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Romance is seen in many aspects of western culture, from movies and tv, to songs and language, but beliefs about romance go beyond what is portrayed in the media. Portrayals of romance with the marriage plot in movies show the underlying belief that romance is a goal everyone is striving towards. This belief that all people are striving towards an exclusive, romantic coupling is called amatonormativity. Professor Elizabeth Brake coined the term amatonormativity and defines it as “the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types. The assumption that valuable relationships must be marital or amorous devalues friendships and other caring relationships” (Brake 89). The term is similar to heteronormativity, but where heteronormativity assumes heterosexuality to be the norm, amatonormativity assumes romantic coupling to be the norm. Both require people who fall outside the projected ideal to explain themselves. Instead of accepting some people are gay or not into romantic relationships, these normative ideals make people who do not fit them seem strange and needing to fit the ideal in some way. Simple acts that would be a violation of amatonormativity could include dining alone by choice, cohabitating with a friend, or not searching for romance.



Thesis Comittee

Dr. Garrett W. Nichols, Thesis Advisor

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.