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)
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.
According to Bartky, "To be a feminist, one has first to become one," and to become a feminist, one has to overcome femininity. Although I agree with Bartky's critique of femininity, I argue that feminist consciousness has to involve a contradictory attitude toward femininity-not just a critique, but also an appreciation of the utopian values it harbors.
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)
: 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.
In the postmodern era the impact media have on our lives is continuously growing. Not only do media reflect reality, but they also shape and reconstruct it according to the public's hopes, fears or fantasies. Reality itself is not the sum of all objective processes and things, but it is socially constructed by the discourses that reflect and produce power. On the other hand, the public does not simply accept or reject the media messages, but interprets them according to its (...) social background (Zoonen, 1994, p. 41). My interest lies in identifying how are women represented in the media and what are the dominant images of femininity, as well as the alternative ones. There is a strong connection between image and identity as the latter can not be constructed without the former. Basically, the postmodern subject has been reduced to an image, therefore the image plays an important part in constructing the feminine identity. (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)
R. W. Connell’s path-breaking notion of multiple masculinities (Connell, 1995) and hegemonic masculinity (Connell, 1987, 1995) have been taken up as central constructs in the sociology of gender. Although there has been a great deal of empirical research and theory published that has built upon and utilized Connell’s concepts, an adequate conceptualization of hegemonic femininity and multiple femininities has not yet been developed. To redress this, the author presents a theoretical framework that builds upon the insights of Connell and (...) others, offers a definition of hegemonic masculinity and hegemonic femininity that allows for multiple configurations within each, and that can be used empirically across settings and groups. The author also outlines how hegemonic masculinity and hegemonic femininity are implicated in and intersect with other systems of inequality such as class, race, and ethnicity. (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)
This introductory paper analyzes the Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant sects, which form the core of the Ecumenical movement. The development of the feminine problem in the ecumenical movement took shape in 1948, at the first Conference of the E.C.C., when Sarah Chakko presented a report on the place and role of women in church. Among the most important women’s achievements we must mention: The International Day of Prayer, the creation of the Department on Cooperation of Men and Women in Church (...) and Society (1954), and The Ecumenical Decade for Churches in Solidarity with Women (1988- 1998). Beyond the dogmatic and theological differences between the three sects and between the places that they assign to women, women’s contribution to the development of the Ecumenic Movement is increasing. (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)
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)
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)
The emancipation of women has become a strong critical discourse in Bengali literature since the 19th century. Only since the second half of the 20th century, however, have female writers markedly stepped out of the shadow of their male colleagues, and the writings on women become more and more often articulated by women themselves. In this article, I focus on particular concepts of femininity in selected texts of two outstanding writers of different generations, a prose writer, and a woman (...) poet: Mahasweta Debi (b. 1926) and Mallika Sengupta (1960–2011). Analyzing Mahasweta’s female characters, I focus on the issue of the double marginalization of dalit tribal women; we can find here impacts of intersectional discrimination of class, gender and caste. Debi is very radical in her social criticism but is quite reluctant to accept the label of feminism. Mallika, on the other hand, represents a movement among the female writers of her generation that openly declares her support for feminist ideologies, which can be demonstrated on some of the examples referred to here. Another important strand of Mallika’s constructions of femininity are archetypal images — mythological metaphors of femininity (in the Hindu context) which may in some cases be interpreted in accordance with difference feminism, in others as a critique of the essentialized and dichotomous concepts of masculinity and femininity. While Mahasweta’s emancipation drive is more deeply grounded in her field research and journalistic activism in the tribal areas she writes about, Mallika’s has been more strongly linked with the academia and has joined the theoretical feminist discourse. Through a close reading the women’s emancipation discourse of these two protagonists in Bengali literature, we can speak of a shift from a practical, concrete criticism, to a theoretically founded radicalism. (shrink)
A review of my undergraduate students' commentaries on two of Bartky's essays serves as the occasion for elaborating on Bartky's analyses of factors that sustain and perpetuate the subjection and disempowerment of women. In my elaboration I draw from John Stuart Mill's statement: "In the case of women, each individual of the subject-class is in a chronic state of bribery and intimidation combined." I conclude by raising the question, How is personal transformation possible?
This paper will examine the way in which premenstrual symptomatology has been represented and regulated by psychology and psychiatry. It questions the “truths” about women's premenstrual experiences that circulate in scientific discourse, namely the fictions framed as facts that serve to regulate femininity, reproduction, and what it is to be “woman.” Hegemonic truths that define Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and its nosological predecessor Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are examined to illustrate how regimes of objectified knowledge and practices of “assemblage” come (...) to regulate individual women through a process of subjectification. Five interconnected “truths” are presented as objects of scrutiny: PMDD is a thing that can be objectively defined and measured; PMDD is a pathology to be eradicated; PMDD is caused and can be treated by one factor; PMDD is a bodily phenomenon; PMDD causes women's problems or symptoms. I examine the way in which these hegemonic truths function in framing the reproductive body as a cause of disorder or distress that leads women to interpret premenstrual experiences within a pathological framework deserving medical or psychological treatment. Finally, I offer an alternative framework drawing on Eastern models of selfhood that provides a more empowering model of women's premenstrual experiences. (shrink)
Early psychosocial stress (e.g., parental divorce, abuse) is conjectured to place individuals on a developmental trajectory leading to earlier initiation of sexual activity, earlier reproduction, and having more sex partners than those with less early psychosocial stress. But does it also affect an individual’s mate choice? The present study examined whether early psychosocial stress affects preferences and dislikes for opposite-sex faces varying in masculinity/femininity, a putative indicator of mate quality, in premenopausal women (58 with a natural cycle, 53 pill-users) (...) and 196 men. No significant three-way interactions were found when women selected the most or least preferred face with participant group (natural cycle, pill), conception risk (low, high), and early psychosocial stress (low, high) as between-subjects factors. Early psychosocial stress did not affect men’s face preferences when selecting the most preferred face. However, men with high early psychosocial stress disliked masculine faces significantly more so than men with low early psychosocial stress. Overall it was concluded that early psychosocial stress does not affect mate choice with the exception that men with high early psychosocial stress were more likely to dislike masculine female faces. It was suggested that men with high early psychosocial stress may dislike masculine female faces because they have nothing to gain from associating with women with such faces. (shrink)
This paper attempts to critically discuss and situate the phenomena of contemporary witchcraft (both the Wicca tradition and the feminist one). Contemporary Anglo-Saxon witchcraft is one of the compo- nents of “mystic-esoteric nebulousness”. It has a particular status both among contemporary prac- tices of witchcraft and among women-dominated religions. Among recent philosophical trends, it has affinities with ecofeminism and neopaganism. Along this line, its roots seem to indicate a connec- tion with the ancient beliefs that characterized the matriarchal civilization of (...) Old Europe. Finally, contemporary witchcraft finds itself well integrated in the framework of the New Age movement. (shrink)
Evolutionary biology and feminism share a variety of philosophical and practical concerns. I have tried to describe how a perspective from both evolutionary biology and feminism can accelerate the achievement of goals for both feminists and evolutionary biologists. In an early section of this paper I discuss the importance of variation to the disciplines of evolutionary biology and feminism. In the section entitled “Control of Female Reproduction” I demonstrate how insight provided by participation in life as woman and also as (...) a feminist suggests testable hypotheses about the evolution of social behavior—hypotheses that are applicable to our investigations of the evolution of social behavior in nonhuman animals. In the section on “Deceit, Self-deception, and Patriarchal Reversals” I have overtly conceded that evolutionary biology, a scientific discipline, also represents a human cultural practice that, like other human cultural practices, may in parts and at times be characterized by deceit and self-deception. In the section on “Femininity” I have indicated how questions cast and answered and hypotheses tested from an evolutionary perspective can serve women and men struggling with sexist oppression. (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)