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I Do? Towards an (Alternative) Alternative Sexual Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  27 choices of poor women—those penalized most harshly by the state—should be front and center in both camps. If love, care, and commitment are valorized in same-sex couples as goods unto themselves deserving of state recognition, subsidy and protection, than those economically disadvantaged are equally entitled to those goods, and those goods ought not to be granted through tests of self-sufficiency or requirements of employment. We are accustomed to such arguments under the headings of feminist or anti- poverty politics. But they are likewise queer, or sexually progressive. By undervaluing, or worse stigmatizing, “dependency work,” care-taking, and reproduction, by tying up economic support for poor families’ lives and choices with employment and marital mandates, the state is unjustly sexually coercive. In effect, where the same-sex couple suffers the refusal of recognition, the “welfare mother” suffers relentless supervision. She is typecast as lazy, promiscuous, a leech on the state, who must be toughly weaned from her dysfunctional sexual and familial decisions. 21 I am uninterested in ranking these two oppressions, the refusal of recognition and the invasion of supervision. Rather I maintain that these types of oppressions oppress similarly, and alternative arrangements should be promoted collaboratively. Neither gay marriage politics nor queer the critique in their current manifestations can effectively expose marriage as a moral and political club against those outside both heterosexual and heteronormative matrices. IV. Conclusion The concern with legalizing same-sex marriage should be matched with an equal concern that marriage is the directive of social welfare policy. As negligent as the state has been in the recognition of same-sex relationships, it has been equally invasive in regulating the lives and bodies of poor women, in socially and economically pressuring 21 Fineman reminds her readers of less socially objectionable giveaways: “We rationalize assistance for ill-conceived or no-longer-sound business reasons and view as necessary and appropriate disaster assistance … but bristle at providing relief for the disasters that have resulted from decades of neglect … Government response in the former cases is seen as a matter of investment or preservation, an entitlement, not a grudging response to dependency, as it would be if the subsidy were going to impoverished mothers and their children.” (33) She convincingly argues that having a child requires collective support in ways that purchasing a Porsche does not. (42-43)

Authors: Fischel, Joseph.
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27
choices of poor women—those penalized most harshly by the state—should be front and
center in both camps. If love, care, and commitment are valorized in same-sex couples as
goods unto themselves deserving of state recognition, subsidy and protection, than those
economically disadvantaged are equally entitled to those goods, and those goods ought
not to be granted through tests of self-sufficiency or requirements of employment.
We are accustomed to such arguments under the headings of feminist or anti-
poverty politics. But they are likewise queer, or sexually progressive. By undervaluing,
or worse stigmatizing, “dependency work,” care-taking, and reproduction, by tying up
economic support for poor families’ lives and choices with employment and marital
mandates, the state is unjustly sexually coercive. In effect, where the same-sex couple
suffers the refusal of recognition, the “welfare mother” suffers relentless supervision. She
is typecast as lazy, promiscuous, a leech on the state, who must be toughly weaned from
her dysfunctional sexual and familial decisions.
21
I am uninterested in ranking these two
oppressions, the refusal of recognition and the invasion of supervision. Rather I maintain
that these types of oppressions oppress similarly, and alternative arrangements should be
promoted collaboratively. Neither gay marriage politics nor queer the critique in their
current manifestations can effectively expose marriage as a moral and political club
against those outside both heterosexual and heteronormative matrices.
IV. Conclusion
The concern with legalizing same-sex marriage should be matched with an equal
concern that marriage is the directive of social welfare policy. As negligent as the state
has been in the recognition of same-sex relationships, it has been equally invasive in
regulating the lives and bodies of poor women, in socially and economically pressuring
21
Fineman reminds her readers of less socially objectionable giveaways: “We rationalize
assistance for ill-conceived or no-longer-sound business reasons and view as necessary and
appropriate disaster assistance … but bristle at providing relief for the disasters that have resulted
from decades of neglect … Government response in the former cases is seen as a matter of
investment or preservation, an entitlement, not a grudging response to dependency, as it would be
if the subsidy were going to impoverished mothers and their children.” (33) She convincingly
argues that having a child requires collective support in ways that purchasing a Porsche does not.
(42-43)


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