[Marxism] Their Their Metrocard: Women And Publicity

Jeff Rubard jeffrubard at fusemail.com
Mon Mar 1 01:14:09 MST 2004


> Message: 8
> Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 19:29:13 +0100
> From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <bendien at tomaatnet.nl>
> Subject: [Marxism] The lover of the devil: obtaining knowledge and the
> 	nuance of "feminism fatigue"
> To: "Marxmail List" <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
> Cc: furuhashi.1 at osu.edu, PEN-L list <PEN-L at SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>
> Message-ID: <002501c3fef1$ef076ac0$5392e3d5 at jurriaan>
> Content-Type: text/plain;	charset="iso-8859-1"
>
> In Holland, when you are tired of pornography in its various forms, there
> is
> a new magazine women can buy, called Strictly Magazine. The ethos of
> Strictly Magazine is explained by the editor, Hermelijn van der Meijden,
> as
> follows:

Juriaan,

To take the horns of this dilemma in *oratio recta*: is there really so
much pornography
for women?  The answer is yes, but here I use the term "pornography" in a
wider
sense and use it to include ideological constituents not generally
understood as sexual; and in this sense women's magazines such as the one
analyzed by Barthes reveal themselves to have the pornographic function of
disclosing a "secret" world of femininity divorced not from the realities
of women's everyday lives (the "hook") but from the question of
considering issues with respect to their relevance social totality.  I
think a technical detail from journalism provides a little insight here:
articles in women's magazines rarely have a "deck" or subtitle which
provides a "structural description", not of the article's content per se,
but of the *Bedetungen* ("references") of the title's communicative
intention (subtext).

That is to say, women's magazines like the "Seven Sisters" (which have
their origins with Theodore Dreiser's *Delineator*) are something like
"pornography of the private": they "disclose" a world which, strictly
speaking, does not obtain but always could -- and if this seems overly
cheerful, female celebrities are generally not invited to give interviews
to *Redbook* and the like until something very unpleasant has happened to
them.  However, the amount of clout which such "green-label" media outlets
have has decreased, and although this definitely has its downside, in the
particular case of feminist issues and their bearing on women's lives in
general the outlook is not so bad.

Specifically, it is rather clear to me that the "specific difference" of
feminists with respect to "political" practice is a willingness to
consider the "limits of the public" in *oratio obliqua*, as it were: as a
quote-unquote imaginary boundary limned not by hard realities gently
administered but by reasoning roughly of a *teleological* character, that
is to say involving aims and purposes both concrete (personal) and
strictly speaking *impossible* ("systemic", that is to say exceeding the
bounds of any concrete social formation -- the "paradigm", that is the
possibly untranscendable prototype, being the "money-subject" in Simmel). 
To my mind this is really the fundamental distinction enabling liberalism
in all its forms: but since so much communication today is
"computer-mediated" -- that is to say, based in information technology
*intrinsically* permitting heavy "mixed-media" (even in the case of "pure
text", as those familiar with the history of *typography* in the 90s could
tell you) it seems to me that such issues are raised more or less directly
in practice rather than "media images".

And as the "ripped" Le Tigre quotation (for those that don't know, one of
their *friendlier* offerings about the joys of the subway pass) would
suggest they are to be resolved more-or-less-empirically: that is to say,
through *particularities* rather than the iteration of *Vorstellungen*
more-or-less casually associated with them -- and it seems to me that
female intellectuals in Gramascier hipsicht ("local" ref.) are
well-positioned intellectually to be carrying out such tasks, although
perhaps not at every cost (i.e., such a framework allows easy
incorporation of friendly interpretable objects into such "electric rock
music" and it is by no means clear that the slightly narsty Victorian
conceit of Marx's alluded to earlier is not also a limit which cannot be
transgressed).

Rubard





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