File spoon-archives/marxism-thaxis.archive/marxism-thaxis_1998/marxism-thaxis.9804, message 26

Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 11:28:05 +0000
Subject: Re: M-TH: 1844 Manuscripts: 1844 Understanding of Gender Relations

LeoCasey wrote:

> <<The direct natural, and necessary relation of person to person is
> the relation of man  to woman. In this natural species-relationship,man's
> relationship to nature is immediately his relation to man, just as his
> relation to man is immediately his relation to nature - his own natural
> destination. In this relationship, therefore, is sensuously manifested,
> reduced to an observable fact, the extent to which the human essence has
> become nature to man, or to which nature to him has become the human
> essence of man.  From this relationship on can therefore judge man's whole
> level of development. >>
> Quoting scripture, are we? Well, I am afraid that this passage just points out
> the author of the scripture was not very advanced in his understanding of the
> gender relationship, with its wholesale incorporation of the man as the
> carrier of culture/woman as the carrier of nature antinomy. (Do I have to
> spell out the ways in which this antinomy is completely complicit in the
> ideological construction of the oppression of women?) But since I am an
> agnostic with respect to this particular body of  scripture, I may not be
> invested in seeing it otherwise.

I must say I don't read it like this, Leo, without prejudice to your general
point. The problem lies in Marx's conventional use of 'Man' to denote both men and
women, anthropologically-speaking. It's not very helpful when he's talking about
women, I agree. He is not calling nature female, either, but is saying (I think
anyway) that the social level of development is indicated by the degree to which
men and women have become conscious of their natural (anthropological) nature, ie,
are not merely driven blindly by instinct.

No doubt Marx was relieved to move on to economics....

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