Temporarily embarrassed proletarians

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L.I. Underhill is a media critic and historian specializing in pop culture, with a focus on science fiction (especially Star Trek) and video games. Their projects include a critical history of Star Trek told through the narrative of a war in time, a “heretical” history of The Legend of Zelda series and a literary postmodern reading of Jim Davis' Garfield.


  1. BerserkRL
    April 3, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

    Herbert Spencer and Charles Dunoyer both pointed to the division of labour between the sexes as the beginning not only of patriarchy but of all class-based oppression. (They were not exactly averse to master narratives, however.)

    Dunoyer: "Women are the slaves of the savage life; they form the working class of that state; they carry out nearly all the useful labor that gets done there. … Everything they produce is the property of the husband. …"

    Spencer: "The slave-class in a primitive society consists of the women; and the earliest division of labour is that which arises between them and their masters. For a long time no other division of labour exists. … The primary political differentiation originates from the primary family differentiation. Men and women being by the unlikeness of their functions in life, exposed to unlike influences, begin from the first to assume unlike positions in the community as they do in the family: very early they respectively form the two political classes of rulers and ruled. … the domestic relation between the sexes passes into a political relation, such that men and women become, in militant groups, the ruling class and the subject class ….The truth that among peoples otherwise inferior, the position of women is relatively good where their occupations are nearly the same as those of men, seems allied to the wider truth that their position becomes good in proportion as warlike activities are replaced by industrial activities …. Where all men are warriors and the work is done entirely by women, militancy is the greatest. … Despotism in the state is necessarily associated with despotism in the family. … [I]n as far as our laws and customs violate the rights of humanity by giving the richer classes power over the poorer, in so far do they similarly violate those rights by giving the stronger sex power over the weaker. … To the same extent that the old leaven of tyranny shows itself in the transactions of the senate, it will creep out in the doings of the household. If injustice sways men’s public acts, it will inevitably sway their private ones also. The mere fact, therefore, that oppression marks the relationships of out-door life, is ample proof that it exists in the relationships of the fireside."


  2. Daru
    April 4, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

    I do not think that you have digressed at all – actually I really enjoy the sidetracks. I also agree and believe that the figure of Lara is central to the idea of how balance can be reached in a culture like the Federation that does dominate (or tries to).

    Really thank you for Bamberger's article, this I will be reading and digesting. I am a strong holder of feminist values, but of late I have been taking up activist attitudes based on the resurrection of the full blooded, heartful, positive male – rather than the emasculated, Goddess serving 'man-who-is-somehow-less-than-a-man' approach that many guys took on as some form of guilt ridden ghost. I do have strong feeling over this.

    I have included the blurb for a book called "It Is Time" by my one time friend Fiona Graham. We had years worth of discussion around patriarchy and matriarchy – and my feelings in the end was that there were problems in moving towards any one gender dominating (I myself have been affected by both forms of archy – as well as many more). It reached the point where our friendship pretty much ended over these issues and she published this book below, where she worked with an ex (male) German physicist on an apparently anonymous ancient Judaic text (though they never source it) that they argue stated the primacy of the feminine over the masculine, pretty much as an absolute.

    Thanks also BerserkRL for your research!

    (VERY funny capchta below: "prostrated goopids" – could not be more perfect!)

    "IT IS TIME is about female authority and how it can be (re-) established to mend a broken world. Inevitably it is a challenging and controversial book as it examines every level of patriarchal control.
    Therefore IT IS TIME comes with the advice not to buy it if you believe that your god is the one true God, or if you think that there are no alternatives to the way the world is.
    The first part of IT IS TIME outlines the main points of an ancient text. The anonymous writers of the original text were acute and compassionate observers of human behaviors and they were also mystics. In describing how the world came into existence, they explained why in their view it is essentially female and suggested what its purpose might be. While they acknowledged the uniqueness of every individual, they lamented the damage done to the fabric of the whole by the selfishness of individuals who thought that they were separate from the whole. They were particularly concerned by the actions of men who tried to control everything they were afraid of. They were very clear about the difference between male control and female authority and were utterly convinced that a world led by women would be more harmonious.
    The second part of IT IS TIME shows why their message matters now. The idea of male surrender to female authority may be disconcerting to women and men alike, but it is worthy of consideration by everyone who is distressed by the current state of the world."


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