The condom, gender and sexualdifference
The previous chapter showed how theories of porn have inadvertently naturalised the male body and heterosexuality as primary
and authentic. This chapter shows how in the context of AIDS
sociologists and social theorists have similarly produced a naturalisation of the male body and male heterosexuality in their
interpretation of the condom in the context of AIDS.
Since the early 1990s a major concern in empirical studies and
analyses of heterosex has been and continues to be why heterosexual men do not wear condoms. In
What did it mean to be a woman and a painter at the heart of abstract gestural painting in New York during the 1950s, if the iconic artist of that decade was Jackson Pollock, and the icon of Woman was Marilyn Monroe? Elaborating and explaining the relevance of theories of psycho-symbolic formations of sexual difference and their inscription in artistic practice, this book explores the 1950s triangulation Pollock–Monroe–Krasner, analysing how two painters of the two generations New York abstract artists, Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler, negotiated this paradox artistically. Differencing a masculinized canon of Abstract Expressionism defiantly disseminated in recent blockbuster exhibitions, Pollock argues for a theoretically rich feminist reading of gestural abstract painting that centred the psycho-sexual body through gesture. She argues for a resonance with the cultural antithesis of New York gestural painting – its popular other – in the performance work of Marilyn Monroe, which exceeded the star’s iconic image of white sexuality. Igniting a still-urgent debate about difference, artmaking and artwriting, Pollock presents a transdisciplinary feminist intervention in the context of blockbuster exhibitions such as Abstract Expressionism (London and Bilbao, 2016–17) – which omitted almost entirely that school’s women members – and the women-only Women in Abstract Expressionism (USA 2018), Making Space: Women in Postwar Abstraction (New York, MoMA, 2018) and Women in Abstraction (Paris and Bilbao, 2021–22). as well as solo ‘rediscovery’ shows – Lee Krasner: Living Colour (London and Bilboa, 2019–20) and Helen Frankenthaler (Venice, 2019).
This book explores the work of Luce Irigaray, one of the most influential and controversial figures in feminist thought—although Irigaray herself disclaims the term ‘feminism’. Irigaray's work stands at the intersection of contemporary debates concerned with culture, gender and religion, but her ideas have not yet been presented in a comprehensive way from the perspective of religious studies. The book examines the development of religious themes from Irigaray's initial work, Speculum of the Other Woman, in which she rejects traditional forms of western religions, to her more recent explorations of eastern religions. Irigaray's ideas on love, the divine, an ethics of sexual difference and normative heterosexuality are analysed. These analyses are placed in the context of the reception of Irigaray's work by secular feminists such as Judith Butler, Drucilla Cornell and Elizabeth Grosz, as well as by feminists in religious studies such as Pamela Sue Anderson, Ellen Armour, Amy Hollywood and Grace Jantzen. Most of these thinkers reject Irigaray's proposals for women's adoption of gender-specific qualities as a form of gender essentialism. Finally, Irigaray's own spiritual path, which has been influenced by eastern religions, specifically the disciplines of yoga and tantra in Hinduism and Buddhism, is evaluated in the light of recent theoretical developments in orientalism and postcolonialism.
The Face of the Star in Neorealisms Urban Landscape
Although Europa 51 (1952) was the most commercially successful of the films Roberto
Rossellini made with the Hollywood star, Ingrid Bergman, the reception by the Italian
press was largely negative. Many critics focussed on what they saw to be the ‘unreal’
or abstract quality of the films portrayal of the postwar urban milieu and on the
Bergman character‘s isolation from the social world. This article looks at how
certain structures of seeing that are associated in the classical style with the
woman as star or spectacle - e.g., the repetitious return to her fixed image, the
resistance to pulling back from the figure of the woman in order to situate her
within a determinate location and set of relationships between characters and objects
- are no longer restricted to her image but in fact bleed into or “contaminate” the
depiction of the world she inhabits. In other words, whereas the compulsive return to
the fixed image of the woman tends to be contained or neutralised by the narrative
economy and editing patterns (ordered by sexual difference) of the classical style,
in Rossellini‘s work this ‘insistent’ even aberrant framing in relation to the woman
becomes a part of the (female) characters and the cameras vision of the ‘pathology’
of the urban landscape in the aftermath of the war.
The recognition of a female subject is relatively recent in Western philosophy, through Western intellectual history, it has been assumed to be normatively male. This book provides the first English commentary on Luce Irigaray's poetic text, Elemental Passions, setting it within its context within continental thought. It explores Irigaray's images and intentions, developing the gender drama that takes place within her book, and draws the reader into the conversation in the text between 'I-woman' and 'you-man'. In Irigaray's philosophy of sexual difference love is of ultimate significance for the development and mutual relationship of two subjects. The book explains how the lack of a subject position for women is related to the emergence of rigid binaries, and catches a hint of how subversive attention to fluidity is to the masculinist pattern. This emphasis on desire and sexual difference obviously intersects with the psychoanalytic theories of S. Freud and J. Lacan, theories which had enormous impact on French philosophers of the time. Irigaray has used vivid imagery from the very beginning of her writings. A few of her images, in particular that of the lips, have become famous in feminist writings. The development of mutually affirming sexual subjects, different but not oppositional, and thereby the destabilizing of traditional binary categories of oppositional logic, is simultaneously highly innovative and has far-reaching consequences. The book presents a critique of Irigaray's methods and contentions to critical scrutiny, revisiting the idea of fluidity in relation to logic.
The concept of 'margins' denotes geographical, economic, demographic, cultural and political positioning in relation to a perceived centre. This book aims to question the term 'marginal' itself, to hear the voices talking 'across' borders and not only to or through an English centre. The first part of the book examines debates on the political and poetic choice of language, drawing attention to significant differences between the Irish and Scottish strategies. It includes a discussion of the complicated dynamic of woman and nation by Aileen Christianson, which explores the work of twentieth-century Scottish and Irish women writers. The book also explores masculinities in both English and Scottish writing from Berthold Schoene, which deploys sexual difference as a means of testing postcolonial theorizing. A different perspective on the notion of marginality is offered by addressing 'Englishness' in relation to 'migrant' writing in prose concerned with India and England after Independence. The second part of the book focuses on a wide range of new poetry to question simplified margin/centre relations. It discusses a historicising perspective on the work of cultural studies and its responses to the relationship between ethnicity and second-generation Irish musicians from Sean Campbell. The comparison of contemporary Irish and Scottish fiction which identifies similarities and differences in recent developments is also considered. In each instance the writers take on the task of examining and assessing points of connection and diversity across a particular body of work, while moving away from contrasts which focus on an English 'norm'.
’ work have long taken up her concern with
sexualdifference, for in some sense this has been the favoured interpretative position particularly in North American scholarship, few have recognised the intimate
relationship between these concerns and her tendency to work through them via
a lexicon of religious signification. Although her recent writing seems to indicate
that her religious imaginary has extended to include Eastern religions, Buddhism
being the most obvious example, most of her religious allusions continue to derive
either from the mythic traditions of
modality of differentiation, negativity is not eradicated but
reformulated by Irigaray, so that recognition is understood as a positive
affirmation of an other, rather than an appropriation. Then, according to Irigaray,
women, as no longer abstract and disembodied ciphers in a system not of their
own devising, can become both initiators and partners in a revised model of
relationship that incorporates a positive mode of sexualdifference. This
affirmation does not come at the cost of negating the other. Women attain the
universal in their own right, but not in a dominant
before the public by art historians and museums, we demand more than token
acquisitions and belated, partial integrations. Feminist, postcolonial and queer readings
enrich the histories of art, and we learn to see ourselves and art’s histories in
complexity and diversity.
This book analyses questions of painting and sexualdifference, knowingly
threading theory into reading artworks. I make the case for feminist theory so that that the
richness of art’s histories can be saved from bland banality, hero-worship and
Conclusion: a world of difference
In this concluding chapter of the book, my intention is to evaluate the impact of
the principal elements of Irigaray’s work that are concerned with women and
religion. Before I do this, however, I will undertake a survey of the way that
Irigaray has influenced certain women philosophers, both religious and secular,
and their responses to her work. Irigaray’s work, particularly those explorations
concerned with sexualdifference, has been the subject of diverse reactions – both
complimentary and unsympathetic. Her