Mundane heterosexism: understanding incidents of the everyday

Elizabeth A. Peel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, discourse analysis, combined with lesbian feminist politics, are used to explore subtle forms of heterosexism in language, a social phenomenon that I have termed "mundane heterosexism," because of its everyday nature. Drawing on feminist understandings of subtle sexism and discursive psychology I analyse three forms of mundane heterosexism derived from (predominantly) tape-recorded antiheterosexism training session data: (1) prejudice against the heterosexual, (2) nonheterosexuality as a deficit and (3) refusing diversity. Two levels for challenging mundane heterosexism are discussed. interactional counterarguments, and broader societal campaigns. I conclude by advocating the necessity of further detailed analyses of the construction of mundane heterosexism, and stress the importance of heterosexism for feminist research. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-554
Number of pages14
JournalWomen's Studies International Forum
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2001


  • gay men
  • attitudes
  • discourse
  • education
  • lesbians


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