Thursday, October 7, 2010

An exercise in Marxist feminism

How patriarchy functions within a particular society often corresponds with its economic form: a society based on large-scale commodity production produces the commodities men want; a society that lives by religious mandate enforces the virtues men desire.

In the former, men with money dictate the terms by which women are seen; in the latter, men of virtue do the same. Women's bodies are commodified and censored, respectively; they are perpetually exposed in one case, and made to vanish in the other. That which suits the man of means thus suits society.

The script that patriarchy has authored for men and women in the advanced capitalist societies was no doubt inspired by the needs of lonely men with lots of money. Like wealthy window shoppers, they want to see the commodity and then possess it by the one means at their disposal: money. So women are commodified in their sexualized form, and this is reproduced everywhere. It is very hard to navigate, let alone escape, for many men; this in turn impacts the genuine intimacy men can experience in their overall relations with women.

For more on this subject, see ladypoverty.

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