sex as a commodity

Image: Artem Beliaikin
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By MARIANA LINS COSTA*

Excerpts from the Introduction to the recently released collection “On Anarchism, Sex and Marriage” by Emma Goldman

Marriage and property: woman as a sexual commodity

It is not by chance, taste, inclination or some kind of “tantrum” that, in Emma Goldman's anarchist approach to the question of her “sex”, according to her terminology, the theme of marriage occupies a central place. Thinking about women necessarily implies thinking about marriage – and, curiously, as if, consequently, about motherhood. Although, the same does not apply to man. As the history of Western thought seems to attest, except perhaps in the last few decades, thinking about men does without thinking about marriage or fatherhood.

This “necessity” of the relationship between the themes of marriage and the female condition does not, however, stem from some supposed intrinsic nature of women, from a supposed set of natural “marital virtues”, as if originating from the uterus; nor is it due to some kind of spiritual predestination to unconditional love that would earn her, when successful, the highest position of “queen of the home”. For Goldman, marriage has nothing natural, just as it has nothing spiritual, and what is even more surprising: it has nothing in common with love. If thinking about the female sex necessarily implies thinking about marriage, this is due to the fact that marriage was, over the ages, the main means, if not the only one, for women to achieve some material security, and, in the best cases, economic and social ascension.

The consequence of such mercantile “employability” of love and the body is tragic, because it encompasses the totality of women, it is not particular or accidental, as one might suppose at first sight. On the contrary: practiced, throughout the ages, it came to concern her “spirit”. With the degradation to the status of a “sexual commodity” (whose first and last purpose would be to provide sexual pleasure to men and/or procreation), everything that is considered beautiful and elevated in a personality, such as honor, intelligence, depth and even usefulness, it becomes, when in women, a mere accident of an essentially “sexual” condition; and, therefore, a set of contingent attributes, therefore dispensable; when not undesirable.

See in this sense the diagnosis contained in his text “Marriage and Love” (1910): “There is no need for a woman to know anything about her husband, except his income. And what does a man need to know about a woman other than whether she has an attractive appearance? We have not yet overcome the theological myth that woman has no soul, that she is a mere appendage of man [...] .[I]

In order to clarify the condition of “sexual merchandise” to which women were degraded, Goldman points out that throughout the ages, the two most notable qualities of women, more notable because the most negotiable, were youth and physical attractiveness – which could or could not be accompanied by agreements involving dowries and dowers. A millenary negotiation (in general, carried out by men) that had, as a consequence, the cultural reduction of women to these qualities. And this, when, on the one hand, the youth and physical beauty that is characteristic of him are attributes, by nature, necessarily transient; and on the other, when a woman's youthfulness, health, and sexual flourishing are precisely the qualities that tend to wither prematurely within a generally miserable and unhappy life.

Now, but why should marriage be deciphered as a general formula for a miserable and unhappy life? Shouldn't it be the other way around? On this point, Goldman is relentless: she makes us aware that with the uninterrupted increase in the number of children (a natural consequence of the legal prohibition against contraceptive methods that prevailed at the time),[ii] the increase in housework, sleepless nights, and, not so rarely, fights with the husband and, in the case of the vast majority of women, the increasingly insufficient economic budget for their numerous offspring; life in marriage would tend, in general, to be really miserable and unhappy. Furthermore, it is important to consider that, in Goldman's time, the wife (consumed by the domestic prison that marriage imposed on her) was forbidden practically all the means to alleviate unhappiness that are offered by modern culture.

As the anarchist describes in her text “Marriage” (1897): man could momentarily forget “his misfortunes in the company of friends”, he could “let himself be absorbed by politics, or drown his sorrows in a glass of beer”; but the woman, inexorably chained to the house by a thousand obligations, could not enjoy any distraction; fun and individual pleasure were refused him by public opinion.[iii] In short, only a woman who remained in servitude to her family and her husband was considered respectable. Even though divorce statistics were growing at a gallop at the time, the divorced status implied too heavy a burden for women and their children – a burden that economically, only a few could even bear. After offering us such a fresco of universal marital unhappiness, Goldman then traces the last and longest act of a wife's miserable destiny: that of not taking long to find herself physically and psychically ruined.

As he seeks to substantiate in his studies on the “sex issue”, the condition of a sexual commodity (under whose parameters “the woman” was “molded”) was guaranteed, throughout the ages, through the concealment and sanctification of this condition carried out by Morality. In “Victims of Morality” (1913), the anarchist is extremely direct in exposing the understanding that morality and religion are institutions at the service of economic and social oppression; in a word, institutions at the service of the institution of Private Property.

Through the imposition of a certain morality by religious institutions as the only true parameter of conduct, the mechanisms of oppression were wrapped in superstition, which had the effect of giving what is violence, usurpation, suffocation and perversity the appearance of sacredness, of love, Really, taboo. Marriage, the mother and father of what is meant by family, is, therefore, one of the main contraptions capable of transvesting repression and oppression into supposedly unconditional love.

In Goldman's analysis, marriage and property are inseparable, as if two sides of the same coin. It is interesting to note that if, on the one hand, she places the institution of marriage as the foundation of property; on the other hand, the very internal structure of marriage is explained via the structure of the institution of private property. If, for the woman, according to her analysis, marriage would be the “job” ultimate;[iv] for men, marriage would make it possible, within the family, to exercise the dominance that capitalism, the other “paternalistic institution”, exerts over them when working outside the home. As he sums up in “Anarchy and the Question of Sex” (1896): “The system which forces women to sell their femininity and independence to the best candidate, is a branch of the same malevolent system which gives the few the right to usurp wealth. produced by many”.[v] Or even as he posits, more dramatically, in “Victims of Morality”: “Even if everyone knows that Property is theft;” “which represents the accumulated effort of millions of people who are propertyless”, “the Morality of Property establishes that this institution is sacred. Woe betide anyone who dares to question the sanctity of property or sin against it!”[vi] In a sentence: to sin against the sacred Morality of Marriage is, at the end of the day, to sin against the even more sacred Morality of Private Property.

Regardless of the variations of the institution of marriage in different classes, the nerve is that this institution has transformed woman, for an incalculable time and supposedly in the best of cases, into a sexual commodity that should only be legally violated after marriage. With that, her ideal was turned into the same thing as her disgrace. Whether within the legality and sacredness of marriage or not, the central role of women, their raison d'être, was subordinated to their “sex”. Hence the anarchist repeats to exhaustion that the only difference between the prostitute and the married woman is that the one sells herself “as a private slave for life, for a house or a title”, and the other sells her. herself “for as long as she wants” (“Marriage”).[vii]

After all, as he diagnoses in his unpublished text during his lifetime “Causes and possible cure for jealousy” (approx. 1912): “When money, social status, and position are the criteria of love, prostitution presents itself as inevitable , even if it is covered with the mantle of legitimacy and morality”.[viii] From this perspective, marriage is nothing more than a form of prostitution sanctioned by Church and State. Or, in his words in “The Traffic in Women” (1910): “for the moralists, prostitution does not consist so much in the fact that the woman sells her body, but, on the contrary, that she sells her body outside the marriage".[ix] The logic here is extremely simple: the substance of prostitution is the same as that of marriage – social, cultural and economic exploitation via the sexual issue.

Therefore, for Goldman, marriage is an irreformable institution.

 

Prostitution: an institution necessary to the institution of marriage

Goldman took into account, in his analyses, the differences in the conditions under which marriage is established in the middle and upper classes, on the one hand, and in the working classes, on the other. According to her, young women from the working classes were able to have a more normal expression of their physical instincts and, with that, of love. Early work outside the home, motivated by economic necessity, guaranteed, to a greater or lesser extent, a routine alongside men of different ages, which made it natural that, at some point, the young woman in question would finally surrender to the heat of life. her first sexual experience. “The young men and women of the commons are not so inflexibly shaped by external factors and often throw themselves to the call of love and passion, irrespective of custom and tradition” (“Victims of Morality”).[X]

The problem is that instead of happy end, the loss of virginity “without the sanction of the Church”, together with economic and social precariousness and the criminalization of contraceptive methods, often became, for these young women, a “first step towards prostitution”. Drawing mainly on the work of William W. Sanger, Goldman will understand prostitution as the direct consequence of disproportionate remuneration for honest work (“Trafficking in women”).[xi] According to the various studies reported by her in her texts, the overwhelming majority of prostitutes were women and girls from the working class. Equally based on studies and statistics, it will also draw attention to the directly proportional relationship between the increase in prostitution and the development of capitalism with its mass society.

As far as women from the wealthier and more structured classes and families are concerned, the very “privilege” of having their sexuality “protected” within the parental home would have the atrocious effect of further suffocating their physical and sexual instincts. Under “ideal” conditions, the exercise of a woman's sexuality depended on finding a boy who was not only willing to marry her, but who was also endowed with the amount of money considered sufficient to support future offspring.

Until such an amount was reached, it could cost the young couple the wait of many and tiring years for their first sexual intercourse; although, the costs were considerably unequal there. Men, even if committed, were socially allowed and even encouraged to exercise their sexuality with prostitutes, which, therefore, made prostitution a necessary institution for the institution of marriage.[xii] With regard to the young bride, it would only be up to her to subdue her health, life, passion, desire and youth until the "good" party in question was financially able to take her as a wife - which not infrequently happened, as denounced by Goldman, with the groom already infected with venereal diseases acquired in brothels; diseases that are still taboo today.

It is sad that what warned more than a century ago, fits perfectly in our time supposedly so liberated from the sexual point of view; the alert that the “deliberate blindness” towards the public health problem of venereal diseases, blindness imposed by morality, costs us to give up the “true method of prevention”, which is simply to make it clear to everyone that “' venereal diseases are not something mysterious or terrible, they are not a punishment for the sins of the flesh, some kind of evil to be ashamed of […]; but rather that they are common diseases that can be treated and cured'” (“The Hypocrisy of Puritanism,” 1910).[xiii]

The root of all this mismatch between the “sexes” is understood by Goldman quite simply. It is about the existence in our society of what it called the “double standard of morality” – under which men and women were brought up in such completely different ways, endowed with habits and customs befitting worlds so profoundly separate, that they would have been transformed into beings, practically, alien to each other (“Trafficking in women”).[xiv] A “double standard of morality” that would give rise to beings so strange to one another, so morally divergent from one another with regard to sexuality and love, that the sexual and affective mismatch could not be more absolute. And more than that: without mutual knowledge and respect, any kind of union is doomed to failure (“Marriage and love”).[xv]

 

Morality's Most Pernicious Effect on Woman: The Repression of the "Sexual Element"

In the most elementary and original sense, because first, the most pernicious effect of Morality on women concerns sexual repression. For Goldman, among all the forces that act on us, human beings, the sexual impulse, if not the only one, is the most important. As he writes in his unfinished draft “The Sexual Element of Life” (approx. 1934), sex is the “primary biological function” of every form of “higher life”, so that “we owe more to it than to poetry ”: from birdsong to music, from the plumage of the birds of paradise to the lion’s mane; from the higher forms of life in the plant and animal world to culture itself with its often foolish, senseless and unjust customs; all this, writes Goldman, we must charge to sex.[xvi]

Supported by the psychoanalytic discourse of the time - according to which the life drive would be biologically determined in the sense of always seeking, and more and more, to aggregate the living substance dispersed in particles (which would tend to make life increasingly complex, varied and, in our case, multicultural) –, Goldman will understand sexuality beyond jouissance itself, but as the very source of all socialization and creativity. The “sexual instinct is the creative instinct”, she postulates;[xvii] and it is for expressing, everywhere and at every moment, “this great need for unity”, that this “faculty is social” and “the beginning of the art panorama”.[xviii] In a sentence: “Nature always knows more” – and it is to her that we must turn, in order to get rid of the “profane and unnatural doctrine, initiated by the first Christian monks, that the sexual impulse is the sign of the degradation of man and the source of his most diabolical energy.”[xx]

His criticism of the institutions of morality and religion with regard to women therefore goes beyond the limits of denouncing the role they play in the concealment of social and economic oppression; such institutions attack women's lives at their very “root”: the sexual element. In the trails opened by Nietzsche, Goldman will understand morality and religion as unnatural, as slanderers and suffocators of life. But beyond Nietzsche, this political activist put a lot of emphasis on the understanding that “sexual activity” is not “an isolated act”, but “a generalized experience that motivates and affects the whole personality”.[xx] To the extent that sexuality is confused with personality itself, here is the tragedy of the institution of marriage being imposed as the only socially accepted escape valve for women's sexual awakening. And that the other two, so to speak, “options”, were, on the one hand, sexual abstinence – the case of those popularly known as “spinsters” – and, on the other hand, prostitution.

Goldman seems to place sexual repression as the cause or meaning of marriage and prostitution, even before economic oppression. As if the reduction of women to the condition of a sexual commodity demanded before, for this very reduction, sexual repression. “It would be both partial and extremely superficial to consider the economic factor as the sole cause of prostitution” – he ponders in “Trafficking in Women”.[xxx] A generalized sexual repression that was imposed and “sanctified” by Morality (at least with regard to the Judeo-Christian universe) through a double movement: at the same time that it founded “sex” as the essential attribute of woman, paradoxically , imposed on her an education and cultural training that deliberately kept her in the greatest possible ignorance about the functions, responsibilities and benefits of her presumed substance.

Under the requirement of morality, every “decent” woman should be deprived of any kind of knowledge (perhaps of “practice”) about the first of the activities to which she was inexorably destined because of her “her sex”: the sexual act. “Strange as it may seem,” writes Goldman in “Marriage and Love,” a woman is allowed to know “much less about her function than an ordinary craftsman knows about her craft.”[xxiii] Note here the charade through which women were subjugated in what is, from an anarchist perspective, the most fundamental: the sexual element. For, at the same time that it was instilled in women, from childhood, that marriage would be their ultimate goal, sex, paradoxically, was a taboo subject, impure and immoral, to the point of being indecent the simple mention of the theme.

Without knowing anything about “the most important function that should be performed in her life”, she concludes in the simple and direct way that is characteristic of her: it was inexorable that a woman, in general, did not know how to “take care of herself”, which made her a prey not only to marriage but also to prostitution; or what is still a sad reality: an easy prey for abusive male partners – abusive precisely insofar as they reduce a human being to the position of a sexual object subject to her gratification. ("Traffic of women").[xxiii]

In the same way, it became a practically inexorable destiny for women that not even in the legalized interiority of marriage and the home, they were finally allowed to vibrate in the arms of their sexual pleasure. Now, only recently, and not in all circles and places – it is worth noting –, female sexual pleasure has become an issue, so to speak, publicly legitimized. Hence Goldman's observation that the fear of displeasing one's partner with behavior deemed inappropriate for a decent woman was a non-negligible cause of the repression of sexual pleasure in certain women of her time - which, even today, in the intimacy of the four walls , continues to be a non-negligible cause of the interdiction of female sexual pleasure; and this despite the easy access to digital pornography that characterizes our time.

It is also following this line of sexual repression as, so to speak, primary repression that Goldman will unmask as a pernicious “myth” the conception that women have a lower sexual interest than men; and where he will identify the cause of the serious problem, still alarming today, of complete sexual frigidity among sexually active women – see in this sense the research released by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo in July 2019, according to which 55% of Brazilian women never reached orgasm[xxv]; although there are international surveys that point to 70%.[xxiv]

A generalized frigidity among women which, as Goldman denounced nearly a hundred years ago, is the necessary effect of ages of external repression of female sexual pleasure, repression in the name of which, it bears repeating, the use of physical and psychological violence was legalized and customary. – either romanticized by the veil of morality and unconditional love, or demonized by supernatural forces of which the woman since Eve, the serpent and the apple would be the preferred portal. Thus, if on the one hand, it is currently a platitude to say that culture (based on private property) has made the internalization of sexual repression a kind of second nature for women; on the other hand, it is still necessary to pay some homage to the clitoris, about which even today little is said when talking about “woman”; as if it were still indecent or, as Freud would say, childish, to mention the only organ in the human body designed exclusively for pleasure, with an estimated more than 8000 nerve endings destined for this purpose. (By way of comparison, this little magic button has practically twice as many nerve endings as the penis, with estimates ranging from 4000 to 6000 in total; in addition, the muscles that form part of the clitoris do not completely relax after orgasm, which makes it anatomically natural to women reaching such multiple orgasms, despite their cultural condemnation of frigidity).[xxv]

If, as Goldman said, sex is not something apart, but the element that motivates and affects the personality as a whole, it seems crucial that every woman deprived of her “right to orgasm” at least questions herself – even more so in a world plagues, ecological cataclysms, economic recessions and new threats of nuclear wars – about what kind of wonders 8000 thousand nerve endings stimulated at the same time would be able to provide you (and what's better: no age limit, because from what you tell , the clitoris still has the merit of not aging). Not to mention the equally little talked about vagina which – taking into account the level of pomposity exhibited at the Ping Pong Show by (generally exploited) sex workers in Bangkok, Thailand (to cite the best known case) –, if properly trained, is , it seems, capable of becoming a rather surprising kind of third-hand.

Or the mysterious female ejaculation, popularly known as squirt – that, with the exception of pornography sites, there is no consensus about its existence even among specialists in the subject: according to some researches, these are mere jets of urine emitted involuntarily during sex, according to others, a fluid with characteristics similar to prostatic plasma, which would, in turn, be expelled, at the moment of orgasm, by the paraurethral glands (the male prostate correlate in women).[xxviii]

This even gives rise to the suspicion that, instead of focusing on the (somewhat angry) denunciation of “phallocracy”, a more fruitful feminist strategy (especially for us women) would be to inform and perhaps philosophize a little more about this foreigner of us. themselves: the clitoris – an organ that has the empirically philosophical merit of contradicting the logical rule that the biological function of sex is reproduction; or even about what types of potentialities may lie dormant in the vaginal muscles, supposedly inert beyond the act of giving birth; and all this without ever forgetting to poetize, ideally in the genre of fantastic realism – which, according to Dostoevsky, is the very essence of realism –, about the thousand and one wonders of a controversial and unknown ejaculation, at the precise moment when science has already given beginning of the exploration of the distant planet Mars.

Instead, however, Brazil with its 55% of women who do not orgasm (according to the survey published in the Sheet), is a leader in intimate surgery for “aesthetic” reasons.[xxviii] Oh! What a waste! What a narrow interpretation of the aesthetics of ecstasy! How right Goldman was!

 

Jealousy and free love

As he develops in “Causes and possible cure for jealousy”, the sexual monopoly on which marriage is based – a clear derivation of the “Morality of Property” – ended up poisoning our very way of loving, once jealousy has passed. to present itself as something “natural” to love. The sexual monopoly, “transmitted from generation to generation as a sacred right and the basis of the perfection of the family and the home” made the “object” of love a kind of private property that, in turn, should be embedded in a web of properties private of other natures.

In this sense, the anarchist conceived jealousy as a kind of sentimental “weapon” “for the protection of this right of property”.[xxix] “Weapon”, because jealousy comes into play precisely when, with or without reasons, the individual feels some threat to his sexual monopoly incarnated in his partner; “weapon”, because it implies “turning the vital organs” of the one who is supposedly loved (and himself) at the slightest indication of desire for another person.[xxx]

Described by Goldman as a mixture of envy, fanaticism, possession, an obstinate desire for punishment and, above all, wounded vanity, jealousy has nothing to do with the “anguish” arising from “a lost love” or the “end of a love affair”. love"; nor is it the result of love. On the contrary, for her, jealousy is “the very reverse of understanding, sympathy and generous feelings”.[xxxii]

His understanding that, in most cases, the virulence of jealousy is the greater the lesser the love and passion. "The grotesque aspect of this whole affair," he writes, "is that men and women often become violently jealous of people they don't really care about." That “most people” continue to live close to each other, even though they have long since “ceased to live with each other” – this, and not love, is, for Goldman, the “fertile” soil for jealous activity.[xxxi]

Certainly, one of his most moving teachings is the truism that in a love relationship there can be no such thing as conquerors and conquered, dominators and dominated, because love is in itself free and “cannot live in another atmosphere”. "Free love?" – asks in “Marriage and love” – “As if love could not be free!” No money can buy love, no force can subdue it, no law or punishment can uproot it once it has taken root.[xxxii]

It is always interesting to observe that Goldman brings to the most intimate love relationship a type of radicality that, in a certain sense, constituted the core of the revolutionary spirit, which is the willingness for radical self-surrender as a form of love itself, which once it concerns in all, it cannot be limited to something as narrow as the maintenance of private property whether in the economic, social or intimate dimension. See, in this sense, her definition of “love” in her text, which is still absolutely essential to intellectual women today,[xxxv] not by chance entitled” “The tragedy of the emancipated woman”: “A true conception of the relationship between the sexes [...] will know only one great thing: to give oneself without limits, in order to find a richer, deeper, better self” .[xxxiv]

That this can only happen in relation to a single person, throughout a lifetime, or even in relation to a single person at a time does not find any foundation in the view offered by Goldman. For love and sexuality understood as the source of creativity and sociability are naturally expressed in varied, multiple and changeable ways. Hence, he postulates that each “love affair” is “independent and different from any other”, for the reason that it is deeply related to “the physical and psychic characteristics” of those involved. From where he concludes in the form of a rhetorical question: what if a person finds the “same characteristics that fascinate him in different people”, “what could prevent him from loving those same characteristics in different people?”[xxxiv] That we have limited the highest realization of love to the ideal of sexual monopoly embodied in the institution of marriage reveals, for Goldman, “our current state of pygmies” in the emotional, hence sexual, field.[xxxviii]

 

Final considerations

In the light of this economic reading of the supposedly ideal “spirituality” for a woman in the first half of the XNUMXth century – that of being young and docile like a lamb ready to have her personality slaughtered through the debasement of her sexuality –, it is inevitable to think nowadays, with its infinite artificial resources and surgical interventions that bring the promise of an eternal appearance of youth associated with a “sexually desirable” body shape – in addition to, as already mentioned, a geometrically-pornographically appetizing vulva; a promise that is, even today, most pressing for female bodies.

Thus, the question that arises, from the perspective brought by Goldman's texts on the question of her “sex” – an uncomfortable question, but which perhaps it is not desirable to escape – is about to what extent, we women, overcome and to what extent we drown even more in this condition of sexual merchandise. For, although it is rather sad to admit, it sometimes seems to be a case of suspecting that Mary Wollstonecraft would still be right today, in emphasizing, according to Goldman's account, that "woman herself is an obstacle to human progress, because she insists on to be a sexual object rather than a personality, a creative force in life” (“Mary Wollstonecraft: Tragic Life and Passionate Struggle for Freedom”, approx. 1911).[xxxviii]

After all, even if it is the case that we currently have, of course, the option of being a self-managed sexual commodity, so to speak, since financially emancipated and sexually “free”; a sexual freedom that is not accompanied by the joy and lightness that result from the multiple orgasms to which we are, to some extent, physiologically destined – is a sexual freedom that is too incomplete and unsatisfactory. If “god” made us in his image and likeness, it is necessary to consider the aspects in which, finally, he was generous. Note that the issue here is not to make moral judgments about the fact that the appearance of a sexually emancipated woman in our time (unlike Goldman's) is generally linked to the gender of the male. soft porn (at Popstars are the ultimate example of this); but, yes, just question whether this soft porn everyday life in which the sexually emancipated woman is supposedly the protagonist, contemplates her own sexual pleasure at its very core, the ecstasy that female bodies, like the spiritual rapture of the saints, naturally offer us, asking so little in return – certain touches, some fluids.

On the other hand, however, Goldman also recognized that assuming one's own personality, talent and sexuality, in the case of women, implied, as a rule (as, in general, it still does today), in a lesser possibility of finding a male partner who saw in her not only a sex, but also a human being, a friend, a companion endowed with a strong individuality who should not lose a single trait of her character.[xxxix] By making use of Laura Marholm's study of the lives of several women endowed with extraordinary sensitivity and talents – such as Eleonora Duse; the mathematician and writer Sonia Kovalevskaia and the artist and innate poet Marie Bashkirtseff –, Goldman identifies as an indelible mark “in all the biographies of these women of extraordinary mentality”, the restlessness and loneliness resulting from the absence of loving relationships capable of satisfying both her body , as your spirit.

After all, if the “man with his self-sufficiency and his ridiculous superior air as a patron of the female sex is an impossible partner” for this type of woman, it is also equally impossible for her “the man who only sees her intellectuality and her genius, but who fails to awaken her nature” (“The Tragedy of the Emancipated Woman”).[xl]

By way of conclusion, it is worth noting one of the most obvious legacies of this condition of women's sexual merchandise, namely: the "strangeness", quite present in our post-modern day, that women "of a certain age" relate to men. younger men or women belonging to higher social and economic spheres relate to men belonging to lower social and economic spheres, which, especially in the case of a country like ours, necessarily involves the issue of race.

Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that despite the many and radical changes that have taken place in recent decades in the field of sexual morality and the understanding of the “gender” issue, it is as if love still does not fit very well in relationships between men. young, less wealthy and educated and older, richer and educated women; although, the same cannot be said, in the opposite case; the erotic relationship between university professors and their female students, for example, practically a (silent) institution erected behind the scenes of higher education institutions, seems to be proof of this (even because, by the way, it is not in the name of the educational praxis of the orgasm of their female students that such male professors enjoy their “privileges”).

In a word, no matter how great and radical the deconstructions and new constructions of gender have been, woman continues to be the “sex” associated with some kind of universal and unconditional love – which is, tediously and perversely, just an offshoot of gender. affective of their condition of sexual merchandise; and therefore not universal and unconditional love itself. After all, despite this love of which the woman would supposedly be the reservoir, she continues to possess, at least from the point of view of heteronormativity, a very restricted range of subjects worthy of her presumably innate love.

*Mariana Lins Costa is a postdoctoral researcher in philosophy at the Federal University of Sergipe (UFS).

 

Reference


Emma Goldman. On anarchism, sex and marriage. Translation, organization and notes: Mariana Lins. São Paulo: Hedra, 2021, 270 pages.

 

Notes


[I] GOLDMAN. On anarchism, sex and marriage, P. 143.

[ii] In 1873, the law that is known by the name of its author, the Comstock Act, was passed by the federal government – ​​and, among other absurdities, made it a crime subject to imprisonment to possess, distribute or provide information about contraceptive methods or abortion. Only in 1936 was this law deemed unconstitutional; however, it was only in 1972 that birth control methods were released to single women across the United States.

[iii] GOLDMAN. On anarchism, sex and marriage, P. 73.

[iv] Perhaps it is not a mistake to assume that despite all the advances and conquests in the feminist agenda from the time of Goldman until now, marriage as a job par excellence or first of woman still remains, at least, as a symbolic truth. Circumscribing ourselves to Brazil, a simple observation of the number of unhappy marriages and “stable” relationships in which financially and intellectually emancipated (heterosexual) women find themselves involved in such a conclusion is enough. Our femicide rates, which only grew during the pandemic, can also be interpreted as substantial proof of this suspicion. And at this point, it is worth quoting an excerpt from Goldman's text "The tragedy of the emancipated woman" (1910) that suggests a certain understanding of why this preference for an unhappy relationship to the single life: "It has already been demonstrated repeatedly and conclusively that traditional marriage restricts women to the role of mere servant and incubator of children. And yet we find many emancipated women who prefer marriage, with all its disadvantages, to the limitations of a single life”; single life “limited and unbearable because of the chains of moral and social prejudice that bind and suffocate [woman's] nature” (p. 136).

[v] GOLDMAN. On anarchism, sex and marriage, P. 65.

[vi] Ditto, p. 178.

[vii] Ditto, p. 74.

[viii] Same, pp. 166-167.

[ix] Ditto, p. 102.

[X] Ditto, p. 180.

[xi] Ditto, p. 98.

[xii] Ditto, p. 174.

[xiii] Ditto, p. 91.

[xiv] Ditto, p. 103.

[xv] Ditto, p. 143.

[xvi] Same, pp. 249-250.

[xvii] Ditto, p. 258.

[xviii] Ditto, p. 251.

[xx] Ditto, p. 249.

[xx] Ditto, p. 260.

[xxx] Ditto, p. 102.

[xxiii] Ditto, p. 144.

[xxiii] Ditto, p. 102.

[xxv] https://f5.folha.uol.com.br/viva-bem/2019/07/dia-do-orgasmo-55-das-brasileiras-nao-atingem-climax-no-sexo-e-59-sentem-dor.shtml

[xxiv] The Clitoris: Forbidden Pleasure (Clitoris: the forbidden pleasure). Direction (documentary): Michèle Dominici, Stephen Firmin, Variety Moszynski. Cats & Dogs Films, Sylicone and ARTE France. Icarus Films, 2003. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pABz6BBuCmE&t=159s

[xxv] All information related to the clitoris present in this paragraph can be found in the documentary The Clitoris: Forbidden Pleasure.

[xxviii] https://sexosemduvida.com/squirt-tire-suas-duvidas/

[xxviii] For a deeper understanding of the theme, see: Fabiola Rohden. The dissemination of intimate surgery in Brazil: gender norms, dilemmas and responsibilities in the field of aesthetic plastic surgery. Cad. Public health 37 (12)

[xxix] GOLDMAN. On anarchism, sex and marriage, P. 168.

[xxx] Ditto, p. 172.

[xxxii] Ditto, p. 167.

[xxxi] Ditto, p. 170.

[xxxii] Ditto, p. 149.

[xxxv] For a deeper understanding of this specific text, see “The tragedy of the emancipated woman, according to Emma Goldman”, available at: https://www.hedra.com.br/blog/hedra-1/post/a-tragedia- of-emancipated-woman-according-emma-goldman-81

[xxxiv] Ditto, p. 139.

[xxxiv] Ditto, p. 80.

[xxxviii] Ditto, p. 151.

[xxxviii] Ditto, p. 160.

[xxxix] Ditto, p. 135.

[xl] Ibid.

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