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Judith Butler's "The Lesbian Phallus"

Melissa Katon
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Melissa Katon

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Judith Butler's "The Lesbian Phallus"

Melissa Katon
z3374946 The Lesbian Phallus
& The Morphological Imaginary Where everything is a penis Freud Rewriting the Morphological Imaginary Lacan Judy Chicago
Untitled (Judy Chicago as Feminist Boxer), 1971.
Photograph
Dimensions unknown
Published in Art Forum Magazine. Matter Meaning A: I had a nice lunch today.
B: Blue-eyed or brown eyed? 1. What is the gender of A and B?
2. What sort of relationship is A and B in? What signs did you rely on to derive your answers? Judith Butler 1. Sexuality is complex! 2. Sexuality is variable! } The concept of heteronormativity is problematic and oppressive. It is too simple and doesn't account for
variances in sexual orientation. Heteronormative: denoting or relating to a world view that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation Complex matrices and scenography Schema 1.Björn Dahlem, "The Milky Way," 2007. Freud Lacan Schemas and matrices need to be analysed!
They're too phallogocentric and heteronormative!
The possibility of a lesbian phallus?
A discourse on sexuality that isn't phallogocentric or hetornormative?
... or at least one that isn't restricted by them Introduction SOURCE: http://www.dead-philosophers.com/?p=54 (Also BAMF) & 1 Pain and self discovery 2 Ego development:
knowledge of self and body Morphological understanding
of erotogenous zones on body 3 Butler's Criticisms of Freud 1. Freud is just applying another heteronormative,
phallogocentric schema to sexuality that has its limitations, and we need to deconstruct it But bodies aren't just language or just discursive! They are material! Just look at this hilarious and informative diagrammatic aid! Bodies bear on language all the time. (it is difficult to define) (Not everyone is heterosexual) (If it is not obvious, men cannot breastfeed... yet.) Butler does not deny this. Meaning and matter are in a symbiotic relationship and cannot be separated. 1. In 'On Narcissism' any body part could become erotogenic, because it was a process dependent on real and hypochondriacal pain 2. But Freud recants on this notion in The Ego and the Id, in which he claims that the genitals are the erotogenic zones that confer erotogenic status to other body parts, particularly the penis: all other body parts become subsitutes for the penis 3. Freud conflates the penis with the phallus and claims the phallus cannot be transferred, only mimicked 4. Pain and guilt as the root of all sexuality is also not a fantastic theory as it creates a moralistic schema of guilt around sexuality Matter

Feminine

Emotional

Without the Phallus
(or posited as ‘being’ the phallus,
phallic objects of desire)


Passive Meaning

Masculine

Rational

With the Phallus
(always wanting more phallus and more phallic power and control)

Active Lacan considers the body and morphology as ‘an imaginary formation’ in which ‘unstable dynamics of sexual differentiation and identification that take place through the elaboration of imaginary bodily contours’ occur. Lacan states that ‘…it is this percipi or visual production, the body, can be sustained in its phantasmatic integrity only through submitting to language and to a marking by sexual difference.’ Comedy of Heterosexuality:
those with the phallus have the law, but live in fear of losing it through castration.
The penis itself can never really live up to the phallus, so men are even more anxious and always desire more phallic power.
Conversely, women are posited to ‘be’ the phallus: an object of desire for men.
As men are always trying to get more phallus, they are also trying to get more women, which are phallic objects of desire.
If women are rendered as objects, then those with the phallus can control them Freud and Lacan Lesbian Phallus Butler's Criticism of Lacan Castration fear and penis envy can theoretically occur in any biological sex or morphology, as it is an epistemological process that has been structured through a schema. From this, Butler claims that the phallus is then transferable and is not tied to any specific morphology or body: a woman could have a phallus, or more specifically, a lesbian could have a phallus: the phallus is merely just a theoretical possibility attributed to materiality. These binaries are too restrictive - it is possible for a man to be objectified and pursued by a woman, and that the same pursuer-pursued phallogocentric processes can occur within homosexual and lesbian relationships. By positing the possibility of the Lesbian Phallus, Butler’s conclusion calls for “…a displacement of the hegemonic symbolic of (heterosexist) sexual difference and the critical release of alternative imaginary schemas for constituting sites of erotogenic pleasure,” or to continually analyse and critique the schemas that we live in every day, opening up and creating new discourses on sexuality. 1.Structuralism: There are structural schemas in place in the world around us that tell us how to understand ourselves, ourselves in relation to others, and our environment, which are mostly affixed through language. They mostly rely on a matter/meaning binary.

2.Post-Structuralism: Judith Butler deconstructs these schemas and structures in order to understand how sexuality is understood and perpetrated in society (amongst other schemas and phenomena).

3.Particularly, Butler analyses Freudian and Lacanian theories in order to show that they are androcentric and exclude the possibility of a female perspective and a lesbian phallus, or a discourse on sexuality that is not androcentric, phallogocentric or heteronormative.

4.Through this analysis, Butler wants to show that it is possible for a lesbian phallus to occur, even if it is problematic, in order to further open up possibilities for a discourse that is more inclusive and accurate Conclusion and Questions 1. Do you think that a lesbian phallus is possible?

2. Is a lesbian phallus necessary in order to open up discourse on sexuality that isn't phallogocentric?

3. Do you think that the schemas that inform you about your own sexualities are necessarily androcentric, heteronormative, or phallogocentric? Have things changed since 1993? http://prezi.com/d63yp9jyejem/judith-butlers-the-lesbian-phallus/
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