuality.

What causes heteropessimism?

  • The realisation for heterosexual people that Marriage has for gain or loss.
  • Here, the disillusionment works at two levels – the simple realisation that the first flush of romance does not last, and the deeper, structural problems of heterosexual relationships, which stem from patriarchy, gender inequality, an unfair burden of housework on women, and the pressure of ‘provider and protector’ roles on men.

The factors associated with heteropessimism

  • Heteropessimism has been caused and shaped by larger social, economic and political currents.
  • Modern self-dependence concept for Women: Traditionally, marriage was between the “provider” and the “homemaker”. While more women are economically independent, our social conditioning remains rooted in these traditional roles.
  • Over-expectations for Females: Girls are taught to believe that they will have a life-partner like a prince, which generates over-expectation of girls from male counterparts.

Does it influence the patriarchal mind-set?

  • The answer to it is ‘YES’ to some extent. Litigation on sexual crimes draws from social and caste-based perceptions on what constitutes rape and these are, in turn, based on who is presumed to have access to women’s bodies.
  • It is the belief that can is the cause of several social issues by Women like martial Rape and Sexual Assault after marriage or while being in a relationship.
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