This aporia is a self-engendered paradox which, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, Ricoeur is not able to go beyond: he cannot name the Other/other (whether l'Autre as a general category for the Other or l'autrui as a term for another person). My contention is that in appropriating Irigaray's questions, we can begin to refigure Ricoeur's account of self-identity, extend his use of 'the trace of the Other' and conceive the non-essential meaning of sexual difference. As it is Ricoeur's account of self-identity seems to eclipse sexual difference in being dependent upon the patriarchal monotheism which has shaped western cultures both socially and economically. Yet according to Irigaray sexual difference will be conceiveable once (i) both men and women can gain identities as subjects, and (ii) the difference between them can be expressed. Arguably Ricoeur's notion of narrative identity, to which I will return, could express this difference and these distinct identities.
Discourse of Sex and the Creation of Docile Bodies Subjection is a process that operates in society, and according to sociologist Michel Foucault, can be applied to a multiplicity of discourses. Foucault explains that the beginning of the nineteenth century marked the age of sexual repression and censorship, which became a time of subjection through exerting disciplinary control over a docile population. In his The Introduction to the History of Sexuality, Foucault explains how the scientification of sex came about. Specifically, it was an attempt to obtain a uniform truth about sex. However, there is no truth to it, but rather it is merely a vehicle for social control.
In the name of a biological and historical urgency, it justified the racisms of the state, which at the time were on the horizon. It grounded them in “truth." (Foucault, 1990, p. 54) Sexuality gained a connection to the truth. This results into the idea that sexuality is a part of identity and a key aspect in understating who we are individual. And all of this is only possible due to the discourse of sexuality, which is determined by social culture and time.
This approach should be of credit to philosopher Jacques Lacan because symbolic order gives the system and signs of convention that determines our perception of what we see as reality. With the exception of ... ... middle of paper ... ...Bodies 10). The very act of saying something about sex ends up imposing cultural or ideological norms, according to Butler. As she puts it, "'sex' becomes something like a fiction, perhaps a fantasy, retroactively installed at a prelinguistic site to which there is no direct access" (Bodies 5).
Gender is rather a fluid term which is tenuous and provisional and that can never be demonstrated once and for all opines Judith Butler. Gender exists only so far as they are performed and re-performed. In a society where sex is seen or understood on terms of the binary, the hermaphrodite, trans sex, the other, the third sex, becomes an aberration. Homo sexual fluidity challenges the traditional heterosexual binaries. It’s interesting to note that Robert J Stoller uses the term ‘gender role’ and ‘gender identity’ in order to indicate ones inner and out life, wherein he contests that the gender role one plays need not necessarily talks about his gender bending.
To have ritual power is not to be male or female, as Ortner suggests, but to take on aspects of the opposite gender, a binary opposition that Butler fails to acknowledge, such that ritual participants transcend gender categories. Thus the ‘gender of power’ is the unified totality of gender signals and powers. Finally, there is the Turnarian implication that the ability to transcend gender roles in ritual space revitalises the extant binary gender of mundane society in much the same way that periodic rituals of anti-structure revitalise society’s mundane social structure.
Freud relegated sexuality to the realm of biology whereas Radical Feminism by critiquing Freud took it out of the interior, private space and juxtaposed it with other institutions to show how it is socially constructed, exposed it’s ‘gendered reality’ and identified Patriarchal structure as the root cause ￼￼￼￼ ￼of it’s hierarchical dimensions. Freud considered sexuality as a sexual drive, an instinct which is present in all human beings since birth, shaping individual behaviour. According to him, everyone is originally bisexual. One’s sexuality goes through different s... ... middle of paper ... ...elations degrade women to the realm of immanence or the ‘inessential other’ involved in the most arduous and mundane tasks of domesticity whereas men posit themselves as the ‘self’ and transcend the cultural inhibitions. Sexuality within patriarchy, hence for radical feminists is not a private matter based on individual choice rather socially constructed and as institutionalising gender disparities.
For example, we are assigned our gender based on physiology at birth, but the gendered identity roles society expects us to adhere to are entirely socially created. Hence, the social expectation of our gendered identities creates a ‘natural attitude’ toward sexuality, one based on hegemonic heterosexuality. It can be deduced that this social context underlining sexuality is so engrained in society that it almost becomes invisible, thus, comes to be seen an ‘innate.’ However, this invisibility is threatened when something comes to violate the ‘natural’ attitude, namely
The creation of meanings centers on the expectations of the roles each sex should fill; society creates cultural norms that perpetuate these creations. Gender blurs the lines between the differences created by nature and those created by society (Gottlieb, 168); gender is the cultural expectations of sexes, with meaning assigned to the diff... ... middle of paper ... ...le or female actually identifies with their prescribed role depends on the socialization process and the way they identify with society’s expectations of them. The social construction of gender and sexuality all rely on the measure that people believe there is a difference between the two sexes, once this emphasis is taken away, is when gender roles will no longer play an integral role in the structure of society. Works Cited Gottlieb, Alma. "Interpreting Gender and Sexuality: Approaches from Cultural Anthropology."
Both Foucault and Butler claim that sexuality is not what makes us who we are, that it is simply a social construct. In addition, they both believe that by submitting to the mechanisms of power and categorizing ourselves sexually, we are giving impetus to our own subjugation. While they hold similar beliefs in many ways, and much of Judith Butler's work is building upon work done by Michael Foucault, Judith Butler does diverge from Foucault's ideas. The reason Butler revises Foucault is that his concept of biopower leaves no room for resistance to power. For Foucault, a shift in the 17th century from a top-down monarchial model of power which focused on the individual gave way to a political technology for controlling entire populations.