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Posts tagged ‘money’

Day 15: Money, Prostitution and Misogyny

In Debt: The First 5,000 Years, David Graeber writes,

One could see how the metaphor of the porne might seem particularly appropriate. A woman “common to the people”–as the poet Archilochos put it–is available to everyone. In principle, we shouldn’t be attracted to such an undiscriminating creature. In fact, of course, we are. And nothing was both so undiscriminating, and so desirable, as money.

This is in the context of explaining why Greek aristocrats thought money was garish. The conception of woman behind this critique of money is telling.  Women have value because they are inaccessible and restricted.  Men protect and isolate their women to preserve this value, which is based not on the woman’s unique personality, appearance, wit or strength, but on the extent to which she is accessible to other men.  The less accessible the more valuable.  The less accessible, the more desirable.  How one is a woman, either parthenos, virgin or gynê, wife or mother, is determined by whether anyone has access to her or not.  In the case of gynê, your husband and your sons have access to you.  The power of Athena as parthenos is in part her refusal of access to anyone. Read more