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I Do? Towards an (Alternative) Alternative Sexual Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  9 and its institutional sanction. 9 It is not the statutory pronouncement of husband and wife that makes marriage so troubling, I shall argue, but instead the rights and privileges conjoined to that pronouncement. So what then of marriage’s redistributive harm, its exclusivist arrangement of, among other things, health benefits, pension, social security, inheritance and estate rights, and conferral of citizenship status? 10 Similarly, what of marriage as a fulcrum of other regulatory social policies? Herein is the second shortcoming of Warner and Butler, a shortcoming important to developing a sexual politics that immanently theorizes distribution. To foreground this second line of critique, I will start with the punch line: a more robust politics of sexual justice ought to account for distributive systems and their effects on sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships. New subjects, beyond those marked “gay” or “queer” are thus accounted for and represented. Admittedly, I will not exactly convey how maldistribution perpetuates sexual misrecognition and marginalization. But let’s suppose that at the very least, the body, the mind, and “leisure” time require protection and supportive preconditions for fulfilling sexuality and sexual experience. The body is the tactile site of pleasure, the mind comprehends those pleasures, organizes them, and imagines new pleasures. 11 “Leisure” time from labor, nourishment, and sleep is the space, so to speak, of pleasurable occurrences, albeit sex, foreplay, or the mere company of one’s partner(s). The political demands that might fall under “body,” then, would include shelter, nourishment, health care, sexual health care, and the resources for contraceptives, lubricants, and even sex toys, loosely defined. The political demands that might fall under “mind” would include adequate mental health care, education, safer-sex education, education in sexual pleasure, and the resources to pursue these ends. The 9 Warner (2002, 169-71; 1999, 149-218) and Butler (1997b) pay heed to the structuring of desire by capitalist imperatives and cultural injunctions, just not in the texts discussed. For an excellent theoretical inquiry into modern sexuality and its formative relation to economy, see D’Emilio (1993). 10 I employ Fraser’s distinction between social justice frameworks of redistribution and recognition (1997a), but only to eventually collapse the distinction. See Butler (1997b) and Young (1997). 11 The theoretical and normative investments of this paper are such that pleasure is figured an overly literalized, embodied, sexualized fashion, with apologies to Foucault. Yet I hope that the political demands are thin enough to presuppose the most minimally pre-interpellated, pre-discursive subject.

Authors: Fischel, Joseph.
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9
and its institutional sanction.
9
It is not the statutory pronouncement of husband and wife
that makes marriage so troubling, I shall argue, but instead the rights and privileges
conjoined to that pronouncement.
So what then of marriage’s redistributive harm, its exclusivist arrangement of,
among other things, health benefits, pension, social security, inheritance and estate rights,
and conferral of citizenship status?
10
Similarly, what of marriage as a fulcrum of other
regulatory social policies? Herein is the second shortcoming of Warner and Butler, a
shortcoming important to developing a sexual politics that immanently theorizes
distribution.
To foreground this second line of critique, I will start with the punch line: a more
robust politics of sexual justice ought to account for distributive systems and their effects
on sex, sexuality, and sexual relationships. New subjects, beyond those marked “gay” or
“queer” are thus accounted for and represented. Admittedly, I will not exactly convey
how maldistribution perpetuates sexual misrecognition and marginalization. But let’s
suppose that at the very least, the body, the mind, and “leisure” time require protection
and supportive preconditions for fulfilling sexuality and sexual experience. The body is
the tactile site of pleasure, the mind comprehends those pleasures, organizes them, and
imagines new pleasures.
11
“Leisure” time from labor, nourishment, and sleep is the
space, so to speak, of pleasurable occurrences, albeit sex, foreplay, or the mere company
of one’s partner(s). The political demands that might fall under “body,” then, would
include shelter, nourishment, health care, sexual health care, and the resources for
contraceptives, lubricants, and even sex toys, loosely defined. The political demands that
might fall under “mind” would include adequate mental health care, education, safer-sex
education, education in sexual pleasure, and the resources to pursue these ends. The
9
Warner (2002, 169-71; 1999, 149-218) and Butler (1997b) pay heed to the structuring of desire
by capitalist imperatives and cultural injunctions, just not in the texts discussed. For an excellent
theoretical inquiry into modern sexuality and its formative relation to economy, see D’Emilio
(1993).
10
I employ Fraser’s distinction between social justice frameworks of redistribution and
recognition (1997a), but only to eventually collapse the distinction. See Butler (1997b) and
Young (1997).
11
The theoretical and normative investments of this paper are such that pleasure is figured an
overly literalized, embodied, sexualized fashion, with apologies to Foucault. Yet I hope that the
political demands are thin enough to presuppose the most minimally pre-interpellated, pre-
discursive subject.


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