Quotes from The Arcane of Reproduction.

Leopoldina Fortunati

Chapter 3 (p. 28):

"Men and women have never been so irreconcilably divided as they are under capitalism--but never also, has the mode of production itself provided the potential means to destroy the power structure. Going beyond any historical judgement of what capitalism has represented, its continuing existence today means barbarism, not only because it represents the theft of non-waged work from women--who are obliged to live in isolation, semi-dependent on men--but also because it is the theft of non-waged work from the man. Women are forced to work for capital through the individuals they "love." Women's love is in the end the confirmation of both men's and their own negation as individuals. Nowadays, the only possible way of reproducing oneself or others, as individuals and not as commodities, is to dam the stream of capitalist "love"--a "love" which masks the macabre face of exploitation--and transform relationships between men and women, destroying men's mediatory role as the representatives of state and capital in relation to women. The only realistic program for sex equality is one for the non-exploitation of both."

Chapter 5 (pg. 65):

"These struggles of the 1970s have left behind a massive series of changes in the conditions of permanence within the prostitution market. On the one hand, many of today's prostitutes are also housewives and vice versa, to such a degree that passing between the housework and sexwork market--between one productive sector and another--has become very elastic. This elasticity has also come about in consequence of women making more cash-oriented as opposed to goods-oriented agreements with men. Women are tending to ask for more than "love" in their relationships with men. Furthermore chastity--saving of sex--has little meaning today from the working-class perspective; many women now have the power to contract with men without restricting their sexual conduct."

Chapter 6 (pg. 74):

"Non-material use-values are those goods produced within the housework process which have no material basis: affection, sexuality, companionship, "love," and the like. These goods satisfy the individual's non-material needs, which are as important for his/her reproduction as is a grilled steak or an ironed shirt....they are use-values for value."

(pg. 75):

"The fact that men are usually more egotistical in "love" relationships is generally taken as a given, explained either as selfishness or, by more progressive thinkers, as an element of the male/femal power relation which would naturally be reflected in a "love" relationship. But surely the differences between individuals' consumption of non-material use-values have a far more concrete basis. For example, within a couple relationship the adult male can consume, while the adult woman must primarily produce. The man is egotistical because he "consumes" love, and the woman is "generous" because she produces it. She produces it as part of the housework process in order to produce a commodity, labor-power. At first sight it may seem strange, or shocking that love, sex and affection can have so few real, natural elements left in them, however they do not transform themselves mechanically and automatically because of the relations of production of society. The emotions that we work (if we're women) or we consume (if we're men) are denaturalized, not only in their form but in their substance, their substance is a commodity."

Chapter 11 (pg. 126):

"It is common knowlege that family relations are alienated and alienating, that the "love" we have for our fathers, mothers, children and siblings has to be expressed through the work we do for them--work which produces them as commodities. All family members--even within the "love" of the family--are not protected from but remain subject to capital's will and discipline. Children "must" go to school whether they want to or not, for example, and everyone is aware that the family is in reality the pool of labor on which capital draws. It appears as a place of "love," but is in reality a place of alienation, of commoditization, of non-communication."

(pg. 137):

"To make the process of production and reproduction of labor-power function, other exchanges are also necessary. The most important of these "secondary" exchanges is that between the male worker and capital mediated by the female houseworker. This exchange and relation is required because the female houseworker's reproduction cannot only consist of the use-values into which the wage can be transformed; it must also include the consumption of use-values which only the husband can and must produce. For although in this relation this housework is paid for by the wage, it must appear not so. Thus "love" enters the discourse, and the relation can be expressed in other non-money terms. Without love, capital would not be able to make this relation function, nor would it be able to isolate the male and female houseworker within the family."

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