"Heterosexual Marriage"!

kcwalker at syr.edu kcwalker at syr.edu
Sat Oct 21 09:55:12 PDT 2000

>>oh geez carrol! fantasy isn't a substitute for physical sex, but a large
>>part of what physical sex is about.


>Yes, but here it's a _particular_ fantasy that is in question. A fantasy
>of rape -- eroticization of power, as Ken puts it. Suppose all fantasies
>won't disappear, but will _rape and rape fantasy_ be always with us, even
>_after_ the abolition of class, gender, and all other oppressions? Will
>we always eroticize power -- the relation of domination and subordination
>-- even after the material grounds for domination and subordination cease
>to exist? Do ideas have "lives of their own," pace what historical
>materialists (from Marx & Engels, the Frankfurt Theorists, Thomas Laqueur
>to Foucault in his own way at his best moments) have argued?

don't know yoshie. i know rape fantasies are among the top three fantasies het women have--least i read this some time ago. do you know anything about that, as long as we're on the topic? they've done research on the incidence of domestic violence among lesbian couples, too. and that apparently is not all that different from the incidence of domestic violence among hets. which, to me, suggest, as i'm sure you'll agree, that violence isn't only about patriarchy.. do you know if they've done any work on lesbian fantasy life?

seems to me that if i were to give an honest answer, i'd say that a *version* of a rape fantasy certainly is part of my sexuality. but, i think, at least from teaching courses on the sociology of sexuality, that most of the women who i've talked with about this typically acknowledge that the person in their fantasy isn't some dark mysterious stranger. (of course, regular old "real" rape isn't about mysterious strangers either). moreover, the rape fantasy of most of the women i know actually involves an assumption about their own power: the power to seduce a man, to be desired *so* much that a man doesn't "control" himself.

so, it's not clear to me who is the one wielding the power, doing the domination.

on the other hand, i know that when the reverse is the case, for me...well screw it. i just ain't going there... not on THIS list.

basically, put it this way: i think objectification is part of sexuality, that it's not necessarily a 'bad' thing. i think you can't get around the fact that you objectify the other--some call that violence. what makes it problematic now is that the roles that are assigned to women (when objectified) are, as with everything else, limited in the number and diversity.

but it seems to me that the unanswered question in your assumption above is this: how do you make the connections between fantasy (mind? i can't recall if it's okay to use that word?) and the social relations of production. maybe i've missed something but i thought that idea was simply poo pooed here most of the time because psychoanalysis is an attempt to make those linkages-- to explain fantasy life in terms of how its a manifestation of social relations of production, to attempt to make a link between relations of power at the "macro" level and the relations of power as they are played out between two people.


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