'Even though heterosexuality as a term has not often been explicitly mentioned in Western mainstream discourses of media and common parlance before the 1990s, its position as the sexual norm has nevertheless been produced over centuries in countless linguistic euphemisms, in paradigmatic choices and syntagmatic combinations of gendered terms, not to mention reiterative visual representations. Both images and verbal language have represented the couplehood of man and woman, and the (modern) family formation of hetero parents and children, not only as ideals but as outright moral imperatives. Words and images still sustain the position of heterosexuality as ‘the quiet but centrally organizing signifier of social membership’ [...]. Thus heterosexuality is also signified as the crib of respectable citizenship, literally as the primary production site of new citizens [...]'
Leena-Maija Rossi, '‘Happy’ and ‘Unhappy’ Performatives: Images and Norms of Heterosexuality', Australian Feminist Studies, 26(67)