Website launch of Srishti Madurai

South India’s first Psychoanalysis course and India’s first Genderqueer course and New website for Srishti Madurai was launched by Human Rights Activist Anjali Gopalan and Internationally acclaimed Artist (Painter), Psychoanalyst, Bracha L Ettinger of European Graduate School.

Date: 24/12/2013   Time: 11am

It is one of the inclusive groups of its kind which has involved academicians, Independent scholars, Human rights activist, Environmentalists, Animal rights activists and genderqueer activists. 

Purpose/Aim :-

To establish a strong base for psychoanalysis in Tamilnadu
To rethink Biology, Medicine and other Natural Sciences in a Socio-Political and Economic background.
To redefine the definition of education
To convey that marks, jobs are not everything in education
To revisit the several significant facets of the world, knowledge, wisdom, Nature, education, gender and sexuality etc.
To reach different kinds of international philosophical consciousness in our Tamil society and to share our own philosophical culture on international level.
To further humanize the humanities, social sciences, fine arts, arts in South India

Unique Features:-
I. To offer various courses which are not included in the mainstream academics.
1. First time offering Introductory Course in Ettingerian Psychoanalysis
2. Gender and sexuality (Spcl.Genderqueer theory and Biology of gender and sexuality)
3. Indian Philosophy (spcl. In several extinct schools and philosophy of India like Carvakisim, Nyaya etc)
4. Interpreting Indian Mythology, Sculpture and Visual art in terms of Genders and Sexualities.

"II. Initiated by college-going students, is one of a kind website in India, which is realized through’s ‘Make My Website’ initiative to promote serious studies on net.

IV. World renowned scholars from Oxford University, European Graduate School, Bowdoin College-New England etc and scholars from India, will guide and teach students here without any commercial purpose.

V. Pedagogy: - To synthesize pedagogical discourses from ancient Greek, Vedic and psychoanalytical schools of thought.

About the Guests who launched the website:-

Bracha L Ettinger- Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger is a philosopher; psychoanalyst and Artist .She has been an influential psychoanalyst after Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan. Her theory of Matrixial Border space is a unique theory which discusses the role of maternal and preuterine subjectivity formation. Matrixial border space theory discuss about the possibilities of the existence of non-phallic route to the subjectivity. She works on the intersections of art, psychoanalysis, ethics and aesthetics. She has been the senior professor of Arts and Aesthetics at Leeds University, UK, Faculty of psychoanalysis at European Graduate School, and senior arts professor at Bezalel Arts Academy-Jerusalem. She is a senior clinical psychologist.

Anjali Gopalan-
Love for all life forms is spirituality for her, Chevalier, Anjali Gopalan is an Indian Human Rights and Animal Rights activist, and she was born in Chennai to a Tamil father and Punjabi mother. In 2012, Time placed Gopalan in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world Anjali was awarded the Commonwealth Award for her work with the marginalized communities. In 2005, she was nominated and short-listed for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her work to bring harmony to those whose lives have none.Anjali was honoured as a Woman Achiever by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Gopalan is the first Tamil woman awarded with "Legion of Honour".

Message from Bracha L Ettinger for Srishti Madurai Website Launch:

The other and the earth need to be known through affective communicaring in self-fragilization. The knowledge revealed in this way, of the invisible chords to which our senses are not yet attuned, is at the basis of the ethical obligation to attend to the vulnerability of the other, human, animal, and even our shared earth, through care and compassion and in wonder and reverance. Let’s work together against retraumatization and toward an understanding of a human subject which is informed by feminine transubjectivity in all genders, and become sensitive to the particular Eros of borderlinking between each I and non-I, which is a kind of love.

Message from Anjali Gopalan for Srishti Madurai Website Launch:

"This is a very happy moment. It is incredible what a group of young dedicated people are capable of doing. I know you will keep up the good work. Congratulations"

Gender Is Not Biological, Find Sociologists -

Think gender is determined by patriarchal biological concepts like a chromosome? You'll never make it in sociology thinking that way.

Instead, the social sciences are slowly overturning concepts like genital and chromosomes and other science, and it is being replaced by self-identity. The criteria for determining gender now, say Laurel Westbrook, assistant professor of sociology at Grand Valley State, and Kristen Schilt, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, have changed and self-identity is paramount. Only sex-segregated spaces believe that biology determines gender, they conclude.

If that becomes policy, it means that every female record in sports is going to be overturned soon.  And that isn't the only way women will be impacted in society. Right now, the sociologists argue, transgendered people are not allowed in female locker rooms or bathrooms or sports teams due to legacy understanding of gender as biological. Westbrook said as a result of these fears, transgender rights policies are often discarded or altered in ways that force transgender people to conform to normative ideas of gendered bodies in order to access public facilities and activities that fit their identities.
"We explore the criteria for determining who is a 'man' and who is a 'woman' in sex-segregated spaces," said Westbrook. "We are at an interesting point in the history of gender, where people are torn between valuing self-identity and believing that biology determines gender. Our study explores that change in the gender system."
They examined case studies involving public debates over the expansion of transgender employment rights, policies determining eligibility of transgender people for competitive sports, and proposals to remove the genital surgery requirement for a change of sex marker on birth certificates.
"Transgender equality has never been more visible as a key issue than it is today, and with the development of every new trans-supportive law or policy, there typically follows an outbreak of criticism," said Westbrook. "In our analysis, we find that these moments, which we term 'gender panics,' are the result of a clash between two competing cultural ideas about gender identity: a belief that gender is determined by biology versus a belief that a person's self-identity in terms of gender should be validated. These gender panics frequently result in a reshaping of the language of such policies so that they require extensive bodily changes before transgender individuals have access to particular rights."

What is Androgyny ?

Androgyny is the concept that someone can be between genders and/or inlabelable and/or has aspects that can be attributed to the opposite sex. Brilliant really, you can go into any toilet you want and not bat an eyelid. An Androgynous appearance can indicate one of two things. One, that a person considered him/her/hir self to be between genders, that no label can be attached to him/her/hir, or that they just really REALLY like to confuse people.

How to spot an androgyn

Look at the person next to you. Can you tell what sex s/he is for sure? And I don't mean a passable transsexual, I mean REALLY you don't have a fookin' clue whether this person is male or female. NO! DON'T ASK IF S/HE'S A GUY OR A GIRL! S/he'll beat you to within an inch of your life.
Right, just watch him/her/hir. Look at the way s/he behaves, ok and...OH, s/he has a girl/boyfriend, but could s/he be a lesbian? I have no idea!!!! Right, s/he's going to the toilet ok...ok...ummm, DAMN IT IT'S A UNISEX TOILET! How can you tell what s/he is?!!! Right, s/he's come out the toilet. Now wha...Fuck s/he knows I'm looking. S/he's given me the finger, damn s/he's gone.

What to do when you meet an androgyn

First thing you must not do is ask 'Are you a dude or a girl', as s/he will either confuse you or beat you vigourously. You may talk to the androgyn but whatever you do DON'T MENTION THE ANDROGYNY.
Also, don't believe that you won't meet an androgyn, because YOU WILL, really, you will! Trust me!

Androgynous identities

For those who identify as androgynous, there are many of those who identify with terms within this large umbrella term. Before I start, imagine a spectrum with the most eye crushingly masculine man possible at one end, and the most Effeminate woman at the other end. Please take into mind though that these are just the percieved understandings of one rambling idiot and may not be how things are for most people (Well this is uncyclopedia after all). Ready?
  • Gender Neutral (neutrois): Where one's gender identity is standing in the center, one foot on the male half, the other on the female half.
  • Bi-gender: Where one's gender identity would be neutral, but would swing from time to time from male to female juuuuuust slightly.
  • Gender fluid: Where one's gender identity would run up and down the spectrum like a hyperactive child on Red Bull.
  • Genderqueer: Where the person's gender identity flips the bird at the gender spectrum and goes off to play with the light spectrum.
  • Genderless: Where a person's gender identity doesn't appear on the gender spectrum and just sits at home reading manga.
  • Polygender: Where a person's gender clone's itself and goes to two separate points on the spectrum.

Why Androgyny

There are several reasons for androgyny. These range from an expression of gender identity that is primarily neutral, or the opposite to his/her sex or because s/he FUCKING CAN! Nine out of ten times it's the former.

Famous androgyns

  • Oscar Wilde
  • The Stig (Lets face it, we don't know what he is).
  • You
  • Michael Jackson (Note, Not all Androgyns are eccentric pedofiles, just Michael).
  • Brian Molko
  • Tedd of El goonish shive fame...
  • Scott of Ctrl alt del fame...
  • infact...
  • Think of any webcomic.
  • There's bound to be a androgyn there somewhere....
  • Any anime, manga, or Japanese video game is bound to have an androgyn as well. This, however, is known as "bishounen," which is Japanese for "Androgynous Boy," so these characters are almost always male.

3 mantras to forget your X Boyfriend - Team Srishti.

Photo credits: RuDeography
Sooooo many guys have been there, having a crush on a straight friend, keeping it secret for as long as they could suffer to take it, and then one day, this window of opportunity appears where you think, for a moment, that maybe it could be happening, and the alcohol's helped you take that step you were not sure you should be taking, but.... he's there, being so friendly and CLOSE, so close, could it be that... that he's like me? How many of us have misread someone that way?

It is really common for GLB teens to have feelings for their friends, but what do you do if you are gay and have a straight crush?

It is totally normal to have a crush whether or not the person you are crushing on is gay or straight. Unfortunately, the fact that this guy is straight, means that is is unlikely that things will turn out exactly as you hope. Of course, the same could be said if he was gay. Just because we like someone, doesn't mean that they will like us back.

Unless you have full confirmation that that person feels the same way, it's better off to forget them. Take time to do other things; don't always have that one person on your mind. In the future, everyone is bound to get a love that they will hold onto forever.

I think it's a situation every gay has to face once in his life. If he's straight, the only thing you can do is... forget him. Yes, I know, easier said than done, but you have to stop hoping, and one day you'll find out that you were able to forget your feelings for him. I'm sorry, my answer isn't reassuring nor optimistic, but it's true...  

* End all contact:

First of all, as difficult as it may seem, you need to end all contact with your boyfriend. Delete his phone number from your cell phone (you can write it down in a piece of paper and put it away though), delete him from your friends list on facebook, take him off your skype account and chat.

* Don’t let him know you’re hurting: 

Now this is important. Humans are sadistic, no matter how nice we all are. If your boyfriend knows you’re hurting, it would only make him emotionally stronger. Keep a straight face no matter how hurt you are. Don’t call him up crying, or tell him how much you miss him. His response will only make you hurt more.
Avoid him, and make him think you’re happy and managing just fine with your life.

Stay away from his friends: 

Try to stay away from his good friends. This can be difficult if you share a lot of common friends, but hanging out with your own friends is a better thing to do. Hanging out with his friends or your common friends will only bring back memories, or they may try to talk to you about the break up which can open old wounds of love. And moreover, you’ll end up getting regular updates of what he’s up to. And the worst of it all, he’ll know exactly how hurt you feel inside. 

Don’t be lonely:

As much as you would love sitting by yourself and staring at a book or scratching a piece a paper with mild fascination, remind yourself about the truth.

You’ve broken up. It’s over! Should you really be sulking in a corner while he may be meeting other girls or boys, or moving on with his life? All of us love to be by ourselves after a break up, but you really have to convince yourself to go out or get busy. Being lonely is actually the biggest hurdle in your road to recovery and getting over your ex boyfriend.

Meet new people: 

Catching up with guys who have a crush on you can be a lot of flirty fun. But sometimes, you also need to meet new people. By meeting friends of your friends, you’d find yourself feeling great and completely normal, just like you’ve always been for years. People only miss their ex when they’re lonely or unoccupied. By meeting new friends who don’t know about your break up status, you’d end up forgetting you’ve just broken up yourself.

You should avoid
  • Texting, emailing, or calling all the time, especially, if you don't get a response.
  • Coming on to someone repeatedly after they have told you they aren't interested.
  • Constantly asking someone to hang out, even if he or she has said no.
  • Feeling really depressed, and worthless if your crush doesn't return your feelings.
  • Not being able to be interested in anyone else.

If you find yourself unable to stop thinking about him, or you feel like you are becoming obsessed, you might want to give yourself a little space from him and keep busy with other friends or activities. Also try to talk to someone about how you are feeling. A friend, sibling, parent or other adult that you trust can sometimes really help put things in perspective!

keep this in mind 

* No one is indespensable in the world.
* Nothing is permanent.
* Fortune favours the brave.

You are the most important person in this world so respect and value your life.

For any kind of moral support call Srishti 24x7 helpline:  09042462205, 09092282369. We are here for you dear friend.

- Team Srishti.

ref: GLB Teens discussion forum. 

Communization and the abolition of gender - Ramona (

Communization and the abolition of gender
"Present day civilization makes it plain that it will only permit sexual relationships on the basis of a solitary, indissoluble bond between one man and one woman, and that it does not like sexuality as a source of pleasure in its own right and is only prepared to tolerate it because there is so far no substitute for it as a means of propagating the human race." Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents
Communization is not a revolutionary position. It is not a form of society we build after the revolution. It is not a tactic, a strategic perspective, an organization, or a plan. Communization describes a set of measures that we must take in the course of the class struggle if there is to be a revolution at all. Communization abolishes the capitalist mode of production, including wage-labor, exchange, the value form, the state, the division of labor and private property. That the revolution must take this form is a necessary feature of class struggle today. Our cycle of struggles can have no other horizon, since the unfolding contradictions of capitalism annihilated the conditions which other forms of revolution required. It is no longer possible to imagine a situation in which social divisions are dissolved after the revolution1.
Since the revolution as communization must abolish all divisions within social life, it must also abolish gender relations – not because gender is inconvenient or objectionable, but because it is part of the totality of relations that daily reproduce the capitalist mode of production. Gender, too, is constitutive of capital’s central contradiction, and so gender must be torn asunder in the process of the revolution. We cannot wait until after the revolution for the gender question to be solved. Its relevance to our existence will not be transformed slowly – whether through planned obsolescence or playful deconstruction, whether as the equality of gender identities or their proliferation into a multitude of differences. On the contrary, in order to be revolution at all, communization must destroy gender in its very course, inaugurating relations between individuals defined in their singularity.
The fact that revolution takes the form of communization is not the result of lessons learned from past defeats, nor even from the miserable failure of past movements to solve the gender question. Whether or not we can discern, after the fact, a winning strategy for the movements of the past says nothing about the present. For capital no longer organizes a unity among proletarians on the basis of their common condition as wage-laborers. The capital-labor relation no longer allows workers to affirm their identity as workers and to build on that basis workers’ organizations capable of assuming power within the state. Movements that elevated workers to the status of a revolutionary subject were still ‘communist’, but communist in a mode that cannot be ours today. The revolution as communization has no revolutionary subject, no affirmable identity– not the Worker, the Multitude, or the Precariat. The real basis of any such revolutionary identity has melted away.
Of course, workers still exist as a class. Wage-labor has become a universal condition of life as never before. However, the proletariat is diffuse and fractured. Its relation to capital is precarious. The structural oversupply of labor is enormous. A surplus population of over one-billion people – eager to find a place in the global commodity chains from which they have been excluded – makes it impossible to form mass organizations capable of controlling the supply of labor, except among the most privileged strata of workers2. Capital now exacerbates, fragments and more than ever relies on the divisions between workers. Once the proud bearers of a universally relevant revolutionary essence, the Working Class, in its autonomy as a class within capitalism, can no longer build its power as a class against capital. Today, the revolution must emerge from the disunity of the proletariat, as the only process capable of overcoming that disunity. If revolutionary action does not immediately abolish all divisions between proletarians, then it is not revolutionary; it is not communization.
In the present moment, the very inability of workers to unite on the basis of a workers’ identity thus forms the fundamental limit of struggle. But that limit is at once the dynamic potential of this cycle of struggles, bearing within itself the abolition of gender relations and all other fixed distinctions. It is no historical accident that the end of the former cycle of struggles coincided with a revolt against the primacy of the Worker – a revolt in which feminism played a major role. To re-imagine a workers’ movement that would not demote women, blacks, and homosexuals to a subordinate position is to think a workers’ movement that lacks precisely the unifying/excluding trait that once allowed it to move at all. With the benefit of hindsight, it is increasingly clear that if the working class (as a class of all those without direct access to means of production) was destined to become the majority of society, the workers’ movement was unlikely to organize a clear majority from it. The revolution as communization does not solve this problem, but it takes it onto a new terrain. As surveyors of this new landscape, we must assess the present state of the practical movement toward the end of gender relations. We must also expand discussion of this essential communizing measure.
Until recently, the theory of communization has been the product of a small number of groups organized around the publication of a handful of yearly journals. If few of those groups have taken up the task of theorizing gender, it is because most have been wholly uninterested in examining the real basis of the divisions that mark the existence of the working class. On the contrary, they have busied themselves with trying to discover a revolutionary secret decoder-ring, with which they might be able to decipher the merits and shortcomings of past struggles. Thus, most partisans of communization have thought the revolution as an immediate overcoming of all separations, but they arrived at this conclusion through an analysis of what communization would have to be in order to succeed where past movements failed, rather than from a focus on the historical specificity of the present3.
For this reason, the tendency organized around Théorie Communiste (TC) is unique, and we largely follow them in our exposition. For TC, the revolution as communization only emerges as a practical possibility when these struggles begin to ‘swerve’ (faire l’écart) as the very act of struggling increasingly forces the proletariat to call into question and act against its own reproduction as a class. ‘Gaps’ (l’écarts) thereby open up in the struggle, and the multiplication of these gaps is itself the practical possibility of communism in our time. Workers burn down or blow up their factories, demanding severance pay instead of fighting to maintain their jobs. Students occupy universities, but against rather than in the name of the demands for which they are supposedly fighting. Women break with movements in which they already form a majority, since those movements cannot but fail to represent them. And everywhere, the unemployed, the youth, and the undocumented join and overwhelm the struggles of a privileged minority of workers, making the limited nature of the latter’s demands at once obvious and impossible to sustain.
In the face of these proliferating gaps in the struggle,
a fraction of the proletariat, in going beyond the demands-based character of its struggle, will take communizing measures and will thus initiate the unification of the proletariat which will be the same process as the unification of humanity, i.e. its creation as the ensemble of social relations that individuals establish between themselves in their singularity4.
For TC, the divisions within the proletariat are therefore not only that which must be overcome in the course of the revolution, but also the very source of that overcoming. Perhaps that is why TC, alone among theorists of communization, have devoted themselves to an examination of the gender distinction, as it is perhaps the most fundamental divisions within the proletariat. TC’s work on gender is relatively new, especially for a group which has spent the last thirty years refining and restating a few key ideas over and over again. Their main text on gender, written in 2008, was finally published in 2010 (with two additional appendices) in issue 23 of their journal as Distinction de Genres, Programmatisme et Communisation. TC are known for their esoteric formulations. How ever, with some effort, most of their ideas can be reconstructed in a clear fashion. Since their work on gender is provisional, we refrain from lengthy quotations. TC claim that communization involves the abolition of gender as much as the abolition of capitalist social relations. For the divisions which maintain capitalism maintain the gender division and the gender division preserves all other divisions. Still, as much as TC take steps towards developing a rigorously historical materialist theory of the production of gender, they end up doing little more than suture gender to an already existing theory of the capitalist mode of production (to no small extent, this is because they rely largely on the work on one important French feminist, Christine Delphy5).
For our context here, TC have a particularly fascinating theory of communization insofar as it is also a periodization of the history of class struggle – which itself corresponds to a periodization of the history of the capital-labor relation. This provides TC with a uniquely historical vantage on the present prospects for communism. Crucially, TC focus on the reproduction of the capital-labor relation, rather than on the production of value. This change of focus allows them to bring within their purview the set of relations that actually construct capitalist social life – beyond the walls of the factory or office. And the gender relation has always extended beyond the sphere of value production alone.
I. The Construction of the Category ‘Woman’
Woman is a social construction. The very category of woman is organized within and through a set of social relations, from which the splitting of humanity into two, woman and man – and not only female and male – is inseparable. In this way, sexual difference is given a particular social relevance that it would not otherwise possess6. Sexual difference is given this fixed significance within class societies, when the category of woman comes to be defined by the function that most (but not all) human females perform, for a period of their lives, in the sexual reproduction of the species. Class society thus gives a social purpose to bodies: because some women ‘have’ babies, all bodies that could conceivably ‘produce’ babies are subject to social regulation. Women become the slaves of the biological contingencies of their birth. Over the long history of class society, women were born into a world organized only for men – the primary ‘actors’ in society, and in particular the only people capable of owning property. Women thereby became the property of society as a whole.

Because women are by definition not men, they are excluded from ‘public’ social life. For TC, this circumscription of the women’s realm means that not only are their bodies appropriated by men, but also the totality of their activity. Their activity, as much as their very being, is by definition ‘private’. In this way, women’s activity takes on the character of domestic labor. This labor is defined not as work done in the home, but as women’s work. If a woman sells cloth in the market, she is a weaver, but if she makes cloth in the home, she is only awife. A woman’s activity is thus considered merely as her activity, without any of the concrete determinations it would be given if it were performed by some other, more dignified social entity. The gender distinction man/woman thereby takes on additional significance as public/private and social/domestic.
Is the unpaid labor of women for men, including perhaps their ‘production’ of children, therefore a class relation, or even a mode of production (as Delphy calls it, the domestic mode of production)? TC defines class society as a relationship between surplus producers and surplus extractors. The social division between these groups is constitutive of the relations of production, which organize the productive forces for the purpose of producing and extracting surplus. Crucially, these relations must have as their product the reproduction of the class relation itself. However, for TC – and we follow them on this point – each mode of production is already a totality, and in fact the social relevance of women’s role in sexual reproduction changes with the mode of production. That does not mean that relations between men and women are derivative of the relations between the classes. It means rather that the relations between men and women form an essential element of the class relation and cannot be thought as a separate ‘system’, which then relates to the class-based system.
Of course, this discussion remains abstract. The question now becomes, how do we unite our story about women with our story about the succession of modes of production? For TC, women are the primary productive force within all class societies, since the growth of the population forms an essential support of the reproduction of the class relation. The augmentation of the population as the primary productive force remains, throughout the history of class society, the burden of its women. In this way, the heterosexual matrix is founded on a specific set of material social relations.
However, we should remind ourselves that the special burden of childbirth predates the advent of class society. Historically, each woman had to give birth, on average, to six children – just in order to ensure that two of those six survived to reproduce the coming generations. The chance that a woman would die in childbirth, in the course of her life, was nearly one in ten7. Perhaps the insight of TC is that the advent of class society – which saw a massive increase in the size of the human population – hardened the social relevance of these facts. But even before the advent of class society, there was never any ‘natural’ regime of human sexual reproduction. Age at marriage, length of breastfeeding, number of children born, social acceptability of infanticide – all have varied across human social formations8. Their variation marks a unique adaptability of the human species.
But we are concerned less with the long history of the human species than with the history of the capitalist mode of production. Wage-labor is fundamentally different from both ancient slavery and feudal vassalage. In slavery, surplus producers have no ‘relation’ to the means of production. For the slaves are themselves part of the means of production. The reproduction or upkeep of slaves is the direct responsibility of the slave owner himself. For both men and women slaves, the distinction between public and private thus dissolves, since slaves exist entirely within the private realm. Nor is there any question, for the slaves, of property inheritance or relations with the state, such as taxation. Interestingly, there is some evidence that patriarchy was, perhaps for that very reason, rather weak among slave families in the American South9. In vassalage, by contrast, the surplus producers have direct access to the means of production. Surplus is extracted by force. The peasant man stands in relation to this outside force as the public representative of the peasant household. Property passes through his line. Women and children peasants are confined to the private realm of the village, which is itself a site of both production and reproduction. The peasant family does not need to leave its private sphere in order to produce what it needs, but rather only to give up a part of its product to the lords. For this reason, peasant families remain relatively independent of markets.
In capitalism, the lives of the surplus producers are constitutively split between the public production of a surplus and the private reproduction of the producers themselves. The workers, unlike the slaves, are their ‘own property’: they continue to exist only if they take care of their own upkeep. If wages are too low, or if their services are no longer needed, workers are ‘free’ to survive by other means (as long as those means are legal). The reproduction of the workers is thus emphatically not the responsibility of the capitalist. However, unlike the vassals, the workers can take care of their own upkeep only if they return to the labor market, again and again, to find work. Here is the essence of the capital-labor relation. What the workers earn for socially performed production in the public realm, they must spend in order to reproduce themselves domestically in their own private sphere. The binaries of public/private and social/domestic are embodied in the wage-relation itself. Indeed, these binaries will only collapse with the end of capitalism.
For if the capitalists were directly responsible for workers’ survival – and thus if their reproduction were removed from the private sphere – then the workers would no longer be compelled to sell their labor-power. The existence of a separate, domestic sphere of reproduction (where little production takes place unmediated by commodities purchased on the market) is constitutive of capitalist social relations as such. Social activity separates out from domestic activity as the market becomes the mediating mechanism of concrete social labor performed outside of the home. Production for exchange, which was formerly performed inside the home, increasingly leaves the home to be performed elsewhere. At this point the public/ private distinction takes on a spatial dimension. The home becomes the sphere of private activity – that is, women’s domestic labor and men’s ‘free time’ – while the factory takes charge of the public, socially productive character of men’s work.
Of course, women have also always been wage laborers, alongside men, for as long as capitalism has existed. For TC, the gendered nature of women’s domestic work determines that their work, even when performed outside of the home, remains merely women’s work. It remains, that is to say, wage labor of a particular sort, namely unproductive or else low value-added labor. Women tend to work in part-time, low-wage jobs, particularly in services (though of course today, there are at least some women in all sectors of the economy, including among the highest paid professionals). Women often perform domestic services in other people’s homes, or else in their offices and airplanes. When women work in factories, they are segregated into labor-intensive jobs requiring delicate hand-work, particularly in textiles, apparel and electronics assembly. Likewise, work done in the home remains women’s work, even if men perform it – which, largely, they do not.
In this sense, once gender becomes embodied in the wage-relation as a binary public/private relation, TC cease to theorize its ground in the role that women play in sexual reproduction. The fact that women’s work is of a particular character outside the home is merely true by analogy to the character of the work they perform in the home. It bears no relation to the material ground of women’s role in sexual reproduction, and in that sense, it is more or less ideological. By the same token, TC increasingly define the work that women do in the home by its character as the daily reproductive labor performed necessarily outside of the sphere of production – and not by relation to the role that women play in childbirth, as the ‘principal force of production’. If, within the capitalist mode of production, women are and have always been both wage-laborers and domestic laborers, why do they remain almost entirely female? As TC begin to discuss capitalism, they phase out their focus on sexual reproduction, which disappears under a materially unfounded conception of domestic labor (though their references to biology return later, as we will see).
This oversight is a serious mistake. The sexual segregation of work in the capitalist mode of production is directly related to the temporality of a woman’s life: as the bearer of children, the main source of their nourish ment at young ages (breastfeeding), and their primary caretakers through puberty. Over the long history of capitalism, women’s participation in the labor market has followed a distinct ‘M-shaped’ curve10. Participation rises rapidly as women enter adulthood, then drops as women enter their late 20s and early 30s. Participation slowly rises again as women enter their late 40s before dropping off at retirement ages. The reasons for this pattern are well known. Young women look for full-time work, but with the expectation that they will either stop working or work part-time when they have children. When women enter childbearing years, their participation in the labor force declines. Women who continue to work while their children are young are among the poorer proletarians and are super-exploited: unmarried mothers, widows and divorcées, or women whose husbands’ incomes are low or unreliable. As children get older, more and more women return to the labor market (or move to full-time work), but at a distinct disadvantage in terms of skills and length of employment, at least as compared to the men with whom they compete for jobs11.
For all these reasons, capitalist economies have always had a special ‘place’ for women workers, as workers either not expected to remain on the job for very long or else as older, late entrants or re-entrants into the labor force. Beyond that, women form an important component of what Marx calls the ‘latent’ reserve army of labor, expected to enter and leaving the workforce according to the cyclical needs of the capitalist enterprises. The existence of a distinctive place for women in the labor force then reinforces a society-wide commitment to and ideology about women’s natural place, both in the home and at work. Even when both men and women work, men typically (at least until recently) earn higher wages and work longer hours outside the home. There thus remains a strong pressure on women, insofar as they are materially dependent on their husbands, to accept their subordination: to not ‘push too hard’12 on questions of the sexual division of labor within the home. Historically, this pressure was compounded by the fact that women were, until after World War II, de facto if not de jure excluded from many forms of property ownership, making them reliant on men as mediators of their relation to capital. Therefore, women did not possess the juridical freedoms that male proletarians won for themselves – and not for their women. Women were not truly ‘free’ labor in relation to the market and the state, as were their male counterparts.198
II. The Destruction of the Category ‘Woman’ Though 
TC fail to explain the ground of the construction of women in capitalism, they do have a provocative theory of how women’s situation within capitalism changes according to the unfolding contradictions of that mode of production. ‘Capitalism has a problem with women’ because, in the present period, the capital-labor relation cannot accommodate the continued growth of the labor force. As we have already noted, capital increasingly faces a large and growing surplus population, structurally excessive to its demands for labor. The appearance of this surplus population has coincided with a transformation in the way that capitalist states, the workers’ movement, and also feminists have viewed women as the ‘principal productive force’. In an earlier moment birth-rates declined precipitously in Europe and the former European settler-colonies. The response was ‘pro-natalism’. Civilization supposedly faced imminent degeneration, since women were no longer fulfilling their duty to the nation; they had to be encouraged back into it. By the 1920s, even feminists became increasingly pro-natalist, turning maternalism into an explanation for women’s ‘equal but different’ dignity as compared to men. By the 1970s, however – as the population of poor countries exploded while the capitalist economy entered into a protracted crisis – maternalism was largely dead. The world was overpopulated with respect to the demand for labor. Women were no longer needed in their role as women. The ‘special dignity’ of their subordinate role was no longer dignified at all.

However, that is only half the story. The other half is to be found in the history of the demographic transition itself, which TC fail to consider. In the course of its early development, capitalism increased work ers’ consumption and thereby improved their health, reducing infant mortality. Falling infant mortality in turn reduced the number of children that each woman had to have in order to reproduce the species. At first, this transformation appeared as an increase in the number of surviving children per woman and a rapid growth of the population. Thus, the spread of capitalist social relations was everywhere associated with an increase in women’s reproductive burden. However with time, and now in almost every region of the world, there has been a subsequent reduction, both in the number of children each woman has and in the number of children who subsequently survive infancy and early childhood. Simultaneously, as both men and women live longer, less of women’s lifetimes are spent either having or caring for young children. The importance of these facts cannot be overestimated. They explain why, in our period, the straight-jacket of the heterosexual matrix has had its buckles slightly loosened, for men as well as women (and even, to a small extent, for those who fit neither the categories of gender distinction, nor those of sexual difference)13.
As with everything else in capitalism, the ‘freedom’ that women have won (or are winning) from their reproductive fate has not been replaced with free-time, but with other forms of work. Women’s supposed entrance into the labor force was always actually an increase in the time and duration of women’s already existing participation in wage-work. But now, since women are everywhere spending less time in childbirth and child-rearing, there has been a reduction in the M-shaped nature of their participation in labor-markets. Women’s situation is thus increasingly split between, on the one hand, the diminishing but still heavy burden of childbearing and domestic work, and on the other hand, the increasingly primary role in their lives of wage-work – within which they remain, however, disadvantaged. As all women know, this situation expresses itself as a forced choice between the promise a working life supposedly equal to men and the pressure, as well as the desire, to have children. That some women choose not to have children at all – and thus to solve this dilemma for themselves, however inadequately – is the only possible explanation of the fall in the birth rate below what is predicted by demographic transition theory. Fertility is now as low as 1.2 children per woman in Italy and Japan; almost everywhere else in the West it has fallen below 2. In the world as a whole, fertility has fallen from 6 children per woman in 1950 to around 2.5 today.
In this situation, it becomes increasingly clear that women have a problem with markets, since markets are incompatible with women. This incompatibility comes down to two facts about the capitalist mode of production. First, capital cannot, if it is to remain capital, take direct responsibility for the reproduction of the working class. It is because workers are responsible for their own upkeep that they are forced to return, again and again, to the labor market. At the same time, labor markets, if they are to remain markets, must be ‘sex-blind’14. Markets have to evaluate the competition between workers without regard to any non-market characteristics of the workers themselves. These non-market characteristics include the fact that half of all of humanity is sexed female. For some employers, sexual difference cannot but appear as an additional cost. Women workers are able to bear children and thus cannot be relied on not to have children. For other employers, sexual difference appears as a benefit for precisely the same reason: women provide flexible, cheap labor. Women are thus relegated by capitalist relations – precisely because markets are sex-blind – to women’s wage-work.
This incompatibility of women and markets has plagued the women’s movement. Feminism historically accepted the gendered nature of social life, since it was only through gender that women could affirm their identity as women in order to organize on that basis. This affirmation became a problem for the movement historically, since it is impossible to fully reconcile gender – the very existence of women and men – with the simultaneous existence of the working class and capital15. As a result, the women’s movement has swung back and forth between two positions16. On the one hand, women fought for equality on the basis of their fundamental same ness with respect to men. But whatever the similarity of their aptitudes, women and men are not and never will be the same for capital. On the other hand, women have fought for equality on the basis of their ‘difference but equal dignity’ to men. But that difference, here made explicit as motherhood, is precisely the reason for women’s subordinate role.
The workers’ movement promised to reconcile women and workers beyond, or at least behind the back of, the market. After all, the founding texts of German Social Democracy, in addition to Marx’s Capital, were Engels’ Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State, and Bebel’s Woman and Socialism. Through struggle, the workers’ movement promised to bring women out of the home and into the workforce, where they would finally become the true equals of men. In order to achieve this real equality, the workers movement would socialize women’s reproductive work ‘after the revolution’. Both housework and childcare would be performed collectively by men and women together. As it became clear to the most extreme elements of the Radical Feminist movement in the 1970s, these measures would never suffice to actually ensure ‘real equality’ between men and women workers. The only possibility of achieving an equality of workers, at the intersecting limit of both gender and labor, would beif babies were born in test-tubes, finally having nothing to do with women at all17.
In fact, the workers’ movement betrayed its women as soon as it had the chance. Whenever they came close to power, male workers were fully willing to demonstrate their capacity to manage the economy by showing that they, too, knew how to keep women in their place. In the British Communist Party, freeing husbands from domestic work was the main task of women’s ‘party work’18. How could it have been otherwise? Within a world defined by work – or more precisely, by productive labor (a category of capitalism) – women would always be less than men. The attempt to ‘raise’ women to the equals of men was always a matter of adjusting a ‘universally’ relevant movement of workers to fit the ‘particular’ needs of its women. The attempt to do so, within the bounds of capitalism, amounted to a minimal socialization of childcare, as well as the institution of a minimal set of laws protecting women from their disadvantages in markets (that is to say, maternity leave, etc). Workers’ movements could have gone further along this road. They could have made women more of a priority than they did. But the fact is that they did not. And now, it’s over.
The death of the workers’ movement has been considered in other texts19. Its death marks also the passage from one historical form of revolution to another. Today, the presence of women within the class struggle can only function as a rift (l’ecart), a deviation in the class conflict that destabilizes its terms. That struggle cannot be their struggle, even if, in any given case, they form the majority of the participants. For as long as proletarians continue to act as a class, the women among them cannot but lose. In the course of struggle, women will, therefore, come into conflict with men. They will be criticized for derailing the movement, for diverting it from its primary goals. But the ‘goal’ of the struggle lies elsewhere. It is only from within this (and other) conflicts that the proletariat will come to see its class belonging as an external constraint, an impasse which it will have to overcome in order to be anything at all beyond its relation to capital. That overcoming is only the revolution as communization, which destroys gender and all the other divisions that come between us.
  • 1.
    Thanks to Francesca Manning for her invaluable help in working through the ideas in this text. I’d also like to thank Aaron Benanav for his help in editing this piece.
  • 2.
    See ‘Misery and Debt’, Endnotes 2 (2010): 20-51,
  • 3.
    For a key debate on this point, see Endnotes 1 (2008), uk/issues/1
  • 4.
    Théorie Communiste, ‘The Present Moment’, unpublished.
  • 5.
    Christine Delphy and Diana Leonard, Familiar Exploitation (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992).
  • 6.
    Not all human beings fit into the categories of male and female. The point is not to use the language of biology to ground a theory of naturalized sexuality, as distinct from a socialized gender. Nature, which is without distinction, becomes integrated into a social structure – which takes natural averages and turns them into behavioral norms. Not all ‘women’ bear children; maybe some ‘men’ do. That does not make them any less beholden to society’s strictures, including at the level of their very bodies, which are sometimes altered at birth to ensure conformity with sexual norms.
  • 7.
    These statistics make it clear to what extent violence against women, sometimes carried out by women themselves, has always been necessary to keep them firmly tied to their role in the sexual reproduction of the species. See Paola Tabet, ‘Natural Fertility, Forced Reproduction’, in Diana Leonard and Lisa Adkins, Sex in Question (London: Taylor and Francis, 1996).
  • 8.
    For an introduction to demography, see Massimo Livi-Bacci, A Concise History of World Population (Malden, Mass. and Oxford: Blackwell, 2007).
  • 9.
    Ellen Meiksins Wood, ‘Capitalism and Human Emancipation’, New Left Review I/167 ( Jan-Feb 1988): 3-20.
  • 10.
    The term comes from Japan, see Makotoh Itoh, The Japanese Economy Reconsidered (Palgrave 2000).
  • 11.
    Johanna Brenner and Maria Ramas, ‘Rethinking Women’s Oppression’, New Left Review I/144 (Mar-Apr 1984): 33-71.
  • 12.
    Johanna Brenner and Maria Ramas, ‘Rethinking Women’s Oppression’, New Left Review I/144 (Mar-Apr 1984): 33-71.
  • 13.
    For a more developed theory of women’s relation to property, see ‘Notes
    on the New Housing Question’, Endnotes 2 (2010): 52-66, http://endnotes. The ground of this loosening, as well as its timing, has remained inexplicable within the bounds of queer theory.
  • 14.
    Brenner and Ramas, ‘Rethinking Women’s Oppression’.
  • 15.
    In this sense, we are of course interested only in the history of women’s situation within the workers’ movement. Bourgeois suffragettes argued for property-based voting qualifications – thus excluding women as class enemies. By the middle of the twentieth century, these same bourgeois became defenders of women’s maternal role – at the same time as they founded organizations to control the bodies of women among the ‘dangerous classes’.
  • 16.
    Joan W. Scott, Only Paradoxes to Offer (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996).
  • 17.
    Radical feminism followed a curious trajectory in the second half of the 20th century, taking first childbearing, then domestic work, and finally sexual violence (or the male orgasm) as the ground of women’s oppression. The problem was that in each case, these feminists sought an ahistorical ground for what had become an historical phenomenon.
  • 18.
    On the history of women’s situation within the workers’ movement, see Geoff Eley, Forging Democracy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
  • 19.
    Théorie Communiste, ‘Much Ado about Nothing’, Endnotes 1 (2008),