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The Sex Hierarchy as Described in Rubin's Talking Sex

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With progressive changes in the world, the ascribed definitions and categorization of people in rigid boxes according to their sexual preferences can be seen changing over time and in these changing times the question as to what is acceptable to the society fluctuates. In my opinion, ‘the Line’ of sex hierarchy about which the Gayle S. Rubin talks in her article “Thinking Sex”, strictly segregating what is good sex and what is bad sex, is a more fluid/transgressing line based on the mainstream sexual morality because with the modernization and evolution, human being are beginning to reshape their traditional ideologies and have accepted some of those categories which were earlier considered to be dangerous, harmful, inferior and undesirous for the society and who always remained far away from the line and I say this because in today’s world the LGBTQ communities have gained a strong voice for their rights claiming liberty and freedom of choice and expression to be its pillars, groups for awareness about gay rights, talks, conventions and initiatives regarding the contraceptions, abortion rights among others are the signs of rationalization. And I largely agree with Rubin’s whole idea about the power dynamics, political, social and economic struggles of the communities, which in my impression was pathetic for such derogatory and discriminatory treatment of one for their own sexual preference and trying to model them on the ramp of mainstream ideology of patriotism based on their own cultural assumptions.

These groups being different does not really demand much from the society, they only urge appreciation, quality life and support rather than advocating for supremacy in sex hierarchy. From my standpoint, I believe that it is way worse when the stigmatization by society in the name of protection to moral fabric of nation, uses their community struggle and history of oppression as subject of political strategy. This in turn makes it more difficult and challenging for them to defend their civil liberties.

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In my understanding, what we underestimate today is actually socially constructed and contingent. For example, as Rubin rightly examines that our inclination to consider sexual behavior as an ‘identity’ is a recent development, before the nineteenth century, those kinds of identities did not exist.

The reality is traumatizing as, much like the society, even the families are trapped in the reinforcing the stereotypes and sexual conformity of popular ideology and react by shunning them from the families. This can easily be related to the fears of Ms. Rose (the nun) of being punished, facing rejection, mistreatment or being thrown out of the family, if her mother gets to know about her pregnancy which would be bring stain to family name and stigma of erotic behavior. I definitely agree with Rubin that different laws in past though held strong taboo against erotic activities but it ought not be abused to undermine a critique of this prohibition. For instance, the banning of porn sites in India with the object of protecting the vulnerable population of the society.

The charmed circle in itself has been explained by the author to have rigid compartmentalization which once crossed from good to bad can never be cross again in the opposite direction and if something from the bad side crosses the line, all chaos will break loose and society will crumble, according to my views, our tendency to think such is because of the adamant nature of the social hierarchy.

But once again with the development and coming out of different and newer forms of sexuality, the society has started to recognize the earlier forms of sexuality, who have their own struggle, politically and socially, as compared to the other recent formations. In my opinion, it is due to the fact that the existence of lesbian and gay communities have been so internalized subconsciously by the society over years vis-a- via the recent communities whose presence is still indigestible for the society because they tend to destroy and change the newly formed cohesion. For example: earlier black people were alleged to have ‘lower’ sexual standards as against white, whereas a heterosexual relation of people are considered as good sex than the homosexuals. This modernization, in my opinion, will lead to undermining of religious taboos, downgrading of absolute moral standards and replacements with the flexible standards, promotion of acceptance of new sexual relation.

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