What I'm Reading: 'the problem of coming up with suggestions for alternate ways to be'

On Heteropessimism, in the New Inquiry (by Indiana Seresin):

Quite often framed as an anti-capitalist position, heteropessimism could be read as a refusal of the “good life” of marital consumption and property ownership that capitalism once mandated. Yet this good life, which was always withheld from marginalized populations, is now untenable for almost everyone. If the couple was the primary consumer unit of the past, today this has collapsed, or more accurately been replaced by a new dyad, the individual consumer and her phone…
…As we are living now, when privilege unravels it goes out kicking and screaming, and people lose confidence in how to be together, uncertain about how to read each other, and incompetent about even their own desire…

It seems, though unacknowledged, a companion piece to Amia Srinivasan’s Does Anyone Have The Right To Sex? in the 22 March 2018 edition of the LRB.

It is striking, though unsurprising, that while men tend to respond to sexual marginalisation with a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, women who experience sexual marginalisation typically respond with talk not of entitlement but empowerment. Or, insofar as they do speak of entitlement, it is entitlement to respect, not to other people’s bodies…

Finally, a pair of articles on Achewood, my own problematic fave, by Keith Pille (discussed in a lengthy thread at Metafilter): The Complicated, Slightly Better Manhood of Achewood, and Ray Smuckles: Nobody’s Role Model.

Hemingway’s books serve as vivid indictments of what we now frame as toxic masculinity (I think Hemingway knew that something was bad about what society expected from men, but was too trapped in his own time and culture to be able to formulate it in an explicit way, instead just sort of accidentally smearing a composite portrait through his entire body of work). The same thing is going on in Achewood, except with a touch more intentionality and with a little bit of progress on the problem of coming up with suggestions for alternate ways to be.



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Ben Harris-Roxas · 11 October 2019, 16:28 · #

You’re welcome

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Liam · 11 October 2019, 16:29 · #

Ben, thanks.


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