What if psychoanalysis had chosen Antigone rather than Oedipus? This book traces the relation between ethics and desire in important philosophical texts that focus on femininity and use Antigone as their model. It shows that the notion of feminine desire is conditioned by a view of women as being prone to excesses and deficiencies in relation to ethical norms and rules. Sjöholm explains Mary Wollstonecraft’s work, as well as readings of Antigone by G.W.F. Hegel, Martin Heidegger, Luce Irigaray, Jacques (...) Lacan, and Judith Butler. This book introduces the concept of the “Antigone complex” in order to illuminate the obscure and multifaceted question of feminine desire, which has given rise to the fascination of generations of philosophers and other theoreticians, as well as readers and spectators. At the same time the book argues for a notion of desire that is intrinsically related to ethics. The ethical question posed by Antigone, and explored in the book, is: what determines those actions that one must do, as opposed to those that one ought to do? (shrink)
To illustrate the strength of Bartky's clarity of insight I focus on her discussion of shame found in two essays in Femininity and Domination. I argue that these essays as well as the other in the collection identify and offer a clear analysis of many issues central to feminism and call for Bartky to write a sequel which offers constructive suggestions of ways out.
: I offer here an analysis of contemporary foundation garments while exploring the ways in which these garments encourage, reinforce and protect normative femininity. In examining the performatives of contemporary normative, ideal femininity as they perpetuate inhibited intentionality, ambiguous transcendence, and discontinuous unity, I look to the possibility for subversive performativity vis-à-vis the strengths of women in order to proliferate categories of gender and to potentially displace current notions of what it means to become woman.
The feminine complaint that Alex's passion echoes, raising it to a level rarely attained, is not limited to the pursuit of sexual jouissance . Nor can it be reduced to an aversion on the part of women to a morality of the signifier, as maintained by a certain reading of Freud. Very precisely, the persistent note in feminine restlessness is a certain relationship of the subject to the insufficiency of the signifier, which the quest for love registers. The fact that (...) language lacks the very quality that would make it credible and that would guarantee that discourse corresponds to what desire attests to is what delivers femininity over to the unnameable. In love she requires from the other member of the social bond the signifier that is lacking within the structure of femininity and that causes the call to jouissance in her body that drives her to distraction. Thus, the structure at stake in femininity, to which Alex's hysterical passion bears witness, defines in writing, that is, by a mark left on the body, the limitation of the reality of a jouissance which persists beyond the signifier and the object of the fantasy. When the analyst's desire offers support to this quest for a limit to jouissance on the part of a subject, it is in desire that the reality of sex and the other is linked to the signifier that would testify to the truth of the amorous discourse in the unconscious. Thus from one man to another, from the love of the father to the loss of a son, including the desire of the lover and the law of the husband, a woman finds herself supporting, with the letter of her body, the signifier which in its words testifies to jouissance as a place to lose oneself. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Acknowledgements -- Preface; A.McRobbie -- Notes on Contributors -- Introduction; C.Scharff & R.Gill -- PART I: SEXUAL SUBJECTIVITY AND THE MAKEOVER PARADIGM -- Pregnant Beauty: Maternal Femininities under Neoliberalism; I.Tyler -- The Right to Be Beautiful: Postfeminist Identity and Consumer Beauty Advertising; M.M.Lazar -- Spicing It Up: Sexual Entrepreneurs and The Sex Inspectors; L.Harvey & R.Gill -- '(M)Other-in-Chief: Michelle Obama and the Ideal of Republican Womanhood'; L.Guerrero -- Scourging the Abject Body: Ten Years Younger and (...) Fragmented Femininity under Neoliberalism; E.Tincknell -- PART II: NEGOTIATING POSTFEMINIST MEDIA CULTURE -- Are You Sexy, Flirty, Or A Slut? Exploring 'Sexualisation' and How Teen Girls Perform/Negotiate Digital Sexual Identity on Social Networking Sites; J.Ringrose -- 'Feminism? That's So Seventies': Girls and Young Women Discuss Femininity and Feminism in America's Next Top Model; A.L.Press -- Media 'Sluts': 'Tween' Girls' Negotiations of Postfeminist Sexual Subjectivities in Popular Culture; S.Jackson & T.Vares -- Is 'the Missy' a New Femininity?; J.Kim -- PART III: TEXTUAL COMPLICATIONS -- Of Displaced Desires: Interrogating 'New' Sexualities abd 'New' Spaces in Indian Diasporic Cinema; B.Bose -- Notes on Some Scandals: The Politics of Shame in Vers le Sud; S.Wearing -- The Limits of Cross-Cultural Analogy: Muslim Veiling and 'Western' Fashion and Beauty Practices; C.Pedwell -- PART IV: NEW FEMININITIES: AGENCY AND/AS MAKING DO -- Through the Looking Glass? Sexual Agency and Subjectification Online; F.Attwood -- Reckoning with Prostitutes: Performing Thai Femininity; J.Haritaworn -- Migrant Women Challenging Stereotypical Views on Femininities and Family; U.Erel -- Negotiating Sexual Citizenship: Lesbians and Reproductive Health Care; R.Ryan-Flood -- PART V: NEW FEMINISMS, NEW CHALLENGES -- The New German Feminisms: Of Wetlands and Alpha-Girls; C.Scharff -- The Contradictions of Successful Femininity: Third-Wave Feminism, Postfeminism and 'New' Femininities; S.Budgeon -- Skater Girlhood: Resignifying Femininity, Resignifying Feminism; D.H.Currie, D.M.Kelly & S.Pomerantz -- Will These Emergencies Never End? Some First Thoughts about the Impact of Economic and Security Crises on Everyday Life; G.Bhattacharyya -- Index. (shrink)
Mutual feedback between human-made environments and facets of thought throughout history has yielded two myths: the Garden and the Citadel. Both myths correspond to Jung’s feminine and masculine collective subconscious, as well as to Nietzsche’s premise of Apollonian and Dionysian impulses in art. Nietzsche’s premise suggests, furthermore, that the feminine myth of the Garden is time-bound whereas the masculine myth of the Citadel, or the Ideal City, constitutes a spatial deportment. Throughout history the two myths have continually molded the built (...) environment and thought, but the myth of the Ideal City – from Plato to Descartes to modernity – came to dominate city-form and ensuing aspects of contemplation. This relationship seems to have shifted during the twentieth century. Intellectual dispositions have begun to be largely nurtured by an incongruous city-form emerging from the gap between the incessant promise for an automated, well-functioning city, on the one hand, and looming alienation, coupled with the factual, malfunctioning city, on the other hand. Urban decay, a persisting and time-bound urban event that is a byproduct of this configuration, suggests the ascent of the Garden myth in post-modern city-form. (shrink)
This article explicates the meaning of the paradox from the perspective of sexual difference, as articulated by Simone de Beauvoir. I claim that the self, the other, and their becoming are sexed in Beauvoir’s early literary writing before the question of sexual difference is posed in The Second Sex (1949). In particular, Beauvoir’s description of Françoise’s subjective becoming in the novel She Came to Stay (1943) anticipates her later systematic description of ‘the woman in love’. In addition, I argue that (...) the different existential types appearing at the end of The Second Sex (the narcissist, the woman in love, the mystic, and the independent woman) are variations of a specific feminine, historically changing paradox of subjectivity. According to this paradox, women, in a different mode than men, must become what they ontologically “are”: beings of change and self-transcendence that have to realise the human condition in their concrete, singular lives. My interpretation draws on Kierkegaardian philosophy of existence, phenomenology, and early psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Examining Levinas's critique of the Heideggerian conception of temporality, this book shows how the notion of the feminine both enables and prohibits the most fertile territory of Levinas's thought. The author suggests that though Levinas's conception of subjectivity corrects some of the problems Heidegger's philosophy introduces, such as his failure to deal adequately with ethics, Levinas creates new stumbling blocks, notably the confining role he accords to the feminine. For Levinas, the feminine functions as that which facilitates but is excluded (...) from the ethical relation that he sees as the pinnacle of philosophy. Showing that the feminine is a strategic part of Levinas's philosophy, but one that was not thought through by him, the author suggests that his failure to solidly place the feminine in his thinking is structurally consonant with his conceptual separation of politics from ethics. (shrink)
What is object-relations theory and what does it have to do with literary studies? How can Freud's phallocentric theories be applied by feminist critics? In Psychoanalysis and Gender: An Introductory Reader Rosalind Minsky answers these questions and more, offering students a clear, straightforward overview without ever losing them in jargon. In the first section Minsky outlines the fundamentals of the theory, introducing the key thinkers and providing clear commentary. In the second section, the theory is demonstratedn by an anthology of (...) seminal essays which include Femininity by Sigmund Freud; Envy and Gratitude by Melanie Klein; an extract from Transitional Objects and Transitional Phenomena by Donald Winnicot; The Meaning of the Phallus by Jacques Lacan; an extract from Women's Time by Julia Kristeva; and an extract from Speculum of the Other Woman by Luce Irigaray. Psychoanalysis and Gender:An introductory Reader is designed especiallyfor students and written with unpretentious prose and carefully selected material. It is an invaluable guide to this major field. (shrink)
This book focuses on the significance of the body in contemporary feminist scholarship. Whether the body is treated as biological bedrock or subversive metaphor, it is implicated in the cultural and historical construction of sexual difference as well as asymmetrical power relations. The contributors to this volume examine the role of the body as socially shaped and historically colonized territory and as the focus of individual womenÆs struggles for autonomy and self-determination. They also analyze its centrality to the feminist critique (...) of male-stream science as dualistic, distanced, and decontextualized. While the body has become a "hot item" in contemporary social theory and research, the renewed interest has received a mixed reaction from feminists. The body may be back, but the "new" body theory often proves to be just as disembodied as it ever was. The body revival seems to be less an attempt to re-embody masculinist science than just another expression of the same condition that evoked the feminist critique in the first place: a flight from femininity and everything that is associated with it in Western culture. Drawing on insights from contemporary feminist theories of gender and power, this book offers a timely critical appraisal of the recent "body revival." Embodied Practices not only sets an agenda for research about the body, but for an embodied perspective on the body as well. It will be a valuable and thought-provoking resource for students of womenÆs studies, social theory, cultural studies, and medical sociology. (shrink)
In the early twentieth century Walter Benjamin introduced the idea of epochal and ongoing progression in interaction between mind and the built environment. Since early antiquity, the present study suggests, Benjamin’s notion has been manifest in metaphors of gender in city-form, whereby edifices and urban voids have represented masculinity and femininity, respectively. At the onset of interaction between mind and the built environment are prehistoric myths related to the human body and to the sky. During antiquity gender projection can (...) be detected in western perceptions linking natural and built environments, commencing with Plato’s Atlantis and his Myth of Er, and later as a likely import of the Chinese yin-yang mythology. Culminating with the Age of Discovery, alongside advances in experiential awareness of the Earth’s sphericity, respective feminine and masculine earmarks can be detected in early modern perspicacity of the Earth’s southern and northern hemispheres. Our conceptions of natural and built environments inherently continue to contain gender traits. Yet urban voids, as the feminine face of city-form, have been severely understated in the built environment. Through design and configuration of urban voids, allegories of femininity in city-form ought to be celebrated, not discarded. (shrink)
Who cares about details? As Naomi Schor explains in her highly influential book, we do-but it has not always been so. The interest in detail--in art, in literature, and as an aesthetic category--is the product of the decline of classicism and the rise of realism. But the story of the detail is as political as it is aesthetic. Secularization, the disciplining of society, the rise of consumerism, the invention of the quotidian, have all brought detail to the fore. In this (...) classic work of aesthetic and feminist theory, now available in a new paperback edition, Schor provides ways of thinking about details and ornament in literature, art, and architecture, and uncovering the unspoken but powerful ideologies that attached gender to details. Wide-ranging and richly argued, Reading in Detail presents ideas about reading (and viewing) that will enhance the study of literature and the arts. (shrink)
In I Love to You , Luce Irigaray moves from the critique of patriarchy to an exploration of the ground for a possible inter-subjectivity between the two sexes. Continuing her rejection of demands for equality, Irigaray poses the question: how can we move to a new era of sexual difference in which women and men establish lasting relations with one another without reducing the other to the status of object? Drawing upon Hegel, Irigaray proposes a dialectic appropriate to each sex (...) as well as a dialectic of their relation. She argues for what she calls "sexed rights" and a right of persons based on the right to life, not the right to property. Using the results of her research into the sexing of language, Irigaray analyzes how women seek communication in discourse with the other--an other, pre-occupied with his abstract or concrete object, who does not respond. She proposes another syntax for communication, one that does not incorporate the other as the object of the subject but allows for an indirect relation. Thus "I love to you" replaces "I love you." In Irigaray's vision of the happiness possible in sexual difference, the love between a man and a woman finds its "reason" not in property or children, but in its own place within the couple. Arguing passionately for a new language of personal relations, I Love to You looks toward a future where nihilism can be overcome by "love in sexual difference.". (shrink)
It was only recently that people began to refer to God, occasionally, as “she.” Is it now possible to re-imagine divine power as a female force deeply related to the changing world? If so, then we can understand the deeper meaning of female images of divine power including depictions such as “The Goddess.” Carol Christ offers a new look at these female images of God in She Who Changes . She shows how many traditional ideas about divine power reject the (...) female body and connection to the natural world. She looks at the work of female theologians in Judaism, Christianity, and various religions that worship "The Goddess" to explore the way in which they are re-imagining both divine and human power as embodied both in a changing world and deeply related to all beings. (shrink)
Although much attention has been given to Jacques Lacan in his rereading of Freud and to French women analysts in their deconstruction of traditional psychoanalysis, little has been available in the US on contemporary male French analysts and their treatment of women. She Speaks/He Listens illustrates the range of thought among some well-known French male psychoanalysts today--from Lacanians to anti-Lacanians to eclectics--with regard to women and sexual difference. Through the interview format, with its possibilities for surprise and spontaneity, the book (...) makes available the thought of Alain Didier-Weill, Bela Grunberger, Patrick Guyomard, Serge Lebovici, Rene Major, Gerard Pommier and Francois Roustang, as well as the internationally famed analyst Otto Kernberg, who gives a fascinating account of the French influences on his work. Other themes addressed include the place of Freud and Lacan in current theory and the relation of feminism to contemporary French male psychoanalysts. (shrink)
Performance Anxieties looks at the on-going debates over the value of psychoanalysis for feminist theory and politics--specifically concerning the social and psychical meanings of racialization. Beginning with an historicized return to Freud and the meaning of Jewishness in Freud's day, Ann Pellegrini indicates how "race" and racialization are not incidental features of psychoanalysis or of modern subjectivity, but are among the generative conditions of both. Performance Anxieties stages a series of playful encounters between elite and popular performance texts--Freud meets Sarah (...) Bernhardt meets Sandra Bernhard; Joan Riviere's masquerading women are refigured in relation to the hard female bodies in the film Pumping Iron II: The Women ; and the Terminator and Alien films. In re-reading psychoanalysis alongside other performance texts, Pellegrini unsettles relations between popular and elite, performance and performative. (shrink)
This article objectifies broaden the understanding of the topic masculinities, feminilities and generation, with regard to questions relating of African religionsby focusing on excessively performative dimensions, secret, and power, with views on the process of knowledge production involving normativities permeated by criteria sex, class and race. Two locus served as the stage for the discussion – the Brotherhood of Good Death and Cult of Nanny Egun, since in principle bans are spaces, respectively, male and female, are groups that celebrate the (...) ancestry under the African paradigm. (shrink)
Explanations of how identity is constructed are fundamental to contemporary debates in feminism and social theory. In this important addition to the literature, Beverley Skeggs demonstrates that class needs to be featured more prominently in theoretical accounts of gender, identity, and power. Class has been marginalized in feminist and cultural theory and it has become increasingly difficult to teach, research, or speak about class. Formations of Class and Gender identifies the neglect of class issues in favor of gender issues, and (...) shows how class and gender must be fused together to produce an accurate representation of power relations in modern society. In a sustained examination of the production of knowledge, detailed ethnographic research is used to explain how ôrealö women modify and reformulate our understanding of class, subjectivity, and sexuality. A critical examination of cultural representationùinformed by recent feminist theory and the work of Pierre BourdieuùFormations of Class and Gender is an articulate demonstration of how to translate theory into practice. Engaged with theoretical and methodological issues, this will be the standard referenced ethnography on class and gender. It will be required reading for students and researchers in womenÆs studies and sociology. (shrink)
: In 1977, Michel Foucault suggested that legal approaches to rape define it as merely an act of violence, not of sexuality, and therefore not distinct from other types of assaults. I argue that rape can not be considered merely an act of violence because it is instrumental in the construction of the distinctly feminine body. Insofar as the threat of rape is ineluctably, although not determinately, associated with the development of feminine bodily comportment, rape itself holds a host of (...) bodily and sexually specific meanings. (shrink)
: This paper explores the conditions under which feminine beautification constitutes a feminist practice. Distinguishing between the process and product of beautification allows us to isolate those aesthetic, inter-subjective, and embodied elements that empower rather than disempower women. The empowering characteristics of beautification, however, are difficult and perhaps impossible to represent in a sexist context; therefore, while beautifying may be a positive experience for women, being viewed as a beautified object in current Western society is almost always opposed to women's (...) equality and autonomy. (shrink)
Margaret Whitford's study provides the ideal introduction to Irigaray's thought, offering a sustained interpretation of her whole corpus, including previously untranslated French texts. Whitford suggests that Irigaray's work should be seen as "philosophy in the feminine," actively opposing the complicity of philosophy with other social practices which exclude or marginalize women.
Part III. Section 3. Autonomy and Feminine Socialization: Having agreed with Beauvoir that narcissism and altruism contribute to women's lack of autonomy, Meyers examines Beauvoir's account of autonomy in light of her own conception of autonomy competency and argues that Beauvoir's conception of autonomy is too stringent. Autonomy competency, in contrast, allows for degrees of autonomy and variations in degree as viewed over a life-time, as well as for a distinction between programmatic and episodic autonomy. Meyers concludes by characterizing minimal, (...) medial, and full autonomy. (shrink)
This innovative book explores one of the most important concepts in contemporary cultural debates: the sublime. Joanna Zylinska looks at the consequences of feminism and its rethinking of sexual differences, and how it has led to the sublime tradition. She argues that what is generally considered aesthetics can now be more productive thought of in terms of ethics instead. Looking at a range of diverse discourses—Orlan's carnal art, philosophies of the everyday, the French feminism of Cixous and Irigaray, and the (...) gender theory of Judith Butler—Zylinska intertwines the boundaries of cultural theory and textual practice to produce an ethics of the feminine sublime. (shrink)
A number of scholars have discussed the possible affinities between Levinas and the kabbalah. In this essay, I explore the nexus between eros, secrecy, modesty, and the feminine in the thought of Levinas compared to a similar complex of ideas elicited from kabbalistic speculation. In addition to the likelihood that Levinas may have been influenced by the interrelatedness of these motifs in kabbalistic lore, I argue that he proffers an anti-theosophic interpretation of kabbalah, which accords with his rejection of the (...) dogma of incarnation and the related polemical depiction of Christianity as idolatry. The appropriation of the kabbalistic hermeneutic on the part of Levinas, therefore, entailed a major revision. In translating the ontological into the ethical, Levinas divests the secret of its secretive potency, but thereby fostered an esoteric reading of Jewish esotericism. (shrink)
The split in our thinking between "masculine" and "feminine" is probably as old as language itself. Human beings seem to have a natural tendency to divide things into pairs: good/bad, light/dark, subject/object and so on. It is not surprising, then, that the male/female or masculine/feminine dichotomy is used to classify things other than men and women. Many languages actually classify all nouns as "masculine" or "feminine" (although not very consistently: for example, the Spanish masculine noun pollo means "hen", while the (...) feminine polla is slang for "penis"). This is perfectly natural; it is part of the way categorisation works in language. This does not, however, mean that it is right. It is probably unimportant whether a table or a chair is thought of as masculine or feminine. It may not even be very important these days whether we think of the sun as male and the moon as female (like the ancient Greeks) or vice versa (like most of the German tribes). However, when we start associating abstract concepts like Reason or Nature with men and women, we run into serious difficulties. (shrink)
Part III. Section 2. Feminine and Masculine Socialization: Two main problems are explored: 1) How are girls and boys socialized in contemporary western societies? and 2) What are adult women and men like? Meyers appropriates the main outlines of Simone de Beauvoir's account of feminine socialization in The Second Sex, but she also discusses more recent research.
This study presents a reconsideration of Levinas's concept of the feminine. This reconsideration is facilitated by a philosophically informed analysis of Levinas's Talmudic readings on that subject.The innovation of this research is in its methodology, which combines the two corpora of Levinas' writings as important components of an integrated system of thought. Two main phenomena are derived here from Levinas' Talmudic readings and raise main principles of his ethics. In the heart of the discussion on Eros we find a statement (...) of the differentiation between feminine and masculine in Levinas's thought, and its implication for gender and for the ethics of otherness. In the center of Levinas's terminology of maternity we uncover his phenomenology of pregnancy, and its ethical implication regarding responsibility to the other. The extreme responsibility committed to the other since there is a immanent conflict between parents and their child. (shrink)
In Womanizing Nietzsche, Kelly Oliver uses an analysis of the position of woman in Nietzsche's texts to open onto the larger question of philosophy's relation to the feminine and the maternal. Offering readings from Nietzsche, Derrida, Irigaray, Kristeva, Freud and Lacan, Oliver builds an innovative foundation for an ontology of intersubjective relationships that suggests a new approach to ethics. Oliver argues that while Freud, Nietzsche and Derrida, in particular, attempt to open up philosophy to its other--the unconscious, the body, difference, (...) even the feminine--their attempts depend on closing off the possibility of a specifically feminine other. In this regard, Oliver maintains that none of these theorists have escaped the Hegelian model of intersubjectivity at the level of Lordship and Bondage. She suggests that the recent talk of the death of philosophy is a symptom of the exclusion of woman, the feminine and the maternal. By problematizing and reformulating the traditional philosophical association between the maternal and nature, Oliver presents an alternative model for intersubjectivity and ethics. (shrink)
Nietzsche and Heidegger both challenge the metaphysical conception of the cosmos based on the principles of reason. They argue that the unspeakable, material and non-rational should be imbued with a renewed significance. In so doing, they make it possible to grant the feminine, which had been traditionally associated with these realms, philosophical importance. However, as Irigaray points out, woman is not an interlocutor in their philosophical dialogues but rather a silent foil against whom masculine self-creation takes place. Furthermore, if woman (...) is associated too closely with the mysterious powers of the cosmos, she is denied a voice and the overestimation of her powers leads to her dehumanization. She is thus stripped of the agency that makes her a human subject. Key Words: critique of metaphysics feminism Heidegger Irigaray Nietzsche. (shrink)
In her well-known In A Different Voice, Gilligan argues that the male and female approaches to morality are fundamentally opposed to each other. The masculine approach emphasizes impartial justice, and the application of a 'hierarchy' of rules. In contrast, the feminine approach is grounded in care and concern for others, and emphasizes flexibility and attention to context when making moral decisions. This paper offers a critique of Gilligan's views through a consideration of Mencian morality. Mencius inhabits the 'feminine' perspective insofar (...) as his morality is grounded in care and responsibility. However, he develops from this a philosophy of government which recognizes the need for impartial justice to apply among citizens. Mencius's views show that, pace Gilligan, there is no inherent incompatibility between 'feminine' care and concern and 'male' impartial justice. It is possible for the latter to be founded upon the former. (shrink)
The search for a unified and coherent feminine aesthetic theory could not be successful because it relies upon "universals" which do not exist and assumes simple parallels among psychological, social and aesthetic structures. However, with an apparatus of narrative points of view, one can demonstrate that individual narrative texts are organized from a feminine point of view. To this extent, the intuition that there is a feminine aesthetic can be vindicated.
Kierkegaard shows two contrary attitudes to woman and the feminine: misogyny and celebration. The Kierkegaardian structure of selfhood, because combined with a hierarchical assumption about the relative value of certain human characteristics, and their identification as male or female, argues that woman is a lesser self. Consequently, the claim that the Kierkegaardian ideal of selfhood is androgynist is rejected, though it is the latter assumptions alone that force this conclusion.
: According to Kelly Oliver and Elizabeth Grosz, while Friedrich Nietzsche begins to open Western philosophy to the other, the body, he cuts off feminine body. Here I create a framework through which the possibility and questionability of a symbolically feminine body begins to emerge. I do this by using the metaphor of Indian curry. The metaphor works on two levels: 1) as a symbolically feminine body; 2) as Nietzsche's conception of subject-formation as a dynamic monism.
Modern Standard German does not have distinct forms for nominatives and accusatives in the feminine gender. This is not only unique within Germanic languages, but also quite remarkable from a typological and functional viewpoint, under the plausible assumption that feminine NPs do not differ in animacy from masculine NPs. I will discuss the loss of the N/A distinction for feminines in detail and speculate about possible reasons – among others, that the referents of feminines are not typically animate, that the (...) syncretism was modelled after a similar syncretism in the plural, and that a sexist bias of the speech community in which the syncretism originated influenced a core part of the grammar of their language. (shrink)
The abstract notion of “the feminine”, (womanliness, feminine nature)—in French, le f minin, and in German, das Weibliche —as substantivum neutrum, remains together with its opposite, the masculine, connotative of an inherent disparity. It is meant neither as the biological affiliation of sex, nor as gender, the social response, or echo, of this biological affiliation. Rather, it is the spiritual attitude (psychic, spiritual being, mind) which is the norm for psychic manifestations in general, and is its subtle psychosomatic background. (...) It is not necessarily connected with the rude biological differentiation of sex, but rather appears as a quality in one or the other form; either as the individual, the social group or forms of activities, etc., without respect to the biological manifestations of the participants. What this paper attempts to demonstrate, is the way in which the above described notion of the feminine, functions in classical Asian cultures and philosophies. In the famous Yijing, for instance, this is seen as the hexagram correlated to the male Qian; in the philosophy of Yin and Yang, as Yin the Earth, in correlation with Yang, the Heaven; which are united in the famous Taiji diagram, a sophisticated development of Chinese Neo-Confucianism. The paper focuses on the Dao de jing, in which Lao Zi gives, as a counterbalance to the existing praxis, priority to the female principle (the feminine). He remains, however, faithful to the Asian tradition, maintaining that the masculine and the feminine should remain equal, correlative, neither one nor the other vying for dominance. The correlative embrace, “When you know the male yet hold on to. the female” (Dao de jing, chapter 28) subsists in the mythical past where both principles are joined in androgynous unity. (shrink)
Psychoanalytic theory is considered as the appropriate context in which to make sense of the masculine/feminine difference, insofar as it offers a methodology for "reading the text of the body." The extent to which the idea of "penis envy" distorts the psychoanalytic reading of feminine embodiment is demonstrated. In undoing this distortion, a positive account of feminine life is developed in the idea of "becoming the mother of oneself." CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
In this commentary, I ask three specific questions: (1) Why would a juvenile stage be maintained in humans? (2) What could be a satisfactory evolutionary scenario explaining the features of feminine speech? And (3), what could be the contribution of sexual selection in the elicitation of higher informational contents in communicative signals?
This paper examines Nancy Chodorow's theory of feminine connection and masculine separation in The Reproduction of Mothering. First it demonstrates that, contrary to many feminists' interpretations, Chodorow's theory does not portray masculine separation as a social problem to which feminine connection is the solution. Then it shows that Chodorow's apparently intended theory is incoherent. Finally, it argues that Chodorow's claims imply another theory that is coherent and that deserves feminists' attention.
The fragility of the subject is a recurring issue in the work of Anne Enright, one of Ireland's most remarkable and innovative writers. It is this specific interest, together with her attempt to make women into subjects, that inevitably links her work to Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger's theory of the matrixial borderspace, a feminine sphere that coexists with the Lacanian symbolic order and that, even before our entrance into this linguistic system, informs our subjectivity. By turning to a point in time before (...) language—the encounter between “self” and “other” during pregnancy—both Enright and Ettinger test the boundaries of and the gaps within the linguistic system. It is the going before language that ultimately enables both to go beyond some of the most persistent dualisms present within the linguistic system and to create room for an alternative—a feminine—understanding of the ethical relationality between self and other. (shrink)
Drawing on the example of one specific Ethics Committee, the author delineates feminine and masculine styles of ethical decision making and work with the dying as two sides of what it means to be humanistic in patient care. The author draws particularly on the work of Carol Gilligan to differentiate feminine from masculine approaches.
Bonaventure in his Itinerarium mentis in Deum traces the mystical journey of the spiritual wayfarer from the state of man posterior to the Fall of Adam and Eveto union with the Trinity as a partaker of the inter-Trinitarian love life. This journey takes the form of an ascent characterized by a Procline and Augustinian influenced ontology. I argue that the first two levels of the three-tiered ascent are understood ontologically as feminine and masculine principles, or evaluative metaphors, and mirror the (...) coinciding of the opposites of Good and Being in Bonaventure’s Trinitarian theology. Furthermore, the process of the ascent is operative by means of yearning, or desire, acting as a unitive force in the ascent. The ascent of the Itinerarium is best realized in the person of Francis of Assisi upon whose very corpus is the ascent impressed according to the signs of the crucified Christ, the stigmata. (shrink)
In this comment Ichallenge two of the arguments made in the paper, “Toward the Feminine Firm.” First I challenge the claim that Gilligan’swork on gender differences in moral orientation provides a logically and empirically sound foundation for an alternative theory of the firm. I cite recent work that discredits any concise notion of a feminine ethic. Second I challenge the claim that, if such a firm were to exist, it would flourish in a competitive market economy. I suggest that, far (...) from flourishing, such a firm will rapidly perish. (shrink)
This paper concerns the influence of gender on a firm’s moral and economic performance. It supports Thomas White’s intimation of a male gender bias in the value system underlying extant business theory. We suggest that this gender bias may be corrected by drawing on the concept of substantive rationality inherent in virtue-ethics theory. This feminine-oriented relationship-based value system complements the essential nature of the firm as a nexus of relationships between stakeholders. Not only is this feminine firm morally desirable, but (...) it is also economically more efficient in that trust becomes a more feasible implicit contractual enforcement mechanism. In an organizational context, therefore, from both a moral and an economic perspective, long established economic man is dominated by nascent economic woman. (shrink)
This book offers a critical feminist perspective on the widely debated topic of transitional justice and forgiveness. Louise Du Toit examines the phenomenon of rape with a feminist philosophical discourse concerning women’s or ‘feminine’ subjectivity and selfhood. She demonstrates how the hierarchical dichotomy of male active versus female passive sexuality – which obscures the true nature of rape – is embedded in the dominant western symbolic frame. Through a Hegelian and phenomenological reading of first-person accounts by rape victims, she excavates (...) an understanding of rape that also starts to open up a way out of the denial and destruction of female sexual subjectivity. (shrink)
Introduction : time, film, and the ethical vision of Emmanuel Levinas. American transcendence : Levinas and a short history of an American idea in film -- Frank Capra and James Stewart : time, transcendence, and the other -- The changing face of American redemption : Henry Fonda, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and Denzel Washington -- Sex, art, and Oedipus : The unbearable lightness of being -- Fellini and La dolce vita : documentary, decadence, and desire -- Antonioni and L'avventura : (...) transcendence, the body, and the feminine. (shrink)
Feminist, critical race, and postcolonial theories have established that social identities such as race and gender are mutually constitutive—i.e., that they “intersect.” I argue that “cultural appropriation” is never merely the appropriation of culture, but also of gender, sexuality, class, etc. For example, “white hipness” is the appropriation of stereotypical black masculinity by white males. Looking at recent videos from black male hip-hop artists, I develop an account of “postmillennial black hipness.” The inverse of white hipness, this practice involves the (...) appropriation, by black men, of stereotypical white gay masculinity and/or non-American, non-white femininity. I also argue that Shephard Fairey’s recent images of (mainly militant) non-Western women of color can be read as a new form of white hipness that revises the traditional logic in two ways: (1) by appropriating non-white femininity rather than masculinity, and (2) by adopting the practice of postmillennial black hipness itself. (shrink)
Judith Butler's recent work expands the Foucaultian notion of subjection to encompass an analysis of the ways in which subordinated individuals becomes passionately attached to, and thus come to be psychically invested in, their own subordination. I argue that Butler's psychoanalytically grounded account of subjection offers a compelling diagnosis of how and why an attachment to oppressive norms – of femininity, for example – can persist in the face of rational critique of those norms. However, I also argue that (...) her account of individual and collective resistance to subjection is plagued by familiar problems concerning the normative criteria and motivation for resistance that emerge in her recent work in new and arguably more intractable forms, and by new concerns about her conceptions of dependency, subordination and recognition. (shrink)
Celebrated as a courtesan and poet, and as a woman of great intelligence and wit, Tullia d'Aragona (1510–56) entered the debate about the morality of love that engaged the best and most famous male intellects of sixteenth-century Italy. First published in Venice in 1547, but never before published in English, Dialogue on the Infinity of Love casts a woman rather than a man as the main disputant on the ethics of love. Sexually liberated and financially independent, Tullia d'Aragona dared to (...) argue that the only moral form of love between woman and man is one that recognizes both the sensual and the spiritual needs of humankind. Declaring sexual drives to be fundamentally irrepressible and blameless, she challenged the Platonic and religious orthodoxy of her time, which condemned all forms of sensual experience, denied the rationality of women, and relegated femininity to the realm of physicality and sin. Human beings, she argued, consist of body and soul, sense and intellect, and honorable love must be based on this real nature. By exposing the intrinsic misogyny of prevailing theories of love, Aragona vindicates all women, proposing a morality of love that restores them to intellectual and sexual parity with men. Through Aragona's sharp reasoning, her sense of irony and humor, and her renowned linguistic skill, a rare picture unfolds of an intelligent and thoughtful woman fighting sixteenth-century stereotypes of women and sexuality. (shrink)
This article revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism, the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists widespread rejection of essentialism has threatened to undermine feminist politics. Re-evaluating two responses to this problemstrategic essentialism and Iris Marion Youngs idea that women are an internally diverse seriesI argue that both unsatisfactorily retain essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of womens lives. I argue instead that women have (...) a genealogy: women always acquire femininity by appropriating and reworking existing cultural interpretations of femininity, so that all women become situated within a history of overlapping chains of interpretation. Because all women are located within this complex history, they are identifiable as belonging to a determinate social group, despite sharing no common understanding or experience of femininity. The idea that women have a genealogy thus reconciles anti-essentialism with feminist politics. (shrink)
What is a woman? And what does it mean to be a feminist today? In her first full-scale engagement with feminist theory since her internationally renowned Sexual/Textual Politics (1985), Toril Moi challenges the dominant trends in contemporary feminist and cultural thought, arguing for a feminism of freedom inspired by Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Written in a clear and engaging style What is a Woman? brings together two brand new book-length theoretical interventions, Moi's work on Freud and Bourdieu, and (...) her studies of desire and knowledge in literature. In the controversial title-essay, Toril Moi radically rethinks current debates about sex, gender, and the body - challenging the commonly held belief that the sex/gender distinction is fundamental to all feminist theory. Moi rejects every attempt to define masculinity and femininity, including efforts to define femininity as that which 'cannot be defined. In the second new book-length essay, 'I am a Woman', Toril Moi reworks the relationship between the personal and the philosophical, pursuing ways to write theory that do not neglect the claims of the personal. Setting up an encounter between contemporary theory and Simone de Beauvoir, Moi radically rethinks the need, and difficulty, of finding one's own philosophical voice by placing it in new theoretical contexts. A sustained refusal to lay down theoretical or political requirements for femininity, and a powerful argument for a feminism of freedom, What is a Woman? is a deeply original contribution to feminist theory. (shrink)
: This paper may be read as a reclamation project. It argues, with Simone de Beauvoir, that patriarchal marriage is both a perversion of the meaning of the couple and an institution in transition. Parting from those who have given up on marriage, I identify marriage as existing at the intersection of the ethical and the political and argue that whether or not one chooses marriage, feminists ought not abandon marriage as an institution.
Without rejecting Simone de Beauvoir's often cited feminist agenda, this paper takes up her less frequently noted insight – that woman's existence as the inessential other is more than a consequence of material dependency, and political inequality. This insight traces women's subordinated status to the effect of a patriarchal desire that produces and is sustained by a political imaginary that is not economically grounded and is not undermined by women's economic or political progress. Taking up this insight, this paper reads (...) Beauvoir, Freud and Sade through each other, to critique the myths of femininity. It argues that unless feminists of the 21st century follow Beauvoir's logic of ambiguity to challenge the ways in which sexed and gendered subjectivity is currently structured, the place of the inessential other will be preserved, and the feminist vision will be betrayed. (shrink)
Some feminist theorists have argued that emphasizing women's self-defense mistakenly emphasizes women's behavior and choices rather than male aggression as a cause of sexual violence. I argue here that such critiques of self-defense are misguided, and do not sufficiently take into account the ways in which feminist self-defense courses can constitute embodied transformations of the meanings of femininity and rape. While certainly not sufficient to counter a rape culture by themselves, self-defense courses should remain a crucial element in feminist (...) anti-rape activism. (shrink)
In Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Freud rejects the notion of a biologically determined connection of instinct to object, a position which helps him avoid the designation of all variations from heterosexuality as either “degenerate” or “pathological.” However, the gender roles and relations commonly attributed to heterosexuality are already implicit in his understanding of sexual instinct and aim. Consequently, even variations from the normal sexual object and aim exemplify, on his interpretation, the clichéd hierarchical opposition of femininity (...) and masculinity. Freud’s theory of sexuality thus implies that the erotic bond is inevitably one of domination, and that the only possible human relation is one of subject to object, activity to passivity, whole to part, and owner to property. My primary intention in this paper is to explore, in Freud’s analysis of fetishism, traces of an alternate possibility to oppositional hierarchical gender roles and the negative forms of social relation that rely upon them. While Freud---in keeping with common opinion---characterizes sexual fetishism as a distinctly masculine phenomenon, the text also supports a more interesting interpretation: that the non-pathological fetishist evades the construction of gender in terms of sexual roles and that, consequently, fetishism can serve as a critique of Freud’s masculine model of sexual instinct and relation. (shrink)
Critical race theorists have done much in recent years to show that contrived and repressive notions of racial purity have been central to the social identity of whiteness in the US. Similarly, feminists know that contrived and repressive notions of sexual purity (that is, chastity) have been central to the social construction of femininity, especially white femininity. While it may be clear that these abstract purity ideals have privileged certain subjects over others, what is even more interesting, and (...) less documented, are the ways in which everyday purity ideals bite their own tails, that is, they undermine their professed purpose in concrete ways. Thus, even the "privileged" subjects suffer. Looking around, we .. (shrink)
The dreaming body -- The philosophical Jung -- Locating identities : individual and collective matters -- Projection : the mirror image -- Divine reversal -- Mimesis revisited : Demeter and Persephone -- Jung, Irigaray, and essentialism : a new look at an old problem -- Speaking of the collective unconscious.
: The feminist significance of the Goddess Kali lies in an indigenous worshipful attitude of "Kali-bhakti" rather than in the mere image of the Goddess. The peculiar mother-child motif at the core of the poet Ramprasad Sen's Kali-bhakti represents, I argue, not only a dramatic reconstruction of femininity but of selfhood in general. The spiritual goal of a devotee here involves a deconstruction of "master identity" necessary also for ethico-political struggles for justice.
Judith Butler's contribution to feminist political thought is usually approached in terms of her concept of performativity, according to which gender exists only insofar as it is ritualistically and repetitively performed, creating permanent possibilities for performing gender in new and transgressive ways. In this paper, I argue that Butler's politics of performativity is more fundamentally grounded in the concept of genealogy, which she adapts from Foucault and, ultimately, Nietzsche. Butler understands women to have a genealogy: to be located within a (...) history of overlapping practices and reinterpretations of femininity. This genealogical understanding of femininity allows Butler to propose a coalitional feminist politics, which requires no unity among women but only loosely overlapping connections. For Butler, feminist coalitions should aim to subvert, not consolidate, entrenched norms concerning femininity. Butler has been criticized, however, for failing to explain either how subversive agency is possible or why the subversion of gender norms is desirable. Reviewing these criticisms, I argue that Butler offers a convincing explanation of the possibility of subversive agency, but that the normative dimension of her political thought remains relatively underdeveloped. I explore how the normative aspect of Butler's thought could be strengthened by recasting her notion of genealogy along more thoroughly Nietzschean and materialist lines, in terms of an idea of active and multiple bodily forces. (shrink)
This paper argues that the metaphors of breath and voice as employed in the recent works of Luce Irigaray and Adriana Cavarero yield a reconceptualization of subjectivity as unique, embodied and relational. When interpreted in light of Cavarero's reorientation of the question of subjectivity from a what to a who, this newly configured notion of subjectivity can serve as the basis for a non-essentialist politics of sexual difference.
Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant (...) utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing other as a mental repository fo unwanted characteristics cast from the self. Jessica benjamin shows the implications of this dual relationship for male/female hierarchy and offers a possibility for balancing the two. This book continues the author's well-known explorations of the themes of intersubjectivity and gender, taking up issues at the forefront of contemporary debates in feminist theory and psychoanalysis. (shrink)
Recognizing the growing interdependence of the European Union and the importance of codes of conduct in companies’ operations, this research examines the effect of a country’s culture on the implementation of a code of conduct in a European context. We examine whether the perceptions of an activity’s ethicality relates to elements found in company codes of conduct vary by country or according to Hofstede’s (1980, Culture’s Consequences (Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA)) cultural constructs of: Uncertainty Avoidance, Masculinity/Femininity, Individualism, and (...) Power Distance. The 294 individuals, who participated in our study, were from 8 Western European countries. Their responses to our 13 scenarios indicate that differences in the perceptions of ethicality associate primarily with the participants’ country as opposed to their employer (i.e., accounting firm), employment level, or gender. The evidence also indicates that these country differences associate with Hofstede constructs of Individualism and Masculinity. (shrink)
In this article, I argue that Nietzsche collapses the rigid dichotomy between nature and culture, as well as body and mind, by insisting on their mutually constitutive nature. This forces him to reconceptualize the role of women, who had traditionally been considered to be wedded to both the natural realm and the body. Nietzsche hails women for their insight that culture can never capture nature, and for being attuned to the interplay between the two realms. He attributes an enormous power (...) to the maternal figure who becomes a symbol for life as a whole. Her power arouses his own resentment, and he redoubles his efforts to exclude her, once again driving a wedge between nature and culture. Key Words: feminism Nietzsche subjectivity Zarathustra. (shrink)
: This essay discusses the implications of Irigaray's readings of the Antigone in the construction of a feminist ethics. By focusing on the gaps and intersections between Lacanian psychoanalysis and Hegelian phenomenology as formulative of Irigaray's eventual call for an ethics of sexual difference, I emphasize the inevitability of rethinking the functions of historicity, femininity, and maternity in the formation of new models of intersubjectivity.
To resume, then, the need for a written Law specifically prohibiting Genocide. (1) It should by now be evident that “the pleasure principle” needs its ethical mandate, beyond the “reality principle” of a social field that can no longer be considered homeostatic and nonconflictual. The fantasmatic character of human pleasure must not only be accounted for in any ethic today, it must take primacy. Fantasy formations grow ever central in our lives; fantasy is the support of our “reality.” (2) The (...) writing of such a Law would permit the enunciation of positively negative content, thereby reframing the Other as lacking; and it would also provide a way for the increasingly stateless “citizens” of the postmodern, “global” community, to be asked to decide on the necessarily paired alternatives (Good and Evil, to kill or to love) which have once again become the starkest of possibilities for them. Only this kind of decision — which is not that of the vel — suffers resistance to the will of the people when it is a malignant will-to- jouissance. (shrink)
: Few contemporary philosophers discuss the ways in which the emotion of shame may be gendered. This paper addresses this situation, examining Gabriele Taylor's (1985 and 1995) account of genuine vs. false shame. I argue that, by attending to the social pressures placed on many women to conform to a certain vision of femininity, an analysis of the shame to which women may be prone shows that Taylor's account of shame remains incomplete.
This is a critical evaluation of the feminist philosophical literature on the work of Emmanuel Levinas. It brought to a close Sandford's research on Levinas, the main outcome of which was her "The Metaphysics of Love: Levinas and Transcendence" (2000).