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Sexual Politics in 1984
Transcript of Sexual Politics in 1984
IOP: Sexual Politics in
The Control & Repression of Sexuality
By: Caroline Beddoe
Sexuality is the capacity for sexual feeling, a person’s sexual orientation or preference, and the act of engaging in sexual activity.
Integral, basic aspect of existence, universal
Sense of who we are, part of identity/individuality
Personal pleasure, expression, freedom, power
Why is sexuality important?
“Not merely the love of one person, but the animal instinct, the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that would tear the Party to pieces.” (Orwell 132)
Methods & Purpose of Sexual Control
Junior Anti-Sex League, Disapproval of Sexuality
“Sexual intercourse was to be looked on as a slightly disgusting minor operation, like having an enema. This again was never put into plain words, but in an indirect way it was rubbed into every Party member from childhood onwards. There were even organizations such as the Junior Anti-Sex League which advocate complete celibacy for both sexes. … The Party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or, if it could not be killed, then distort it and dirty it.” (Orwell 69)
“Suppression of the natural sexuality in the child, particularly of its genital sexuality, makes the child apprehensive, shy, obedient, afraid of authority, "good" and "adjusted" in the authoritarian sense; it paralyzes the rebellious forces because any rebellion is laden with anxiety; it produces, by inhibiting sexual curiosity and sexual thinking in the child, a general inhibition of thinking and of critical faculties. In brief, the goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation.” (Reich 24-25)
“Its real, undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act. Not love so much as eroticism was the enemy, inside marriage as well as outside it. All marriages between Party members had to be approved by a committee appointed for the purpose, and – though the principle was never clearly stated – permission was always refused if the couple concerned gave the impression of being physically attracted to one another. The only recognized purpose of marriage was to beget children for the service of the Party.” (Orwell 68-69)
“The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, expect loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. …” (Orwell 280)
What was more important was that sexual privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship. … 'All this marching up and down and cheering and waving flags is simply sex gone sour. If you’re happy inside yourself, why should you get excited about Big Brother and the Three-Year Plans and the Two Minutes Hate and all the rest of this bloody rot?' ... There was a direct intimate connection between chastity and political orthodoxy. For how could the fear, the hatred and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling down some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.” (Orwell, 139-140)
Use of Repressed Sexuality/Sex Drive
Control of Marriage & Sex for Procreation Only
Winston & Julia's Relationship
“This embrace had been a battle, the climax a victory. It was a blow struck against the Party. It was a political act.” (Orwell, 133)
Rebellion, need for sexual freedom
Fundamental link between authoritarian regimes and sexuality
Why does the Party fear sexuality?
Authoritarians: pattern in history
Female sexual repression
Sexuality in Society
London: Penguin Books, 2008. Print.
The Mass Psychology of Fascism
. Trans. Theodore P. Wolfe. New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1946.
. Web. 24 May 2015.
Weeks, Jeffrey. “Sexual politics.”
5 Nov. 1989.
Web. 23 May 2015.
Kramer, Joel and Diana Alstad.
The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power
. Berkeley, California: Frog Books, 20 May 1993.
. Web. 23 May 2015.
“Female genital mutilation.”
World Health Organization.
World Health Organization, Feb. 2014. Web. 21 May 2015.
Haynes, Mike. “Brief Encounters.”
. Web. 21 May 2015.
Ferlic, K. “Sex as a weapon of control and manipulation.”
Releasing Your Unlimited Creativity
. K. Ferlic, 2008. Web. 17 May 2015.
Evans, Robert. "UN, African experts urge end to gay rights campaign bans."
Reuters, 18 Nov. 2014. Web. 23 May 2015.
root of social control
control body = control mind
relationships, institutions, cultures, religions, etc.
need for more sexual freedom