Friday, May 27, 2005

Turned over to the words of men

I admit to be rather poorly read and largely disinterested in psychoanalytic theory, but I really dig the work of Luce Irigaray. In This Sex Which is Not One Irigaray troubles that idea that woman can be best understood in relation to man (i.e. women without penises are nothing) and argues that if female desire is always located with the male, then so too is her pleasure. "Thus, women don't define their own sexuality, desire, or pleasure." As a woman, I have to say that doesn't sound very appealing but neither does it seem entirely accurate.

Indeed, Irigaray positions female pleasure as distinctly 'other' and as auto-erotic, where we always already touch ourselves:

"A woman 'touches herself' constantly without anyone being able to forbid her do so, for her sex is composed of two lips which embrace continually. Thus, with herself she is already two - but not divisible into ones - which stimulate each other."

And she goes on to say that women have distinct and recursive language patterns that allow us to play more with words and selves. Very seductive thinking.

And so I wonder how it applies to other 'objects'. If we allow technological practice to be captured or "turned over to the words of men", do our devices stand to lose their voluptuousness, their multiplicity, their mobility?


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