This story idealized detachment, “liberation” from mutual care, ensuring that relationships never came before career goals. It looked like bringing a capitalist mindset into our interactions, making it normal to use, discard, and objectify other people. And as they often do, our rapacious markets and short-term desires won out.
My second question is: Cui bono? Whom did this new story serve? Who benefits from a world of consequence-free sex, weak ties, the putting off of childbearing and family? Today, the pharmaceutical and medical industries benefit, by selling decades-long prescriptions for contraceptives, and then various attempts at ART later on. Corporations and employers benefit: they gain a new labor force unsaddled by commitments to family, place, or other less-than-profitable concerns.
(Intrinsic in Rethinking Sex’s critique of modern feminism’s dependence on contraception is a critique of the free-market values that many who would term themselves conservatives or reactionaries still—oddly to my mind—hold dear.)
A thousand times Yes. See also my description of the three governing axioms of our dominant discourse about gender. And as Mary Harrington says, this dominant understanding, this metaphysical capitalism, “views ‘freedom’ as best served by reframing embodied men and women as atomized, de-sexed, fungible, and interchangeable ‘humans’ composed of disembodied ‘identity’ plus body parts that can be reordered at will, like meat LEGOs.”