The Eternal Irony Of The Community

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This femininity, the eternal irony of the community.


Femininity as a principle of uncertainty.

It causes the sexual poles to waver. It is not the pole opposed to masculinity, but what abolishes the differential opposition, and thus sexuality itself, as incarnated historically in the masculine phallocracy, as it might be incarnated in the future in a female phallocracy.

If femininity is a principle of uncertainty, it is where it is itself uncertain that this uncertainty will be greatest: in the play of femininity.

Transvestism. Neither homosexuals nor transexuals, transves-tites like to play with the indistinctness of the sexes. The spell they cast, over themselves as well as others, is born of sexual vacillation and not, as is customary, the attraction of one sex for the other. They do not really like male men or female women, nor those who define themselves, redundantly, as distinct sexual beings. In order for sex to exist, signs must reduplicate biological being. Here the signs are separated from biology, and consequently the sexes no longer exist properly speaking. What transvestites love is this game of signs, what excites them is to seduce the signs themselves. With them everything is makeup, theater, and seduction. They appear obsessed with games of sex, but they are obsessed, first of all, with play itself; and if their lives appear more sexually endowed than our own, it is because they make sex into a total, gestural, sensual, and ritual game, an exalted but ironic invocation.

Nico seemed so beautiful only because her femininity appeared so completely put on. She emanated something more than beauty, something more sublime, a different seduction. And there was deception: she was a false drag queen, a real woman, in fact, playing the queen. It is easier for a non-female/female than for a real woman, already legitimated by her sex, to move amongst the signs and take seduction to the limit. Only the non-female/female can exercise an untainted fascination, because s/he is more seductive than sexual. The fascination is lost when the real sex shows through; to be sure, some other desire may find something here, but precisely no longer in that perfection that belongs to artifice alone.

Seduction is always more singular and sublime than sex, and it commands the higher price.

One must not seek to ground transvestism in bisexuality. For the sexes and sexual dispositions, whether mixed or ambivalent, indefinite or inverted, are still real, and still bear witness to the psychic reality of sex. Here, however, it is this very definition of the sexual that is eclipsed. Not that this game is perverse. What is perverse is what perverts the order of the terms; but here there are no longer any terms to pervert, only signs to seduce.

Nor should one seek to ground transvestism in the unconscious or in "latent homosexuality." The old casuistry of latency is itself a product of the sexual imaginary of surfaces and depths, and always implies a diagnosis of symptoms and prognosis for their correction. But here nothing is latent, everything calls into question the very idea of a secret, determinate instance of sex, the idea that the deep play of phantasies controls the superficial play of signs. On the contrary, everything is played out in the vertigo of this inversion, this transsubstantiation of sex into signs that is the secret of all seduction.

Perhaps the transvestite's ability to seduce comes straight from parody - a parody of sex by its over-signification. The prostitution of transvestites would then have a different meaning from the more common prostitution of women. It would be closer to the sacred prostitution practiced by the Ancients (or the sacred status of the hermaphrodite). It would be contiguous with the theater, or with makeup, the ritual and burlesque ostentation of a sex whose own pleasure is absent.

The seduction itself is coupled with a parody in which an implacable hostility to the feminine shows through, and which might be interpreted as a male appropriation of the panoply of female allurements. The transvestite would then reproduce the situation of the first warrior - he alone was seductive - the woman being nul (consider fascism, and its affinity for transvestites). But rather than the addition of the sexes is not this their invalidation? And doesn't the masculine, in this mockery of femininity, rescind its status and prerogratives in order to become a contrapuntal element in a ritual game?

In any case, this parody of femininity is not quite as acerbic as one might think, since it is the parody of femininity as men-imagine and stage it, as well as phantasize it. A femininity exaggerated, degraded, parodied (drag queens in Barcelona keep their moustaches and expose their hairy chests), the claim is that in this society femininity is naught but the signs with which men rig it up. To over-simulate femininity is to suggest that woman is but a masculine model of simulation. Here is a challenge to the female model by way of a female game, a challenge to the female/woman by way of the female/sign. And it is possible that this living, feigned denunciation, which plays on the furthermost bounds of artifice, and simultaneously plays with the mechanisms of femininity to the point of perfection, is more lucid and radical than all the ideo-political claims of a femininity "alienated in its being." Here femininity is said to have no being (no nature, writing, singular pleasures or, as Freud said, particularized libido). Contrary to every search for an authentic femininity, for a woman's speech, etc., the claim here is that the female is nothing, and that this is her strength.

Here is a more subtle response than feminism's outright denial of the law of castration. For the latter encounters symbolic, not anatomical fate, one that weighs on all possible sexuality. The overturning of this law, therefore, can only result from its parod-ic resolution, from the ex-centricity of the signs of femininity, the reduplication of signs that puts an end to every insoluble biology, or metaphysics of the sexes. Makeup is nothing else: a triumphant parody, a solution by excess, the surface hypersimulation of this in-depth simulation that is itself the symbolic law of castration - a transsexual game of seduction.

The irony of artificial practices: the peculiar ability of the painted woman or prostitute to exaggerate her features, to turn them into more than a sign, and by this usage of, not the false as opposed to the true, but the more false than false, to incarnate the peaks of sexuality while simultaneously being absorbed in their simulation. The irony proper to the constitution of woman as idol or sex object: in her closed perfection, she puts an end to sex play and refers man, the lord and master of sexual reality, to his transparency as an imaginary subject. The ironic power of the object, then, which she loses when promoted to the status of a subject.

All masculine power is a power to produce. All that is produced, be it the production of woman as female, falls within the register of masculine power. The only, and irresistible, power of femininity is the inverse power of seduction. In itself it is nul, seduction has no power of its own, only that of an-nuling the power of production. But it always annuls the latter.

Has there, moreover, ever been a phallic power? This entire history of patriarchal domination, of phallocracy, the immemorial male privilege, is perhaps only a story. Beginning with the exchange of women in primitive societies, stupidly interpreted as the first stage of woman-as-object. All that we have been asked to believe - the universal discourse on the inequality of the sexes, the theme song of an egalitarian and revolutionary modernity (reinforced, these days, with all the energies of a failed revolution) - is perhaps one gigantic misunderstanding. The opposite hypothesis is just as plausible and, from a certain perspective, more interesting - that is, that the feminine has never been dominated, but has always been dominant. The feminine considered not as a sex, but as the form transversal to every sex, as well as to every power, as the secret, virulent form of in-sexuality. The feminine as a challenge whose devastation can be experienced today throughout the entire expanse of sexuality. And hasn't this challenge, which is also that of seduction, always been triumphant?

In this sense, the masculine has always been but a residual, secondary and fragile formation, one that must1 be defended by retrenchments, institutions, and artifices. The phallic fortress offers all the signs of a fortress, that is to say,( of weakness. It can defend itself only from the ramparts of a manifest sexuality, of a finality of sex that exhausts itself in reproduction, or in the orgasm.

One can hypothesize that the feminine is the only sex, and that the masculine only exists by a superhuman effort to leave it. A moment's distraction, and one falls back into the feminine. The feminine would have a decisive advantage, the masculine a definite handicap. One sees how ridiculous it is to want to "liberate" the one in order that it accede to the fragility of the other's "power," to the eccentric, paradoxical, paranoid and tiresome masculine state.

The phallic fable reversed: where woman is created from man by subtraction, here it is man created from woman by exception. A fable easily strengthened by Bettleheim's analysis in Symbolic Wounds, where men are said to have erected their powers and institutions in order to thwart the originally far superior powers of women. The driving force is not penis envy, but on the contrary, man's jealousy of woman's power of fertilization. This female advantage could not be atoned; a different order had to be built at all costs, a masculine social, political and economic order, wherein this advantage could be reduced. Thus the ritual practices whereby the signs of the opposite sex are appropriated are largely masculine: scarifications, mutilations, artificial vaginizations, couvades, etc.

All this is as convincing as a paradoxical hypothesis can be (and it is always more interesting than the received wisdom), but in the end it only reverses the terms, and so turns the feminine into an original substance, a sort of anthropological infrastructure. It reverses the anatomical determination, but lets it subsist as destiny - and once again the "irony of femininity" is lost.

The irony is lost when the feminine is instituted as a sex, even and above all when it is in order to denounce its oppression. It is the eternal illusion of enlightenment humanism, which aspires to liberate the servile sex, race or class in the very terms of its servitude. That the feminine becomes a sex in its own right! An absurdity, if posed in neither the terms of sex nor power.

The feminine knows neither equivalence nor value: it is, therefore, not soluble in power. It is not even subversive, it is reversible. Power, on the other hand, is soluble in the reversibility of the feminine. If the "facts" cannot decide whether it was the masculine or feminine that was dominant throughout the ages (once again, the thesis of women's oppression is based on a caricatural phallocratic myth), by contrast, it remains clear that in matters of sexuality, the reversible form prevails over the linear form. The excluded form prevails, secretly, over the dominant form. The seductive form prevails over the productive form.

Femininity in this sense is on the same side as madness. It is because madness secretly prevails that it must be normalized (thanks to, amongst other things, the hypothesis of the unconscious). It is because femininity secretly prevails that it must be recycled and normalized (in sexual liberation in particular).

And in the orgasm.

The despoilment of the orgasm, the absence of sexual pleasure, is often advanced as characteristic of women's oppression. A flagrant injustice whose immediate rectification everyone must pursue in accord with the injunctions of a sort of long-distance race or sex rally. Sexual pleasure has become a requisite and a fundamental right. The most recent of the rights of man, it has acceded to the dignity of a categorical imperative. It is immoral to act otherwise. But this imperative does not even have the Kantian charm of endless finalities. As the management and self-management of desire, its imposition does not, no more than that of the law, allow ignorance as a defense.

But this is to remain unaware that sexual pleasure too is rever sible, that is to say that, in the absence or denial of the orgasm, superior intensity is possible. It is here, where the end of sex becomes aleatory again, that something arises that can be called seduction or delight. Or again, sexual pleasure can be just a pretext for another, more exciting, more passionate game. This is what occurred in The Empire of the Senses, where the aim was to push sexual pleasure to its limit and beyond - a challenge that prevails over the workings of desire, because it is much more dizzying, because it involves the passions while the other implies only a drive.

But this vertigo can be equally present in the rejection of sexual pleasure. Who knows if women, far from being "despoiled," have not, from time immemorial, been playing a game of their own by triumphantly asserting a right to sexual reticence? If they have not, from the depths of their sexual impossibility, been throwing down a challenge, challenging men's pleasure to be but the pleasure of men alone? No one knows to what destructive depths such provocation can go, nor what omnipotence it implies. Men, reduced to solitary pleasures, and enmeshed within the directives of delight and conquest, never did find a way out.

Who won this game with its different strategies? Men, apparently, all down the line. But it is by no means certain that they did not lose themselves in this terrain and become bogged down (as in that of the seizure of power) consequent to a sort of forward flight that could neither assure them of safety, nor relieve them of their secret despair at what had escaped them - whatever their gains or calculations. This had to end: it was imperative that women have orgasms. Measures had to be taken to liberate them and make them climax - thereby ending this unbearable challenge that ultimately nullifies sexual pleasure in a possible strategy of non-pleasure. For sexual pleasure knows no strategy: it is only energy seeking an outlet. It is therefore quite inferior to any strategy that uses it as its material, and uses desire itself as a tactical element. This is the central theme of the libertine sexuality of the eighteenth century, from Laclos to Casanova and Sade (including Kierkegaard in Diary of the Seducer), for whom sexuality still retains its ceremonial, ritual and strategic character, before sinking, with the Rights of Man and psychology, into the revealed truth of sex.

Here then is the era of the pill when sexual pleasure is decreed. The end of the right to sexual reticence. Women must realize that they are being dispossessed of something essential for them to put up so much resistance (all those ghosts of "missed" acts) to the "rational" adoption of the pill. The same resistance as that of entire generations to school, medicine, security and work. The same profound intuition about the ravages of an unfettered liberty, speech or pleasure. Defiance, the other's defiance, is no longer possible: all symbolic logic has been eliminated to the advantage of a permanent erection and its blackmail (without counting the tendencious lowering of the rate of sexual pleasure itself).

The "traditional" woman's sexuality was neither repressed nor forbidden. Within her role she was entirely herself; she was in no way defeated, nor passive, nor did she dream of her future "liberation." It is the beautiful souls who, retrospectively, see women as alienated from time immemorial, and then liberated. And there is a profound disdain in this vision, the same disdain as that shown towards the "alienated" masses supposedly incapable of being anything but mystified sheep.

It is easy to paint a picture of woman alienated through the ages, and then open the doors of desire for her under the auspices of the revolution and psychoanalysis. It is all so simple, so obscene in its simplicity - worse, it implies the very essence of sexism and racism: commiseration.

Fortunately, the female has never fit this image. She has always had her own strategy, the unremitting, winning strategy of challenge (one of whose major forms is seduction). There is no need to lament the wrongs she suffered, nor to want to rectify them. No need to play the lover of justice for the weaker sex. No need to mortgage everything for some liberation or desire whose secret had to wait till the twentieth century to be revealed. At each moment of the story the game was played with a full deck, with all the cards, including the trumps. And men did not win, not at all. On the contrary, it is women who are now about to lose, precisely under the sign of sexual pleas-

ure - but this is another story. <

It is the story of the feminine in the present tense, in a culture that produces everything, makes everything speak, everything babble, everything climax. The promotion of the female as a sex in its own right (equal rights, equal pleasures), of the female as value - at the expense of the female as a principle of uncertainty. All sexual liberation lies in this strategy: the imposition of the rights, status and pleasure of women. The overexposing and staging of the female as sex, and of the orgasm as the repeated proof of sex.

Pornography states this clearly. A trilogy of spread, sensualism and signification, pornography promotes female sexual pleasure in so exaggerated a manner, only in order to better bury the uncertainty that hovers over the "black continent." No more of that "eternal irony of the community" of which Hegel spoke. Henceforth women will climax, and will know why. All femininity will be made visible - woman as emblematic of orgasm, and orgasm as emblematic of sexuality. No more uncertainty, no more secrets. This is the radical obscenity that is beginning.

Pasolini's Salo, or a 120 Days - a veritable twilight of seduction. All reversibility has been abolished in accordance with an implacable logic. Everything is irreversibly masculine and dead. Even the complicity, the promiscuity between executioners and victims has disappeared: inanimate torture, perpetrated without emotion, a cold machination. (Here one perceives that sexual gratification is truly the industrial usufruct of the body, and the opposite of all seduction: it is a product of extraction, a technological product of a machinery of bodies, a logistics of pleasure which goes straight to its objective, only to find its object dead).

The film illustrates the truth that in a dominant masculine system, and in every dominant system (which thereby becomes masculine), it is femininity that incarnates reversibility, the possibility of play and symbolic involvement. Salo is a universe completely sanitized of that minimum of seduction that provides the stakes not just of sex, but of every relation, including death and the exchange of death (this is expressed in Salo, as in Sade, by the predominance of sodomy). It is here that it becomes apparent that the feminine is not a sex (opposed to the other), but what counters the sex that alone has full rights and the full exercise of these rights, the sex that holds a monopoly on sex: the masculine, itself haunted by the fear of something other, of which sex is but the disenchanted form -, seduction. The latter is a game, sex is a function. Seduction supposes a ritual order, sex and desire a natural order. It is these two fundamental forms that confront each other in the male and female, and not some biological difference or some naive rivalry of power.

The feminine is not just seduction; it also suggests a challenge to the male to be the sex, to monopolize sex and sexual pleasure, a challenge to go to the limits of its hegemony and exercise it unto death. Today phallocracy is collapsing under the pressure of this challenge (present throughout our culture's sexual history), and its inability to meet it. Our entire conception of sexuality may be collapsing because constructed around the phallic function and the positive definition of sex. Every positive form can accommodate itself to its negative form, but understands the challenge of the reversible form as mortal. Every structure can adapt to its subversion or inversion, but not to the reversion of its terms. Seduction is this reversible form.

Not the seduction to which women have been historically consigned: the culture of the gynaeceum, of rouge and lace, a seduction reworked by the mirror stage and the female imaginary, the terrain of sex games and ruses (though here lies the only bodily ritual of western culture left, all the others having disappeared, including politeness). But seduction as an ironic, alternative form, one that breaks the referentiality of sex and provides a space, not of desire, but of play and defiance.

This is what occurs in the most banal games of seduction: I shy away; it is not you who will give me pleasure, it is I who will make you play, and thereby rob you of your pleasure. A game in continuous movement - one cannot assume that sex-ualstrategies alone are involved. There is, above ¡all, a strategy of displacement (se-ducere: to take aside, to divert from one's path) that implies a distortion of sex's truth. To play is not to take pleasure. Seduction, as a passion and as a game at the level of the sign, acquires a certain sovereignty; it is seduction that prevails in the long term because it implies a reversible, indeterminate order. i

The glamour of seduction is quite superior to; the Christian consolation of the pleasures of the flesh. One wants us to consider the latter a natural finality— and many are driven mad for failing to attain it. But love has nothing to do with sex drives, if not in the libidinal look of our contemporary! culture. Love is a challenge and a prize: a challenge to the other to return the love. And to be seduced is to challenge the other to be seduced in turn (there is no finer argument than to accuse a woman of being incapable of being seduced). Perversion, from this perspective takes on a somewhat different meaning: it is to pretend to be seduced without being seduced, without being capable of being seduced.

The law of seduction takes the form of an uninterrupted ritual exchange where seducer and seduced constantly raise the stakes in a game that never ends. And cannot end since the dividing line that defines the victory of the one and the defeat of the other, is illegible. And because there is no limit to, the challenge to love more than one is loved, or to be always more seduced - if not death. Sex, on the other hand, has a quick, banal end: the orgasm, the immediate form of desire's realization.

In analysis, one can see the extreme danger that may be incurred by a man who begins to listen to a woman's demand for sexual pleasure. If, through her desire, a woman alters the unaltera-bility within which a man cannot help but enclose her, if she herself becomes an immediate and limitless demand, if she no longer remains within this enclosure and is no longer held by it, the man finds himself cast into a subsuicidal state. A demand that tolerates no delay, no excuse, that is limitless with regard to intensity and duration, shatters the absolute represented by woman, by feminine sexuality, and even by feminine pleasure. ...Feminine sexual pleasure can always be rendered divine again, and thus controlled, reduced to the coolness of marble breasts, whereas the demand for enjoyment made by a woman to the man who is bound to her without being able to flee, causes him to lose his bearings and the feeling of pure contingency When all desire is channelled into the demand for enjoyment, the world turns upside down and bursts asunder. This is doubtless why our culture has taught women to demand nothing in order to induce them to desire nothing...1

And this "desire, all of which is channelled into the demand for enjoyment"? Does it still concern woman's "desire"? Isn't this a form of madness, which has but little to do with "liberation"? What is this new, feminine figure of unlimited sexual demand, an unlimited claim to sexual gratification? This, in effect, is the end point to which our culture is rushing - and Roustang is right, it conceals a form of subsuicidal collective violence. And not just for men, but for women too, and for sexuality in general.

We say no to those who love only women; those who love only men; those who love only children (there are also the elderly, sados, machos, dogs, cats)... The new militant, with his refined egocen-tricism, claims a right to his sexual racism. But we say no to all sectarianism. If one must become a misogynist to be a pederast, an androphobe to be

1. François Roustang, Dire Mastery (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1982), pp. 104-5.

a lesbian, ...if one must reject the pleasures of the night, chance encounters, and pick-ups in order to defend oneself against rape, then in the name of a struggle against certain prohibitions, one has returned to other taboos, moralisms, norms, blinkers...

Within our body we experience not one sex, not two, but a multitude of sexes. We do not see a man, or woman, but a human being, anthropomorph-ic(!)... Our bodies are tired of all the stereotyped cultural barriers, all the physiological segregation... We are male and female, adults and children, fairies, dykes, and gays, fuckers and fucked, buggers and buggered. We do not accept the reduction of all our sexual richness to a single sex. Our sapphism is only one facet of our sexuality. We refuse to limit ourselves to what society demands of us, that is, that we be either hetero, lesbian, gay the whole gamut of promotional products. We are unreasonable in all our desires.

Judith Belladonna Barbara Penton Libé, July 1978

The frenzy of unlimited sex, an exacerbated ventilation of desire onto demand and gratification - doesn't this constitute a reversal of what Roustang described: if until now women were taught to demand nothing in order that they desired nothing, are they not now being taught to demand everything in order to desire nothing? The entire black continent decoded by sexual gratification?

Masculinity would be closer to the Law, femininity closer to sexual pleasure. But is not such pleasure the axiomatics of a decoded sexual universe - the feminine and liberating reference produced by the gradual enfeeblement of the Law, the Law becoming an injunction to pleasure after having been its interdiction. An effect of simulation inverted: it is when pleasure seeks openly to be autonomous, that it is truly a product of the Law. Or else the Law collapses, and where the Law disappears, pleasure is inaugurated as a new contract. What does it matter: nothing has changed, and the inversion of signs is but a consequence of strategy. This is the significance of the present turnaround, and of the twin privileging of the feminine and pleasure over the masculine and prohibition that once dominated sexual reason. The exaltation of the feminine is a perfect instrument for the unprecedented generalization and controlled extension of sexual Reason.

An unexpected fate, one that cuts short all the illusions of desire and all the rationalizations of liberation. Marcuse:

What within a patriarchal system appears as the feminine antithesis of masculine values would then truly constitute a repressed social and historical alternative - the socialist alternative... To do away with patriarchal society is to deny all the particular qualities attributed to women as women, and thus to extend these qualities to all sectors of social life, to work and leisure alike. Women's liberation would then be, simultaneously, the liberation of men...

Suppose the feminine liberated and placed at the service of a new collective Eros (the same modus operandi as for the death drive - the same dialectic aligned with the new social Eros). But what happens if the feminine, far from being a set of specific qualities (which it may have been when repressed, but only then), proves, once "liberated," to be the expression of an erotic indétermination, and of the loss of any specific qualities, as much in the social as the sexual sphere?

The situation of the feminine was quite ironic in seduction, and is just as ironic today in its indétermination and equivocation; for its promotion as subject is accompanied by its return as object, that is to say, as generalized pornography. A strange coincidence. Women's liberation would very much like to cast the deciding vote against this objectification. But the cause is hopeless, for the significance of the liberation of the feminine lies in its radical ambiguity. Even Roustang's text, which tends to support the flood of female demands, cannot but have a presentiment of the catastrophe that the channelling of all desire into the demand for gratification constitutes. Unless one considers the subsuicidal state of men provoked by this demand as a decisive argument, there is nothing that lets one distinguish the monstrosity of this demand for female gratification from the monstrosity of its total interdiction in years past.

A similar ambiguity can be found in the male and his weakness. The panic men feel when faced with the "liberated" female subject is equalled only by their fragility before the pornographic chasm of the "alienated" female sex, the female sex object. Whether a woman demands sexual satisfaction "by becoming conscious of the rationality of her desire," or offers herself in a state of total prostitution - whether the female be subject or object, liberated or prostituted, her sex is to be devouring, a gaping voracity. It is no accident that all pornography turns around the female sex. This is because erections are never certain (no scenes of impotence in pornography, they are averted by the hallucination of unrestrained feminine supply): In a sexuality made problematic by demands to prove and demonstrate itself without discontinuity, the marked position, the masculine position, will be fragile. By contrast, the female sex remains equal to itself in its availability, in its chasm, its degree zero. The continuity of female sexuality, as opposed to male intermittency, is enough to ensure its superiority at the level of the organic representation of sexual pleasure, the representation of endless sex that has come to dominate our fantasies.

Sexual liberation, like that of the productive forces, is potentially limitless. It demands a profusion come true, a "sexually affluent society." It can no more tolerate a scarcity of sexual goods, than of material goods. Now, this Utopian continuity and availability can only be incarnated by the female sex. This is why in this society everything - objects, goods, services, relations of all types - will be feminized, sexualized in a feminine fashion. In advertising it is not so much a matter of adding sex to washing machines (which is absurd) as conferring on objects the imaginary, female quality of being available at will, of never being retractile or aleatory.

In pornography sexuality is lulled by this yawning monoto ny, where flaccid or erectile men play only a nominal role. Hard core has changed nothing: the male is no longer interesting because too determined, too marked - the phallus as canonical signifier - and thus too fragile. Fascination moves towards the neuter, towards an indeterminate chasm, a mobile, diffuse sexuality. The feminine's historical revenge after so many centuries of repression and frigidity? Perhaps, but more likely, the exhaustion of sexuality, whether it be the masculine sexuality that once nourished all the schemes of erectility, verticality, ascendancy, growth, production, etc., and is at present lost in the obsessive simulation of all these themes - or a feminine sexuality, as incarnated from time immemorial in seduction. Today, behind the mechanical objectification of the signs of sex, it is the masculine as fragile, and the feminine as degree zero which have the upper hand.

We are indeed in an original situation as regards sexual violence - violence done to the "subsuicidal" male by unbridled, female sensualism. But it is not a matter of a reversal of the historical violence done to women by male sexual force. The violence involved here is relative to the neutralization, depression and collapse of the marked term before the irruption of the non-marked term. It is not a real, generic violence, but a violence of dissuasion, the violence of the neuter, the violence of the degree zero.

So too is pornography: the violence of sex neutralized.

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