Gayle Rubin

February 28, 2007

I’m going to try my best on this one, even though a lot of it went without me understanding .

Like Althusser, Rubin mentions the reproduction of labor.  However, Rubin takes that concept and applies it to housework.  She is saying that because traditionally it is women who do the housework, and since there are no wages associated with housework, this is perpetuating the oppression of women.  Like the worker returns each day to earn more wages, so to does the woman do housework each day, but without earning any wages.

I was a little confused as to what exactly kinship systems are.  On page 1669 Rubin writes, “Kinship systems are and do many things.  But they are made up of, and reproduce, concrete forms of socially organized sexuality.  Kinship systems are observable and empirical form of sex/gender systems.”  So, kinship systems are used to maintain a rigid structure in which women are kept inferior to men?  Is that what a kinship system is? Maybe?

I found the part of gifts to be pretty interesting.  On page 1671 it says, “women who are the most precious of gifts.  He argues that the incest taboo should best be understood as a mechanism to insure that such exchanges take place between families and between groups.”  First of all,  you shouldn’t need an outside mechanism to tell you that kissing your cousin just ain’t right. 

On 1672 it continues, “If women are the gifts, then it is men who are the exchange partners.”  This I can kind of see.  I think of marriage and how before a man proposes to the woman, he first asks the father’s permission.  And at the wedding, it is the father who gives his daughter away.  I guess this can be seen as the father offering his daughter as somewhat of a gift to another man. 

Those are the parts that I understood, the rest could use some explaining.


2 Responses to “Gayle Rubin”

  1. brett glasser said

    Well again ryan you and I see eye to eye on yet another piece of work. I thought this one was a little tricky basically because we are both males. Now when i read about her thoughts on the extermination of the other sex, I felt like it was just men hatorade flowing fierce. Yet later on she talks about how men also fall into the trap of sexism and that we feel the negative effects as well. This one is surely going to be hard to discuss because I dont really understand her actual point regarding men, maybe we are the devil?

  2. marina628 said

    Hi Ryan,

    I found Rubins discussion of women as gifts to be interesting also. I guess I never really looked at it in that way. I’m assuming shes using this as a way to defend how women are being “used” but as much as I could begin to side with her, this can be looked at in a number of ways. Like the line you quoted for example, “women as precious gifts” could also be read as women as queens held in high importance. We may have found this interesting in different ways, but I just wanted to share my spur of the moment thoughts with you! 🙂

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