This is possibly one of the most important essays for any radical feminist to read.
What I’ve been trying to approach in previous essays is that sex (both the physical state of being and the physical act, especially as defined by men), power, and class are all parts of the patriarchy; and that all systems of power-based classification (social, economical, racial, sexual) are inherently hierarchical, based on domination and submission, and therefore incompatible with radical feminist life or theory.
Capitalism is patriarchy. (All systems of power are questionable and should be questioned.) Capitalistic hierarchy plays into patriarchy by creating further classes within women: the ‘haves’, who can be sold as brides, and the ‘have-nots’, who can be sold as slaves.*
We can only achieve true liberation for women by dismantling the power structures of capitalism, as well. This article is not an expressly anticapitalist document (fear not, those who sniff disdainfully at ‘those dirty hippies’), but does an excellent job of spelling out the relationship between capitalism (particularly global capitalism) and the female sex class. It basically draws a (metaphorical) diagram with big red arrows. It should be required reading for anyone interested in radical feminist theory.
* It is understood that the difference between “bride” and “slave” is often only rhetorical. However, at the same time, to claim that there is no difference between, say, an upper-middle-class white woman who lives an unfulfilling life as unpaid housemaid and sex toy for some dude, and a woman (especially a woman of color) born into poverty (especially in what the West would euphemistically call “a developing nation”) who ‘sells herself’ as her only means of support would be patronizing and disingenuous.
This is not “the oppression Olympics.” This is reality. One can have sympathy and empathy for both the unfulfilled house-slave and the woman who is literally prostituted — and one can thus work to change both realities — at the same time.
Thanks to Sam at Genderberg for hosting this incredible essay online.