Re: shulamith firestone et al.

Lief M. Hendrickson (hendrick@NOSC.MIL)
Mon, 20 Feb 1995 18:10:00 PST

On Feb 20, Maureen Koop asked:

>Could the context for the Firestone quip be explained please?

Ralph Holloway had asked a similar question and Ruby Rohrlich
made some comments. The topic followed a report of research on
sexual dimorphism in the human brain reported by Ralph. No one
related the study to a gender superior/inferior issue, except
Ruby who apparently has an inferior ability to pay attention-
unrelated to her gender.

The relationship of Firestone's works is in how male and female
differences are characterized. I don't think Firestone would go
along with an inherent difference in the brains. She viewed the
difference as being centered in the reproductive organs. The
study on dimorphism reported there is also a difference in the
brains. This could present some problems in commingling all male
and female roles as Firestone proposes. I'm not addressing the
dimorphism research, per se- only that it presents some problems
to Firestone followers if true.

As further information on Firestone- she claimed that females
are victimized by "psychosexual" reality (_Dialectic of Sex_,
pg. 5) based on the family which she would eliminate in its
present form. With breakup of the family and an end of the
incest taboo, "humanity could finally revert to its natural
polymorphous sexuality- all forms of sexuality would be allowed
and indulged" (pg. 209).

She stated, "If early sexual repression is the basic mechanism by
which character structures supporting political, ideological, and
economic serfdom are produced, an end to the incest taboo,
through the abolition of the family, would have profound effects:
sexuality would be released from its straight jacket to eroticize
our whole culture, changing its very definition" (pg. 60).

Change in definition, indeed! Anthropologists will be very busy
sorting out the ensuing morass. The means to achieve all this
will be test-tube fertilization and artificial placentas (pg.
197-198). People will live in "limited contract households" to
replace the family (pg. 231). The members of approximately 10
each, including 3 or 4 children, would not necessarily be related
to each other, especially since many will have come from test
tubes. This is bed-rock feminist stuff as Maureen and Ruby well

Think about it in your home. Hope you like your new room mates
when Firestone's "anticulture" (pg. 190) revolution occurs.