The latest feminist word to add to the dictionary

Sophie McNally discusses Florence Given's word 'hetrifying' and its significance for us all.

Sophie McNally
19th December 2020

UK artist and author Florence Given posted a new definition in her empowerment compendium: ‘Hetrifying’. 

Her December Instagram post explains this to be an uncomfortable, even ‘cringe’, feeling experienced when seeing any “heteronormative behaviour that normalises gender-roles, sexism, homophobia”. 

Florence Given's Instagram post definition

This term is incredibly important to understand as she addresses the varying ‘blueprint’ notions of heterosexual relationships and conduct. Her post goes on to include several images that make any audience feel uncomfortable and ‘hertified’. Some of the things she highlights here include the toxic norms of men being ‘raised’ by women in a relationship, and an exchange of housework for sex with your partner: ‘choreplay’.  

"She then allows us to reflect on the overwhelming sense of repression and even oppression that this behaviour has on all relationships"

Each narrative she presents through the subsequent images is encased in toxicity and she hones in on the two-fold impact this has. Firstly on queer people who may feel this heteronormative standard is passed onto them and it can’t seem to fit - just think of a classic heterosexual wedding scenario for a second and you’ll see what I mean. She then allows us to reflect on the overwhelming sense of repression and even oppression that this behaviour has on all relationships which such solidified and outdated gender norms. Authenticity has no chance. 

We must remember there are so so many more issues within these two broad brackets. It’s easy to overlook such glaring issues as the normalisation of: abuse, toxicity and gaslighting as spurning from such immovable gender roles and tropes. 

Florence states “Ugh, that movie was so hetero! / I know, it’s hetrifying” as an exemplar of the term in everyday conversation. This perfectly illustrates the pathway we need to take: normalising disapproval and disagreement of the already normalised. 

Best-seller “Women Don’t Owe You Pretty” by Florence Given really fuelled her popular platform where she can educate and discuss important topics such as heteronormative standards. It provides an honest and unfiltered approach covering a whole spectrum of social issues and discourses, building on the feminist cause and self-love in a whole load of ways we didn’t even realise. 

Never forget to be your fullest self, question whatever normal is, and see through problematic standards for what they are. Her messages could not resonate more in today’s society, and I commend her for helping bring it all to light.

Featured image:@florencegiven (Instagram)

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AUTHOR: Sophie McNally
Courier Fashion sub-editor, and Newcastle History undergraduate

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