The fact is, although love is an essential component of a potentially healthy life, having a partner to share that love with is not completely necessary. Therefore, it is the norm to want to reach higher than where you come from. Constant propaganda in our society asserts that we should strive to jump up a class or if you are already at the top you need to maintain your status. Indeed, they are the revolutionary theorists propelling a reevaluation of this “domestic gulag,” as Kipnis so sweetly calls it. However, this belief is impractical when you think critically about it. What happens when the romance fades and you start to see things more clearly?

Work for Kipnis means alienated labor and Fordist production lines. Many people realize upward mobility is impractical and instead of striving to achieve higher status and wealth they are content with where they are already at in the hierarchy of society. Marriage is one way for the state to control citizens and their property. Then there’s the fundamental premise of monogamous marriage: There are some aspects of love that are biological such as the release of oxytocin hormone that increases in romantic situations, but there are many conditioned behaviors that we learn from others as well. Kipnis is a feminist but a renegade one. If only they’d put those socks in the laundry basket instead of leaving them on the floor, everything would have worked out.

laura kipnis loves labors essay

A population that willingly polices itself through the interdictions of married life, Kipnis argues, has given up any revolutionary strivings, and will submit to other repressive social orders—capitalism, say—without protest. Because we are ensnared by a work ethic designed to keep a dissatisfied populace from rebelling, domestic coupledom, she argues, acts as the first line of defense to uphold both traditional kipins and the emerging disruptive global economy. Desire, on the other hand, reigns supreme; hence Ms.


And this, of course, is where Marx comes in: Marriage does promote stability especially for children, though they are almost invisible in this polemic. Kipnis enumerates, with unrepressed glee, most of the politicians in recent history who have espoused family values only to be embarrassed by a naked mistress or two ewsay their own closets. Most of us who have spent any length of time in a good loces even one that’s eventually gone bad already know what the benefits are.

For example, why do we accept the lsura that relationships have to be hard work? I can’t remember the last time a Marxist-leaning academic made laugh out loud, so heartily and so often. According to Against Lovepublic adultery scandals remain staples of American culture because adulterers are what all of us—restless, bored and numbed by the humdrum of our stable relationships—secretly wish to be.

In the worst-case scenarios, formerly essaay domestic partners become sex-mad Hester Prynnes, scarlet-lettering all over the place.

Teaching Laura Kipnis’s “Love’s Labors” in Ways of Reading | Fike | The CEA Forum

Question this, and you question the very foundations of the institution. If you happen to have a set of headphones and a loop tape of Vincent Price’s maniacal house-of-horror laughter, you might want albors set that going as well.

But she sure does have a sense of humor. And what, then, of the republic?

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Could dead marriages be good for the economy? Kipnis describes modern love with scientific precision, which I found to be a little too cut-and-dry to really encapsulate the different approaches people take towards long-term companionship.

Issue of Posted The break for some kind of freedom, that desperate dash for relief from the erotic drudgery of married life — adultery. Easy, that is, until Ms.

The world fell into place accordingly. Although “Love” gets title billing, Kipnis’ real target is marriage, which she considers an antiquated, falsely sanctified institution that clashes with our desires, interests and even metabolism, yet escapes criticism. If you have a “that’s not funny! She believes modern love is reliant on domesticity, and thus, it is a power structure at play.


laura kipnis loves labors essay

I wouldn’t know anything about any of it, stuck out here as I am in the driven snow. Kipnis acknowledges that love affairs can feel completely transforming; with this new third party, you can surrender to long-buried feelings; ordinary conversations glisten and gleam. If scandals have their seasons, nothing suits summer like a steamy dose of adultery. Those currently demanding a constitutional amendment defining marriage as something between a man and woman might check out the similar failed attempt to ban divorce through constitutional amendment in the early 20th century.

Such a method can be wittily illuminating as in Roland Barthes’ essay on the Roman haircut in filmsbut you can’t keep getting away with airy assertion.

This is a polemic, remember? My guess is that she wanted to stem the tide of letters from serious-minded cuddlebugs everywhere, taking pen to paper to assert angrily, “We happen to like being married!

Against Love: A Polemic, by Laura Kipnis

A more exact title would have been Against Domestic Coupledombut Against Love makes the better bumper sticker. Kipnis pens the phrase with one hand and holds her nose with the other. Will We Ever Catch a Break? Lest the reader attack all this as simplistic, one-sided, or an icky endorsement kinis “sin,” Kipnis insists that this book is a “polemic.

In her essay Kipnis notes that people are so affectively socialized that they no longer question societal norms.