Sexuality as the object of a political struggle
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Gayle Rubin, a cultural anthropologist, expresses the most acceptable reasons of sexual actions as, marriage, reproduction and love (p.44). With attention to, marital, reproduction heterosexuals are alone at the top of the sexual’ pyramid. Rubin has done an extraordinary work in explaining and giving the best acceptable reasons within the study of sexuality.
He indicates that society still believe that good, normal and natural sexuality should “be heterosexual, marital, monogamous, reproductive and non-commercial” (p.45).
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Compared to Gary Kinsman, a sociologist, who talks about monogamous family and the creation of prostitution, Rubin states the monogamous relationship as the good way and homosexuality as the bad way.
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Moreover, Rubin adds that “[good sexuality] should be coupled, within the same generation, and occur at home” (p.45). In contrast, bad sex may be “homosexual, unmarried, promiscuous, non-procreative, commercial […] masturbatory or take place at orgies, may be casual, may cross generational lines and may take place in public, or at least in the bushes or the baths” (p.45). And it may involve “the use of pornography, fetish objects, sex toys or unusual roles” mentioned Rubin (p.45). In essence, there is one best way to do sexual actions and that everyone shall follow that particular way.
However, in some societies, for example, New Guinea, homosexual activities are a must for all males’ members. Just like as revealed in Kinsman, prostitution is a form of slavery and was forced.
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In contrast, Rubin explains the evolution of prostitution which change from a temporary job to a more permanent occupation while sexual deviance is an erotic preference. Now it makes you understand that prostitution is more accepted within our society but only in a form of privacy.
After all, what is a good definition of sexual deviance?
We know that our sex laws are not a perfect reflection of the prevailing moral evaluations of sexual conduct. As a result, I agree that there are some erotic behaviours which are accepted and others that are not. For instance, “fetishism and sadomasochism, are not closely or completely regulated by the criminal justice system as somewhat less stigmatized practices, such as homosexuality” (p.50).
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Since, there are some erotic behaviors accepted and others are not, there are several institutions which teach those behaviors. Hence, the institution of family plays an important role in enforcing sexual conformity. Rubin explains how “sex is a vector of oppression [as well] […] the system of sexual oppression cuts across other modes of social inequality, sorting out individuals and groups according to its own intrinsic dynamics” (p.52).
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In the end, sexuality is political and organized into power of authorities, which encourage some individuals and activities, while punishing others. In the capitalist societies, the organization of labor and its distribution of powers, the modern sexual system has been “the object of political struggle since it emerged and as it has evolved” (p.56). To finish, if the issues between labor and capital are perplexes, it makes you be certain that sexual conflicts are completely camouflaged.
Kinsman, G. (n.d.). The Creation of Homosexuality as a “Social Problem”. 13-27.
Rubin, G. (n.d.). Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality. 39-59.