Originally published in The Body Politic No. 7, Winter 1973
A SUBURBAN SPRAWL OF HOUSES FOR THE ‘AVERAGE’ FAMILY WITH MIDDLE-CLASS, CHRISTIAN, HETEROSEXUAL VALUES.
THE SOCIAL SYSTEM PRODUCES AN AUTOMATON-LIKE MASS WITH PRECONCEIVED NEEDS AND DESIRES.
A MONOPOLY-GENERATING SHOPPING CENTRE WITH NO SPACE FOR INFORMAL SOCIAL GATHERING OR EVEN SITTING.
ENFORCED LACK OF SOCIO-SEXUAL CONTACTS AND INDIVIDUALITY
Children are trained to mistrust everybody, they belong to the nuclear family. AMEN! The lack of physical barriers hides a wall of fear and hate: nobody embraces his/her neighbours. Single family houses remind one of the pattern of prison cells sharing the same conformity and TV set. The suburban experience is limited to the fixed structure of work imposed by the social system for the perpetuation of the nuclear family, to the exclusion of any other way of life. Suburbia was supposed to fulfill the myth of living in contact with nature and it is also used for social control.
The contact with nature is considerably reduced when a few other million occupy the space that was once nature. Instead the control on human behavior is successful, thanks to the environmental ‘order’ based on the nuclear family model. So the monotonous mass-produced suburban house is the means through which repression is exercised daily on everyone. People are forced to live in this way; an average life in an average house ‘planned’ by the experts. This pseudo-urban setting carefully avoids any uncontrollable socio-sexual outlets. To enforce the situation we are taught (school, church, home, work) to control our senses and to avoid personal contacts. Great distances from community centres and the dependence on the car for moving around decrease our energy level. Therefore the victims of such suburban repression are just the ones that perpetuate masochistically their martyrdom.
But this kind of self repression is not new in history: workers always were the exploited ones and the perpetuators of their own conformism, because they were taught to be so in order to be longer exploited by the social system. It is part of the game to believe in a static society and so, for the slave to remain a slave; in this case of suburban living, it is part of the game to train people to maintain the state of things, denying both personal individuality and the need for socio-sexual interactions among human beings. The passive conformity is the way of life that the nuclear family ought to assume, this is what is aimed at by the suburban planners so that their schemes actually fit the desexualized masses. The segregating uniformity can only be the beginning of a more robotic way of life.