Jane Ward is worried about straight people.
As an activist and professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at University of California, Riverside, Jane also calls on the “wisdom of the dyke experience – wherein lust, objectification, humanization and friendship live in complementary relationship to one another”.
Her most recent book, the Tragedy of Heterosexuality, is addressed to Jane’s straight women friends who continually complain about their relationships. Straight women like me.
Here’s my bias: As a daughter of straight parents, mother to a currently-cisgender boy, feminist therapist and supervisor, business owner, and “tragically heterosexual” cisgender woman, I devoured Jane’s book.
She first outlines the absurdity and racist underpinnings of what she calls “the heterosexual repair industry”, that started during the eugenics movement in the late 1800s. Researchers in this era were most concerned about educating men and women on how not be repelled by one another.
After discussing the history of heterosexual culture and how it harms everyone, Jane invites us to think differently. She asks straight people to dig into a deeper version of heterosexual culture.
For men: Deep heterosexuality might look like undoing toxic masculinity and learning how to adore women after a lifetime of being trained to think we’re less human.
For women: Our work is to be compassionately curious about what we love about men and why we stay in such close relationships with them (even though these relationships haven’t been great for us past and present).
This 2 hour live (recorded) webinar was originally offered by donation to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre (DEWC) and the LA Community Action Network. The recording from 2022 is now available for free above.