Sneha Susan John
Luce Irigaray is a well-known writer in contemporary French feminism and philosophy. Her writing usually deals between philosophy, psychoanalysis, and linguistics. She critiques the rejection of women from both philosophy and psychoanalytic theory and projects women sexuality which is not one. She speaks of language and science that are built by a phallocentric society and thereby critiques their notions.
“The sex which is not one” is a text dealing with violation of the woman’s body but it can also be looked at as describing the woman’s body in a way in which most women have not understood. She has given a critical approach to the traditional ideas of sexuality. According to the patriarchal society’s perception, the women’s sexual organs are considered a lack of the penis and the vagaina in no way over power the male organs. Women’s sexuality according to norms has been that which receives a man’s desires.
Irigaray projects the idea of female sexuality that contradicts general patriarchal ideas. She discusses autoeroticism, where a woman derives satisfaction through natural means where she does not need external objects to do so.
“This autoeroticism is disrupted by a violent break-in: the brutal separation of the two lips by a violating penis, an intrusion that that distracts and deflects the woman …. “
Irigaray points out that when there is a sexual act through penetration of the male into female vagaina, there is a destruction of female sexuality. The idea here seems to provoke lesbianism as the separation of the vagaina by a penis is considered a violent break-in, something that exploits the sexuality of women.
The essay contradicts the idea that female sexuality is one that complements the male desires. She critiques the thought of Freud and Lacan who discusses womanhood as the significance of the difference between male and female sex organs and also the experience of erotic desire in men and women. She also discusses the linguistic character of sexual difference like Lacan and intensely disagrees with his depiction of the Symbolic order as historical and static.
A part of the title, not one brings out the plurality of sexuality in a woman. She deals with Freud’s understanding of the female sexuality which is considered a lack or none. She brings out the plurality of sexuality saying that the women have sex organs almost everywhere and breaks down the general notion of the lack. Irigaray makes it a point to bring out the feminine sexuality by presenting the body and eliminating the phallocentric perceptions of sexuality.