The Official Blog for ENGL 41416.

Jackie Torres

In the essay Compulsory and Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence by Adrienne Rich, explains the bewilderment the author feels about the negative outlook society has on love between two women. Rich mentions the innate love that women offer as mothers to men and women, the female is innately nurturing, “why in fact women would ever redirect that search”. Rich says that there are more other things that should be disturbing like, “wife beating; father-daughter, brother-sister incest ;”( pg. 349). These ideas are what should be stopped, yet they are accepted in many places because they involve heterosexual relationships.

Lesbian continuum is used in this essay to represent the ongoing existence of lesbians. Lesbians will still be present in the future just like they were in the past. Rich compares the experience that most humans have had which is breast feeding, to the relationship between women to women helping each other. The examples Rich mentions are women who share businesses, friendships between teenage girls, and women who raised schools to help young girls. These are all bonds between females which can be relatable to any women whether lesbian or not. Rich explains that if all of these bonds and works are just seen as life styles we are emotionally and sensually depriving the work of women. To most the support amongst women is usually because they are bonding over male hate or penis envy. However, this is not necessarily accurate, though women can feel they must abide to each other surrounded by this male-dominated society. Rich says society should go beyond the norm and “examine women’s lives, work, and groupings within every racial, ethnic, and political structure.”


Comments on: "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence" (2)

  1. Jasmine Cruz said:


    • Jasmine Cruz said:

      I think Rich’s arguments are seen alot in the film fire. In the film Rada and Sita look to each other for compassion and this quickly develops into something else. As viewers we see Sita’s unhappiness and the development of the two women’s relationship. The two women, at first, speak on the rooftop in darkness hiding their desires. Rich states that, “whether the search for love and tenderness in both sexes does not originally lead toward women; why in fact women would ever redirect that search” this is an important question. The aspect of the lesbian continuum and lesbian existance expands from it. After all according to Rich we, women, have all existed in this medium.

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