Hetero-normativity, in its simplest definition, is the assumption that every “woman” likes “men” and that every “man” likes “women”. Inherently, this assumption privileges attraction to be a “male/ female” thing, only.
The definition from Wikipedia reads, “Heteronormativity is the body of lifestyle norms that holds that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life. It asserts that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or only norm, and states that sexual and marital relations are most (or only) fitting between people of opposite sexes.”
The key in the correlation between heteronormativity and male privilege lies in your understanding of the word, female. That word, in essence, exists only as a categorical tool in societal circumstances, to separate what you consider to be a male from what isn’t a male, which we call a female.
The concept of a “female”, in the sense of the figurative word and a literal person, is simply an explanation of something that is not male. There are “males” and then there is the other. We need a name for the other, so as not confuse it with “male”, so we call it “female”. We need a name for the other, so as not to confuse it with “man”, so we call it “wo-man”. And so on.
So, in this concept of the need to categorize one group, only to contextualize its relation to another group, inherently making “women” subsidiary to “men”, we invite the conundrum of confusion over sexuality that isn’t defined by these diameters.
“In all, there is no room for people who identify with the “male” species to gloat unapologetically in their entitlement, if that is threatened by identities and relationships that don’t abide by their inherent privilege.”
If “women” only exist, in direct reference and subsequent to the existence of “men”, thus only serving the purpose of supplementing the existence of “men”, what type of sense would a “man” being with a “man” make? What kind of purpose could a “woman” and a “woman” serve? Anything that doesn’t reflect the subsidiary model that society was founded on, really makes no sense, when you break down the concept of the “true” role of “men” and “women” in our society.
In all, there is no room for people who identify with the “male” species to gloat unapologetically in their entitlement, if that is threatened by identities and relationships that don’t abide by their inherent privilege. Male privilege, being systematically attacked by the very notion of not needing a male as a direct means to embodying physical attraction, sexual identity, or human relationships, is detrimental to the status quo. I’m about to go a little deep, so stay with me, here.
If male privilege relies on the principle that there is a difference between “men” and “women”, most heavily evident in the fact that “women’s” existences are supplemental to “men’s”, it doesn’t allow room for there to be ambiguous understandings of what separates “women” from “men”.
The more particular and defined the concept of the polarization of “men” and “women” polar, the easier it is maintained the societal agreement that “women” are in fact, supplemental to the existence of “men”. If there are one million things explaining what makes “women” different from “men”, then there’s no way to truly convince oneself that there is actually equality or rather, equity between the two “genders”, that would inherently validate equal footing for both.
Within this complex, yet simple break down of the male/ female dynamic, consider now, how impactful the very ambiguous nature of homosexual, bisexual, asexual, and non gender conforming sexual relationships could be on the fixed and static understanding of gender, particularly relating to its reinforcement of male privilege.
Heteronormativity upholds male privilege by invalidating the simple concept of any relationship or personal identity that challenges the socialized patriarchal perpetuation of the very purpose of the existence of “men” and “women”.