The Harm of Time

“Family time refers to the normative scheduling of daily life that accompanies the practice of child rearing. This timetable is governed by an imagined set of children’s needs… the time of inheritance refers to an overview of generational time within… morals are passed through family… it also connects the family to the historical past of the nation, and… connect[s] the family to the future of both familial and national stability,” (Halberstam, page 5).

The concept of time, built upon those rooted within a higher power, obstructs the process of self-discovery. In the heteronormative ideal, the definition of a “virtuous” life resides only within the walls of what is seen as pivotal milestones (birth, marriage, reproduction, death) that will allow this approach to endlessly continue toward the future. Specifically, in this passage, the concept of “family time” demonstrates the responsibility placed upon young children to uphold this societal cycle. The majority of children are raised without exposure to the notion of “queer time” and “queer space” discussed within the essay, or an alternative to the heteronormative ideal. Children are pressured to replicate a pre-programmed version of life, looked down upon as unproductive when their identities, logistics, sexual preferences, occupations, morals, willingness to reproduce, etc. are not considered acceptable within the favorable collective norms. Imaginary “healthy” child chronologies that may seem insignificant (such as bed times) are harmful when considering the domino effect that agenda creates. Ironically, a child’s version of a pivotal milestone may be not necessarily fit within the teleology of living, causing inner turmoil within the self. What is considered “healthy” is, in actuality, unhealthy for their mental wellbeing. For example, the discovery of one’s sexual preference may cause fear within an individual due to their family’s traditional morals and expectations for them to reproduce. A vision of a happy future associated with queer time may cause disappointment in those around them, causing insecurity and even suppression of their identity to fit within heteronormative expectations. The responsibility of preserving not only a family, but societal legacy becomes more important than simply enjoying life as it is.

A default habitualness prevents variety seen within society, impeding the ability of queer identities to ordinarily flourish. This lack of variety will only strengthen heteronormative values in future generations, regardless if these morals originated years ago.  A simultaneous connection to the past and future protects the fear of a new version of time annexing what is considered “normal.” Those in a higher position do not want to risk any hinderance to the preservation of the nation, as not only pivotal life events will differ, but society will develop. This evolution would lead to additional adjustments within the economy and industrial departments. Thus, everyday items, such as television, are utilized by industrialists to impose these morals onto children at a young age, hiding any sense of a different way of living. By veiling education and exposure to alternate identities, the repeating cycle of consumption and production is secured.