Diablog #3 Summary: Rubin and Wilkerson

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Both Wilkerson's "Disability, Sex Radicalism, and Political Agency" and Rubin's "Thinking Sex" discuss sexuality and sex practices, focusing on hierarchies and eroticism.

However, Wilkerson's writing focuses more on the results of differences in sexuality on "non-heterosexual" individuals, feminists, and disabled persons (both mentally and physically), and sexuality's history in regards to its social and political context. Wilkerson argues that there are many axes of oppression, due to the inseparable relationship between sexual agency (ability to act on and determine sexual needs) and political agency. She also argues that erotophobia is "a central tool of inequality...creating and maintaining social hierarchies." This leads to the oppression and sexual powerlessness of social deviants. She later discusses shame (a political resource that is used to silence or isolate others) and how heterosexual women disadvantage themselves in their pursuit of beauty reinforces social hierarchies, such as patriarchal dominance. Do you think that erotophobia is still prevalent in modern society? If so, how can it be controlled so that it does not lead to inequality?

Rubin, on the other hand, also discusses oppression and hierarchies, but instead focuses on the ideologies instead of the effects. She argues that society should think of sexual politics in a new light, in terms of "populations, neighborhoods, patterns of settlement, migration, urban conflict, epidemiology, and police technology." The sexual ideologies that she discusses include: sex negativity (destructiveness of sex), fallacy of the misplaced scale, hierarchal valuation of sex acts, domino theory of sexual peril, and the lack of concept of benign sexual variation. Rubin argues that these are the sexual ideologies we should study instead of those that are dominated and supported by medicine, psychiatry, and psychology. How can we apply these ideologies that Rubin discusses and use them to ultimately eliminate sexual oppression and deteriorate sexual hierarchies?

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To answer your question related to Wilkerson text, yes Erotophobia is still prevalent and discussing it is still meaningful. It contributes maintaining restrictions and regulations of sexual desire in the society. Desirable sexuality is defined by those restrictions, excluding sexually deviant people such as people with unorthodox sexual desire, sexually minority people, or people with disabilities. To overcome this Erotophobia, we need to create counter-discourses by creating new criteria to define sexual pleasure or various forms of sexuality. By doing those, we can both persuade others and make decision by ourselves, and eventually reconstruct social norms and political system.

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