No-Nonsense Non-Monogamy: challenging social norms and gender

Author: Shrimp Teeth

Exploring queernesspolyamory, and sexuality.


Social Norms

When we pick apart social norms, we observe the tension between social control and autonomy.

For example, look at employers who mandate that AFAB (assigned female at birth) employees must wear bras – it quickly reveals how much a false notion of professionalism justifies patriarchal subjugation.

In every corner of our lives, we’ve renounced our free expression in favor of social order.


Artwork @ShrimpTeeth


First, schools indoctrinate us into rule-following, then workplaces enforce control by piling on nonsensical guidelines with the threat of termination for lack of compliance.

Every norm is a philosophical reflection of its originator, enforcers, and subordinates – meaning that most of our norms reflect an imperialist, patriarchal, white supremacist cultural vision of social order.

Concisely: people in power benefit from these norms at others’ expense.

Truly nothing about wearing (or not) a bra will impact your job performance. Yet, we believe that good employees must unquestioningly follow rules.

Personal comfort, gender affirmation, or choice are worthless qualities for capitalist production. Wear a bra or lose your job.


Our collective discomfort with questioning the validity of norms keeps us stuck in the status quo.

When we’re scared to challenge ideas, we’re pliable, easy to influence, and easier to advertise to.

No revolution if there are no questions. Power is maintained in the same hands. Questions are the fuel, creativity is the flame.


shrimpteeth artwork


You can easily weaponize “why?” and overhaul entire communities with beautiful dreams of freedom.

What happens when you let people with boobs decide to wear what feels best for them? Autonomy. Terrifying for systemic oppression.

People assume that if we’re all given autonomy and freedom then the world will devolve into violent chaos, but we already live in that reality.


I think people are actually scared of the responsibility it puts on them to discover what they want to do with their individual liberty. We’ve prevented most people from dreaming.

We’ve been told over and over again that there is a right way to do things: the way it’s always been done.

We’ve been told that alternative ways of existing are dangerous rather than powerful. Bullshit. Hidden dreams are potent too.


The best thing we can do as queer artists is to refuse all the small ways we’re controlled. Fuck your bras. Fuck your corporate dress codes. Fuck the gender binary it upholds. Fuck the unequal power dynamic it justifies. Fuck the way it condones discrimination & unequal pay.


my favourite part of being queer is not having to be straight


The unexamined and invisible social norms are the most insidious. When we’re used to giving up control over completely arbitrary and personal aspects of our lives we’re conditioned to accept the glaring removal of our autonomy and freedom.




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Sam is a sex educator and artist who explores queerness, polyamory, and sexuality through their work. She’s passionate about exploring ways to broaden relationship structures to foster more connections between people. They use art and illustration as part of their education process.

No Nonsense Non Monogamy is brought to you by GLUE.