. Capitalism Made You A Whore | London Progressive Journal
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Capitalism Made You A Whore

Mon 20th May 2019

This somewhat ranty piece won't win me any friends among the so-called sisterhood. I'll try to approach the theme with as much journalistic objectivity as possible. But I can't guarantee I'll make it all the way to the end without some suppressed steam leaking out of my ears.

Like most of us, my socio-cultural reactions are filled with hypocrisy. That's the real price we pay for living under the dictats of capitalism, especially when it's muddied by the waters of the class system. When I see social media pix of my friends' babies I can go ooh and ah and cootchie-coo with the best of 'em. But even as I wishthose families well, I know there's something wrong with the system that produces them.

Yeah, I'm officially a grumpy old woman - marking 77 years this month on this shared planet. Which means my perspective on what our society shares is filtered through a wider lens. It takes in aspects of the green agenda to help save the planet - if it really isn't too late for that. And it will link that to the disgusting initiatives in the United States to determine what women do with their bodies and enshrine a degradation of choice into state-wide legislation. But probably the biggest chain restricting women all over the world is the mythology of family life, and how the nature of capitalism perpetuates the myth for its very existence.

It's not a quantifiable if>then cultural matrix, but I'll try to keep it simple. We may have to go down one path, only to take a side turning before we get back to the main route, so please be patient.

The first thing to remember is that humans evolved over millions of years, finally arriving at a physical being, walking upright, with the anatomy to develop survival skills of pure invention as well as copying behaviours of other animals. These skills included verbal communication, closely observing seasonal patterns in the natural world, and above all, perfecting adaptability in a huge range of changes and events so the majority might benefit. The more we learn about our remarkable ancestors, we know their time wasn't all rat-race and production line. They had time for amazing artwork, music, and the bonding of the generations.

That is the fundamental basis for the human relationship with the balance of nature. It assures bio-diversity to the best of our ability, and minimises the kinds of careless, selfish behaviour which hastens the global warming that threatens us today. In an era that relies on limited sources of received wisdom, many people have been making easy assumption about the way we live. It's assumed that just because we can identify what's familiar, society must always have been that way.

In fact, just on the question of what scientists call sexual dimorphism, our human species has evolved very practical adjustments in males and females. Clearly in the centuries before bio-technology, pregnancy and breast-feeding have been the province of women. But, archaeologists studying the social roles that define the genders have discovered that women, even women carrying small children, played a similar role to men in the tasks of daily life. In the hundreds of thousands of years before humans settled down to a more agricultural lifestyle, both men and women passed along knowledge of hunting and gathering in forests, on plains, near the shores, and on the edges of the ice. Our common ancestors, curiosity built into their DNA, followed the wind, weaving through lands both strange and familiar. Each one working for the good of all.

That is the natural way of social communities. You can call it socialism if you need labels. What it was not, was a system governed by profit, especially not one assuring the profit accrues to the very few at the expense of the rest.

It is only over a mere ten thousand years that the roles of women became more restricted. Over time, rules were imposed to regulate some of the gender-based activities. A woman could no longer go hunting. A woman had to hide during menstruation. A woman couldn't take part in religious rituals. And, as centuries passed, women became the property of men, their duties and obligations included cleaning, cooking, child rearing, and forced sexual intercourse whether consensual or not. The balance of domestic relationships was now about power and control, even if couples were genuinely affectionate.

It was only among the economically privileged that women have had the means to escape the more onerous duties of marriage. Housekeeping was devolved to poorly paid servants, child rearing to nannies, and bedchamber visits to prostitutes and mistresses. Refined ladies could and often did take lovers of their own, but the more adventurous used their capital allowances or inheritance to travel, pursuing various hobbies in the arts and sciences. Bored in leisure and envious of the control of men, some women, like the roguish Gentleman Jack, embarked on liaisons with other women. All these class-based activities didn't arise during the Victorian era, but are well-documented in ancient cultures, including the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and some African and Australian groups.

But it's been women of less privilege who've borne the brunt of social degradation. This is perhaps the most insidious tactic of control meted out by capitalism. We've now had plenty of proof that the so-called trickle-down theory of capitalism has never worked. What the system does is trick us into believing that the growth of the wider economy is the ultimate goal, and only growth that can be measured by the wealth of the richest, is what will raise the living standards of the rest. We all know the figures - and they haven't really changed for the best part of two hundred years; roughly that the wealthiest one percent control over 50 percent of the world's assets. Or that less that ten percent of the population controls about 85 percent of the wealth.

Whatever policies get set in train around the world, the most effective for the rich to ensure compliance of those they control, is family life. It seems to be such a natural, kind and cosy solution to regulate society. But in reality, it uses the biological impulses that we've taken hundreds of thousands of years to evolve, and twist them into a kind of social slavery. And it's turned women into whores.

As we reach puberty, our hormones react to others, mostly heterosexual but sometimes homosexual as well. Whatever, it's that biological imperative to get laid. The urge is so strong we defy the barriers of parental expectations, religious restrictions, almost anything that stops our sexual explorations. These encounters are not motivated by producing a baby. They're about sex, not the anticipation of parenthood.

Unless you still believe in slavery, especially of women, then it can only be the province of the woman to determine whether parenthood may be the consequence of sex, however it has been administered - whether forced upon her or with her full consent.

Released in 1955, Frank Sinatra starred and sang the title song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn for the film The Tender Trap. It's probably the most persuasive evocation of how modern society entices people into the myth of the joys of family life. It equates the powerful emotion of love with a false consequence of state regulated ties. With those ties comes both The Trap, and the alleged means to fuel the capitalist

So, before you know it, you're a parent and, goes without saying, you love your kids. Do anything for 'em, wouldn't you? Work, work, work. You're a wage slave for The Man. You're a drudge as a little wife. Both far too exhausted to put up a fight against any social ills you may encounter. And, possibly, so tired and over-worked, you can't even find the time to spend with those kids you adore. So, instead, you assuage your guilt with presents. And maybe you drink or take drugs and order in instead of cooking, and maybe you get a heart attack, or cancer, and maybe your lovely idyll of family life is shattered. And your adorable kids don't know what they're supposed to do.

Because the capitalists who are making the rules do not care what happens to you. They do not care if you are conned into being a soldier. They do not care if you are tempted to break their rules. They do not care if you have become a whore, servicing the system.

That is one of the most powerful message of XR - Extinction Rebellion. It is the system itself which must be wrenched from the claws of the capitalists. Not just to re-vitalise the exploited people of the world, but to save the world itself.
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