cultural politics/"real" politics

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Mon May 4 08:31:15 PDT 1998

Doug writes:
> Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:
> >I think I was born just in time for mass production/democratization of SM.
> Just why is that happening now? Is it just a generally greater openness
> about sexual practices not approved of by the Bible, or is there something
> about the eroticization of power in a world where hierarchies are
> steepening?

I have to stretch way back to a rather vague memory for this note, but it may be of interest. A standard 20th c. view of the 19th was summed up in the term, "Victorianism," and the term tended to carry in it various sweeping judgments of the 20th c. as "liberated," "sexually liberated," "egalitarian" re gender, and so on. One could sweep all the ills of capitalism under the rug of "Victorianism" and pretend that they no longer existed, were a thing of the past.

Now a remembered article in (I believe) *19th century* (since renamed *20th C) from a bit over 40 years ago dealt interestingly with one small part of the myth of "Victorianism," the concept of that period as more or less sexless. This article pointed out that the Victorian Age was *the* great age in English history of prostitution and pornography. (All this victorian pornography got reprinted in the 70s and early 80s, perhaps indicating an insufficient supply to meet a suddenly enlarging market.)

I'm not sure what the significance of this point is, except that in speaking of current sexual ideology (as in speaking of current capitalism) one must beware of seeing as "new" what has been with us all along.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list