'Free Love,' Etc. (was Re: heterosexism vs homophobia)

Frances Bolton fbolton at chuma.cas.usf.edu
Fri Feb 12 07:46:20 PST 1999

>Frances: I hear what you're saying about male supremacy being the biggest
>problem facing the "heterosexual liberation" movement, I'm just not
>convinced that the "free love" movement was separate from male supremacy. I
>think the f.l movement was part of that supremacy, in the same way that
>"ending preferential hiring practices" is a part of white supremacy that
>wasn't recognized as such.
>Charles: By "ending preferential hiring practices" you mean affirmative
>action ? If yes, ending >aa has never been even slightly not recognized as
>part of white racism ! It is a main and >obvious part of it.

Well, ending affirmative action is recognized as such. "Ending preferential treatment" was not. The language successfully obfuscated the realpurpose of the proposition. I chose that language deliberately. I suggest that the "free love movement" also successfully obfuscates male desires to get laid.

>I definitely disagree that free love is analogous to ending affirmative
>action. You are >overstating the male chauvinism of the free love movement.
>Women were in and are still in >it.

You keep talking about this "free love movement" yet you haven't convinced me that any such thing exists. As far as I can tell, the folks who are out engaging in what you call "free love" aren't doing it as part of a movement, they are acting as individuals. Alot of people fucking around doesn't make a movement. I'm pretty uncomfortable with this lumping together of people. Yes, alot of people are fucking around. You don't know why, you don't know their goals/desires/interests. And, you don't know what's going on in those sexual relationships/experiences. Are they liberatory? Satisfying? Abusive? Was he too drunk to say no? Did she do it because she wanted to pass on a venereal disease? Are they happy? Fulfilled? How do you know all of them are enjoying "free love"?

> The idea that women are not for free love is false in my experience. A lot
of times they are >the promoters of it, but not necessarily shouting it in a movement. I would say anti-free love >is the more male supremacist, patriarchal position. Suppression of woman loving sex is a >main dimension of world-historic and 1990's male supremacy. Many women want to have >sex too. It is not just men.

This "free love" language is seeming more and more archaic the more frequently I read and write it. Well, suppression of women loving sex is one part of male supremacy, but it equally serves the interests of male supremacy for women to want to have sex. Can you make the arguement that the suppression of women loving sex is a main dimension of 1990s male supremacy? I can't. Everywhere I look I see images of happy sexualized women. The happy sexual woman, as seen in magazine ads and billboards (I don't have a tv, I assume they are there too) is one of the dominant images in US culture. The there are all the images of women who only achieve selfhood and happiness through their relationship with a man, right? That's sort of a dominant story as well. Women's magazines always have articles on having more fulfilling sexual relationships--they give detailed instructions on how women can enjoy sex more. Note: I'm not saying anything about whether it's just men or men and women who enjoy sex. I'm pointing out that sexual freedom is the one freedom offered to women, whereas (white) men have more options. Men don't have to be sexual. If women are not sexualized, they are judged negatively as being frigid prudes or old spinsters.


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