A Dozen Red Pharmaco-Pornographic Roses, Please

The Independent has an article on chat-up lines – here are some excerpts:

  • One chat-up line suggested by the much-visited German site Flirt-mit-mir (Flirt with me) is: “Your eyes are the same colour as my Porsche.”
  • Strategy, planning, opportunism, execution — all feature in the American heterosexual male’s pursuit of the opposite sex.
  • It’s more economic. Italian men tend to be old fashioned and think they should pay for everything. But times are hard, and we sometimes hesitate to make a date because it means asking the girl to go halves, even for a film and a pizza, which is not very romantic.
  • Women were playful. There was time. Now everyone is in a rush and they are suspicious and don’t flirt with strangers.
  • “We walked up to the shopping centre and we went, ‘Righto, let’s just approach 25 girls we don’t know’,” he says.

There is a very interesting interview with Beatriz Preciado in yesterday’s edition of El Público (excellent Spanish daily) on her new book and how it addresses the pharmaco-pornographic phase of capitalism in which we find ourselves.

I have translated some of it here:

“It’s a stage that begins in 1947 with the appearance of the term gender and with the development of the female contraceptive pill. Here, for the first time, there’s a barrier established between sexuality and reproduction”, she explains. Preciado believes that sexuality becomes pornography because it demands a quick and immediate pleasure. “The problem? Citizens don’t get to decide on it. It’s a State sexuality. Women believe that they have control over their sexuality, but in fact it’s the state. It was a great piece of business because sales of the pill were massive.”

That’s all very well, but the pill was 50 years ago. What’s new? She doesn’t underestimate the role of internet web pages in driving this business, but she sees the key to the new pharmaco-pornographic revolution in the hormone testosterone.

“Until now, it’s been a carefully protected hormone. Whilst oestrogens and progesterone began to be sold after the Second World War, and are now the most traded substances of all time, testosterone has been kept locked up. Now, though, if men thought that they would be safe from this, they didn’t count on the power of capitalism. With the commercialisation of Viagra from 2000 onward, it moves towards the control of men”, she explains.

and

“Before, masturbation was punished. It was prohibited. However, now it’s been proven that there are are profits to be made if masturbation is promoted with substances such as Viagra. This demonstrates both masturbation and control of reproduction symbolise the new capitalism.”

Beat that.

For those of you who understand Spanish, she’s interviewed by Alejandro Jodorowsky here:

Part of what she says is quite relevant to an article by Peter Tatchell in todays Comment Is Free. He says:

The evidence from these two research disciplines – sociology and anthropology – is that the incidence of heterosexuality and homosexuality is not fixed and universal, and that the two sexual orientations are not mutually exclusive. There is a good deal of fluidity and overlap.

But what she says is this (quoted and translated from video):

“We tend to view gender and sexuality as natural spaces, as permanent spaces. But in reality, no: they’re social and political constructs, which, besides, are relatively recent inventions. For example, everyone talks about heterosexuality and homosexuality as if these were natural entities, as if one is born heterosexual, or one is born homosexual. That’s absurd. These are entities that were invented, at the end of the 19th century, by 19th century medicine, above all to normalise heterosexuality and pathologise homosexuality. That is, in a certain way, they were created to regulate the system that unites sex and reproduction under capital.”

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Addendum:

Also in the Independent, Martina Devlin has a piece on Sarkozy and Bruni:

Nicolas Sarkozy looks like a man who knows how to give a girl a fabulous Valentine’s Day.

Which brings me back to another observation made by Beatriz Preciado in her El Público interview:

For Preciado, Sarkozy is a fine example of her theory on pharmaco-pornographic capitalism. According to the writer, he has turned politics into immediate pleasure, into pornography. “The only thing left is for us to see the porno video of him and Carla Bruni.”

So there.

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