Sexuality, Power, and Gangbang: A Foucouldian Analysis of Aannabel Chong's Dissent

In Noelle Leslie Dela Cruz & Jeanne Peracullo (eds.), Feminista: Gender, Race and Class in the Philippines, Manila. Anvil. pp. 83-97 (2011)
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In January 1995, at the age of 22, Annabel Chong (whose real name is Grace Quek), a former pornographic actress/director set a world record (which has since been topped) for having the most number of sex acts, 251 with about 70 men, over a period of about ten hours, for a film called the World’s Biggest Gangbang. Chong claims in subsequent interviews that more than anything else, she did it to challenge the stereotypical notion that female sexuality is passive—that women like to be “seduced, kissed and cuddled, and [are] basically biologically monogamous”. She quips that “if a guy did 251 women in one day . . . everyone would think he’s a real stud”; But if a girl does the same “she’s considered a terrible slut.” This paper is my attempt to investigate what Annabel Chong’s dissent means for feminism: Is Annabel Chong the quintessential feminist, defying an oppressive system, asserting her individuality, redefining the parameters of a gender-determined sexuality? Or is she a victim of her own misguided ideals, objectifying herself in the belief that this affirms her subjectivity, submitting herself to domination to reclaim control, eventually propagating the same oppressive system she professes to end? I want to approach this inquiry using Foucault’s framework of power-discourse-sexuality for two reasons: First, I believe that Foucault’s genealogy of sexuality successfully exploits how sexuality as a discursive construct is used as a technique of control; Second, I believe that Foucault provides us a way of understanding how an individual responds to various systems of control, as well as a framework that explains the many power relations that determine an individual’s mode of existence. However, since in effect, I would be presenting a Foucauldian analysis of the gendered experience of a feminist subject, I find it necessary to first overcome what I consider as theoretical barriers, alluding to the ongoing debate concerning the usefulness of Foucault’s framework for feminists. To address this issue, I will present a brief survey of the criticisms directed to the inadequacy of Foucault’s theory of the subject posed by some notable feminists, as well as the proposed resolutions to them. This also establishes the framework on which I ground my inquiry. My contention is that to some extent these criticisms have already been resolved, and that it is now possible to present an analysis of the gendered experience of the feminist subject using a Foucauldian framework.



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Mark Anthony Dacela
De La Salle University

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