Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Class Notes of 24 Feb 2014 (1324155)
Shyam Nair of I MA gave a summary of the essay The Sex Which Is Not One by Luce Irigaray. In her essay she constructs female and male sexuality and desire. He began by attempting to familiarise the class with the terms sex, penis and vagina.
The first topic was "construction of female through male language". Here, he talked about how male and female are seen by the society according to Irigaray. Since the earliest of times, presence of something has always been given more importance compared to the "absence" of something. Presence meant something positive, while absence was considered a bad thing. Penis, according to Irigaray has a proper defined visual form - hence it is "present". Vagina on the other hand does not have a clear form, hence it is "absent". Vagina becomes the passive entity, where the active penis is inserted. Therefore men assume the superior role when it comes to both the sexes. The woman becomes the lack, or the inferior one.
Then he spoke about the "penis envy". It refers to the theory of the female during her development when she realises she does not have a penis. Irigaray says that maybe it is at this point where the female begins distancing from her mother and gets closer to her father. She also attempts to get over the penis envy by conceiving a penis, or a male child.
Then the concept of autoeroticism was discussed. Woman are autoerotic since she does not require an external tool to pleasure herself, unlike man. The lips of the vagina are indefinitely in contact with each other, constantly rubbing against each other, pleasuring the woman. This according to Irigaray is the female sexuality.
He also spoke about the western sexual imaginary. The highly sexual is seen as the one with the hardest and largest erection, which is nothing but the male sexuality. Woman sexuality is absent or not seen by the society, and becomes a mere prop for the male genitals. When woman fulfils male desire, we are negating the womans desire, hence her sex is "none".