Women As Sex Vendors (book)
Women As Sex Vendors - or, Why Women Are Conservative (Being a View of the Economic - Status of Woman) is a book written in 1918 that argues that women have a monopoly on a human need (sex) and that this makes virtually all women more economically/socially privileged than men and also makes women members of the counter-revolutionary class in regards to socialism. In other words, the book describes virtually all women as bourgeois. The book is notable in that it was written by a prominent female socialist and contains a number of arguments about present day sexual dynamics that virtually no prominent Western socialists today would argue were ever true. The book is less powerful in its description of the psychology behind sexual choice and possible solutions to modern sexual dynamics.
Contrary to some evolutionary psychologists who see natural sexual impulses as driving women to want resource security from men, the book argues that it is mainly the economic system that drives women to want economic security from men. The book suggests that sexual desire plays little to no role in women demanding resources for sex (which is well... false), and that a post-capitalist society would positively transform relationships by ending the role of material ownership in sexual relations. The book sees social status (meritocracy through socialism) as a better sorter of mating success than non-meritocratic ownership of material goods. The book however, does not go into how men bartering with social status in a socialist meritocracy is not a barter, nor how a meritocratic market socialism would end bartering for sex based on material resources.
The book argues that capitalism pushes women to exercise a naturally privileged economic position to avoid homelessness, avoid hard labor, and to create more labor power through her offspring. The book explicitly and successfully anticipated the enormous money transfer from men to women - not just because of feminism - but because of the female monopoly on sexual access, which they collectively utilize to extract resources from men. It could be argued that the modern incel epidemic is exacerbating this tendency, with the hordes of thirsty men willing to purchase even female refuse and bodily fluids seen as a particularly depraved example of this female privilege.
“”The psychology of the sexes in youth is totally different. The ideas of the average young man are those of one who expects to become some day a producer or at least a worker; the ideas of the average young woman are those of one who expects and intends (for here, too, Youth sees only personal victory) to rise into the leisure, non-producing or supported class.
“”The young man expects to accomplish something in the world, to earn much money, or "high position," in order to be able to marry the most charming girl. The "most charming girl," if she be temporarily forced to earn her own living, expects to find somebody who will marry her, give her more luxuries than she has been accustomed to, and lift her far above her companions. She hopes to become a member of the leisure class even if she never attains it.
“”Women are potential parasites even if they never become real ones, and this is the gist of the matter we are discussing. Why are nearly all small farmers reactionary, individualistic, distrustful, competitive? Because they hope some day to become gentleman farmers. Why are most small business men narrow, egoistic, conservative? For the reason that they hope one day to become men of Big Business. The young woman in America today possesses the same psychology. Being young, she not only hopes, she expects, to rise into the leisure class when some young man asks her for the privilege of supporting her through life.
“”Women, as a sex, are the owners of a commodity vitally necessary to the health and well-being of man“ “As a sex, women occupy a position similar to the petty shop-keeper, because they possess a commodity to sell or to barter. Men, as a sex, are buyers of, or barterers for, this commodity.
“”[Man] has four vital needs to satisfy while woman has only three, and woman possesses, for barter, for sale, or for gift, the wherewithall to satisfy one of these.
“”The more economic power a group, or a class, or a sex possesses, the more the state throws the mantle of its protective laws about it. Women are owners of a commodity for which men are buyers or barterers, and our modern laws protect woman at the expense of man.
“”The beautiful woman sees no need for intelligence nor for understanding because she has always been able to outstrip her less attractive competitors in making the best match and securing the rich husbands. And so her neurones rarely "connect," or react, except to stimuli pertaining to things that will enhance her charms and increase her selling price.
“”That there are [virtually] no women hoboes in the civilized world today is, [...] incontestable proof of the superiority of the economic status of woman over man.
“”Men love to [..] provide [women] with luxurious surroundings, because this advertises to the world the fact that they are able to purchase a superior, i. e., a higher priced commodity
“”Why, do you imagine, the woman who brings to a penniless husband, not only herself but a fortune as well, is looked down upon in many countries? [...] Is it not because both are unconsciously violating the code, or the trade "understandings," in giving not only of themselves, but their substance as well? These women are selling below the market, or scabbing on the job.
“”It is one of the most absurd notions derived from eighteenth century enlightenment that in the beginning of society woman was the slave of man. Among all savages and barbarians of the lower and middle stages, sometimes even of the higher stage, women not only have freedom but are held in high esteem.
“”No matter how little the provocation, legally or sentimentally, any woman may kill almost any man, and the jury will render a verdict of Not Guilty. She has only to say that he "deceived her.
If any feminist claim enjoys even more widespread acceptance than that which asserts that women are oppressed in the West today, it is that which asserts that women were even more oppressed in the recent past before the feminists rode heroically to their rescue.
It may therefore come as a surprise to many that Mary Marcy, a leading early twentieth century American socialist – and moreover a woman – co-authored this short pamphlet with one R.B. Tobias (apparently her brother) in 1918, in which they both acknowledge the existence of female privilege even then and formulate a unique and persuasive theory to explain this phenomenon.
Yet, far from abandoning socialism, Tobias and Marcy’s thesis is framed in terms of, and derived from, orthodox Marxist economic theory. Indeed, as we will see, it is more consistent with Marxist theory than the inane ramblings of many self-styled 'Marxist-feminists', 'feminist-Marxists' and other assorted professional damned fools of the contemporary academic establishment – and indeed more compatible with orthodox Marxist theory even than Friedrich Engels’ own writings on gender relations and the family.
It also explains many aspects of the relations between the sexes in their time and ours, and is also eminently reconcilable with modern sociobiological theory.
You can find a comprehensive review of the book here: here
- Michel Clouscard
- Michel Houellebecq
- The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier: Selected Texts on Work, Love, and Passionate Attraction
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