What is Amatonormativity? And why does it matter?

What is Amatonormativity? And why does it matter?

Amatonormativity is the assumption that all human being pursue love or romance, especially by means of a monogamous, long-term relationship.

It was coined by Arizona State University professor of philosophy Elizabeth Brake to describe the pressure she felt in her own life and to describe how society upholds and perpetuates those pressures through individuals and the law.

Last year, in our It’s Not Cheating! It’s Ethical/Consensual Nonmonogamy event, I got to talk with Meg-John Barker about this, and it was fascinating.

Here are a few examples or amatonormativity:

  • Assuming marriage is a life goal for everyone.
  • Housing, taxes, insurance is how society structures everything around married coupledom.
  • Generalizing/assuming that unmarried/unpartnered people are sad, lonely, or missing out.
  • Labeling romantic/sexual relationships as a ‘higher form” of relationships, or prioritizing them over others.
  • Pressure from society or families to date/get married.

Aromantic and nonmonogamous people have identities/relationship styles that are counter to amatonormativity, and don’t fit the narrative of prioritizing an exclusive romantic relationship. And because society is so ingrained with amatonormativity, people often believe these people are broken or wrong somehow, since they do not fit the accepted mold.

How do you pronounce amatonormativity?

In just five easy steps!

  1. Listen to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2oEmPP5dTM
  2. SMILE! Because Ella and Louis are awesome!
  3. Use Toe-MAH-Toe as a starting point.
  4. Replace Toe at the beginning with AH
  5. Add “Normativity” to the end.
  6. Ah-MAH-Toe-Normativity!

What are your thoughts?

Does amatonormativity affect your life? Has it affected decisions you’ve made in the past? Do you feel the pressure of being amatonormative in your life from friends or family?

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