Tag Archives: classism

dirty trashy prude

[cw: sex talk, misogyny]

Initially I wrote an introduction to this but instead just have this list:

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more Lehr quotes

[cw: heterosexism, misogyny, racism, classism]

“We can consider further the importance of sexual exclusivity within marriage and the impact of inclusion into the marriage contract by exploring the regulation of marriage through the requirement of consummation, which guarantees that the family is a sexual family.  Richard Collier (1995) provides a detailed analysis of the construction of appropriate sexuality and masculine identity in British law through legal cases contesting the consummation of particular marriages. In these cases, the courts decide what counts as meaningful enough sexual interaction within a marriage so that the marriage should continue… the courts can void those contracts where they — generally in conversation with ‘experts’ such as medical professionals — determine that appropriate sexuality has not taken place.”

–Valerie Lehr, Queer Family Values, p. 28-29

“…In fact, the social privileging of heterosexual monogamy was part of an early twentieth-century attempt to control and civilize European immigrants, and to control and encourage white middle-class women to reproduce.  It was a social norm heavily connected to the middle-class desire to encourage the development of private family life, a life away from the public space of the street.  By forming such isolated family units, men would be influenced by the pro-social desires and needs of their wives; workers would be more hesitant to strike, both because they would be less connected to one another and because they would feel greater responsibility to their wives and children; ideal consumer units would be created; and parents would be able to support their increasingly costly children…  Within this patriarchal construction, women were accorded rights by the state and benefits from the state not as individual, but as mothers and as caretakers of others.”


“…Equally important, [creating and maintaining relationships and that embodied romantic and sexual desire] provided a rationale for addressing what had become a serious social concern — an increased number of educated, middle-class women who were choosing not to marry and not to give birth.

In the period immediately prior to the consolidation of the companionate marriage as ‘normal,’ women chose in extraordinary large numbers to forgo marriage and childbearing… The circumstances that gave rise to an ideology that defined single women and men increasingly as ‘sick’ and dangerous are instructive for us today because they reveal the complex ways by which gender, sexuality, race, class norms, and privilege were woven together through the creation of norms of family.”


“While white middle-class women were giving birth to fewer children in the late 1800s, large numbers of immigrants continued to enter the country and rates of reproduction were higher among immigrants, blacks, and the native working class than for the white middle class.  Spreading the middle-class value of sexual restraint to the working class was one answer to growing fears of ‘race suicide.’ This would only be effective, however, if combined with increasing pressure on white middle-class women to marry and give birth to more children.  President Theodore Roosevelt expressed these desires: ‘By 1906 [Roosevelt] blatantly equated the falling birth rate among native born whites with the impending threat of ‘race suicide.’  In his State of the Union message that year Roosevelt admonished the well-born white women who engaged in “willful sterility” — the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race suicide’ (Davis 1981, 209).”


“The development of hegemonic family centered around companionate heterosexual relationships and had a particularly devastating effect on women who often did not have the economic resources to choose not to marry.  The attack used against women who were choosing to not marry was that they were too androgynous — that is, not accepting of their proper place as women.”


…Does this remind you of anything?

AI, sex bots, and revolution

I want to get this one thought out of my head real quick before bed.

[cn for sexual harassment, just vague talk of fictional stuff]

A long time back, I was talking to the copilot about the “evil AI (artificial intelligence)” and “robot apocalypse” tropes, and how I’ve just never understood the fear, and I started going into my theory about how those Malevolent Robots Try To Take Over The World narratives are actually a stand-in for bourgeoisie anxieties and class conflict (these are the kinds of conversations we have, yes).

I’m not really sure how that idea fermented in my head or how I wound up there — but looking back, I recently realized where it might have originated.

I vaguely remember seeing part of the movie Westworld when I was young (read: maybe eleven at the oldest, possibly as young as seven).  It’s a movie about, you guessed it, rebellious robots.  More specifically, it’s about some theme park androids who start to develop wills of their own and start becoming disobedient.  For the gunslinger robot, this means shooting and killing people, but it starts out smaller-scale than that.  Some of the other theme park robots are “seduction” robots, and one of the first instances the viewers are shown of a robot expressing free will involves a “female” designed-for-sex bot refusing to have sex with a human man.  Multiple times in a row, he tried to hit on her, and she rebuffed him each time (I’m only half-remembering this, but I recall some kind of escalation).  The man was left looking confused and dismayed because she was refusing to bend to his will and operate according to her “purpose.”

It’s. Creepy.

And so I have to figure that influenced me, too, because even as a young kid, I sided with her.

some reminders

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

Disliking sex doesn’t make you a Big Bad Puritan.  It doesn’t make you much like the Puritans at all, actually.

Liking sex is not a prerequisite for intelligence or maturity.  It does not factor in your worth.

You are not obligated to like or even tolerate “classic literature,” no matter what the people who are supposed to tell you otherwise tell you.  The concept of “literary merit” is itself arbitrary.

You don’t deserve to be exposed to sexual situations without your say-so.

You are loved.  You are loved.  You are loved.

on “Victorian morality”

Given how often I’ve seen the idea that disgust toward sex is haughty and oppressive unless paired with a disclaimer, I’m interested in how that erroneous cultural link formed to begin with.  I can only assume it must have something to do with the upper-class elites of the Victorian age, your classic “prudes,” and this post details the best explanation I’ve come to for what we now know as “Victorian morality,” based on what I can put together from what I can scrounge up on the subject.  If you’re more informed and have corrections or additions to make, please let me know in the comments.

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