Patriarchal paradigm

What is a postmodern definition of love and is it really the opiate of women?

Published October 15, 2003 7:36PM (EDT)

Dear professor Tennis,

Can you please respond to the quote below from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy? Is Marxist/Feminist theory correct? Is love really the opiate of women?

"Some may see love as an instantiation of social dominance by one group (males) over another (females), in which the socially constructed language and etiquette of love is designed to empower men and disempower women. On this theory, love is a product of patriarchy, and acts analogously to Marx's view of religion (the opiate of the people) that love is the opiate of women. The implication is that were they to shrug off the language and notions of 'love,' 'being in love,' 'loving someone,' and so on, they [women] would be empowered. The theory is often attractive to feminists and Marxists, who view social relations (and the entire panoply of culture, language, politics, institutions) as reflecting deeper social structures that divide people into classes, sexes, and races."

What do you think? Am I just a weak addict looking for a fix? Any opportunity to fit myself into the hegemonic patriarchal paradigm? Should I write off love as an addictive substance? What's the deal with the feminist Marxists? I usually agree with them! Is love just a fallacy? Does love deserve no time in our lives? How should love work now? What is a postmodern definition of love?

Look at the Poppies

Dear Look at the Poppies,

I don't really like that piece of writing very much. Where it is coherent, it seems wrong, and where it is incoherent, it seems irrelevant. The key is in the first three words: "Some may see ..." Some may see lizards crawling up my face when I am bathing. Some may not. Some may see Jews as the controllers of the world banking system. Some may see white bread as the cause of colon cancer. Some may not. Some may see the truth and some may see illusions. That's both true and obvious. Nothing that follows is very useful to a person trying to figure out how to live.

I write a column about conduct, not theory. I celebrate what is here in front of us. I celebrate ignoring the bullshit. I celebrate your freedom to say, Wow, I don't really much care for theory.

I was listening to two well-known writers on NPR the other day while driving to the auto parts store to get some plugs and wires for a 1959 Chevy Apache pickup truck I just bought from some guy down the street for $800. I didn't like the voices of the guys. I thought they sounded like guys I don't like -- there's this kind of nasally, nervous guy voice that makes me cringe, makes me think of privilege and exclusion and a million layers of bullshit, and I thought, Wow, since I am trying to get a book published and do some business in the cultural sphere, maybe I should like the sound of these guys' voices, their snickering and lameness, their shallowness and pretension. Because I figure that the business of selling books is partly about making people feel comfortable with their intellectual laziness. But instead I thought to myself, I don't like this shit. And I turned off the radio and felt much better.

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