Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A quote from Eve Sedgwick

From Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire:

"Our own society is brutally homophobic; and homophobia directed against both males and females is not arbitrary or gratuitous, but tightly knit into the texture of family, gender, age, class, and race relations. Our society could not cease to be homophobic and have its economic and political structures remain unchanged.

Nevertheless, it has yet to be demonstrated that, because most patriarchies structurally include homophobia, therefore patriarchy structurally requires homophobia."

Keep in mind that this was published in 1985.

Comments? Thoughts?

(A side note: We were getting a lot of spam in our comments, so I turned word verification on. Commenting now takes a little more time, but I think it's worth it to avoid the spam).


Blogger Ion said...

It makes perfect sense too, especially when one considers how our modern society structure came to be.

The beginning of patriarchal society began thus:

One day the men in the tribes came to two realizations.

1.) They were bigger and stronger than women.

2.) They had some part in the sudden appearance of those small squalling things that grew into people.

Once the realization had sunk sufficiently into their minds, one word began the downfall of matriarchal society.


With the possession of the children (i.e. keeping other men away from the wives (to guarantee greater mating frequency to child conception ratio) and children (to keep them from being killed, as is common in social animals) came a certain concept of ownership within the pack. Soon the ownership passed on to things outside genetics. Then we have patriarchy.

The women couldn't stop them; men were trained hunters, adept at killing. Women were gatherers and nurturers. Even though they all undoubtably had combat aptitude, men spent their entire lives practicing killing. Couple that with testosterone's gift of bigger, stronger bodies, and we have the means to patriarchy.

Because at that moment men gain superiority, we were ingrained in patriarchy. Because they had so many years of practice, men were able to stay on top long enough to create dogma. They created homophobia (what better way to insult someone than to call er a compulsory non-breeder?). There were others, like female inheirant inferiority. These beliefs made it possible for men to maintain dominance without killing.

That brings us to now, when men and women have equal potential to be the strongest. Now, if women can be strong enough (and not give in to the damn dogma) there is potential for a new society.

I'm not necessarily rooting for matriarchal society (though if you look at basic psychological differences between men and women, women are far better equipped for running a society because raising children is like a mini-society). Something less patriarchal might be nice.

9:01 PM

Anonymous Johnicholas said...

I think Ion commits some errors in her description, possibly for humorous effect.

"To guarantee greater mating frequency to child conception ratio"? It sounds as if males have no biological jealousy. Evolution could put circuits for jealousy in our heads, and they might be useful. I can't prove that it did, but I suspect so.

7:55 AM

Blogger Ion said...

I think I used the wrong words (I was very very sleepy yesterday)

I meant to say that men wanted to have more children per sexual encounter.

Jealousy is biological. You have to want in order to strive and you need to strive to evolve.

10:08 AM


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