ragged discourses

kelley oudies at flash.net
Sun Nov 7 05:58:03 PST 1999

at the top, apologies to carrol for misinterpreting his comments on form. i thought he was attacking steve's criticisms of yoshie's discoursing.

as for the rest:

"This Sex which is Not One" [to be read as metaphor] Luce Irigaray

[W]oman's autoeroticism is very different from man's. He needs an instrument in order to touch himself; his hand, woman's genitals, language--and this self-stimulation requires a minimum of activity. But a woman touches herself by and within herself directly, without mediation, and before any distinction between activity and passivity is possible. A woman "touches herself" constantly without anyone being able to forbid her to do so, for her sex is composed of two lips which embrace continually. Thus, within herself she is already two--but not divisible into ones--who stimulate each other. [...]

Although woman finds pleasure precisely in this incompleteness of the form of her sex organ, which is why it retouches itself indefinitely, her pleasure is denied by a civilization that privileges phallomorphism. The value accorded to the only definable form excludes the form involved in female autoeroticism. The one of the form, the individual sex, proper name, literal meaning supercedes, by spreading apart and dividing, this touching of at least two (lips) which keeps woman in contact with herself, although it would be impossible to distinguish exactly what "parts" are touching each other.

"She" is indefinitely other in herself. That is undoubtedly the reason she has been called temperamental, incomprehensible, perturbed, capricious--not to mention her language in which "she" goes off in all directions and in which "he" is unable to discern the coherence of any meaning. Contradictory words seem a little crazy to the logic of reason, and inaudible for him who listens with ready-made grids, a code prepared in advance. In her statements--at least when she dares to speak out--woman retouches herself constantly. She just barely separates from herself some chatter, an exclamation, a half-secret, a sentence left in suspense--When she returns to it, it is only to set out again from another point of pleasure or pain. One must listen to her differently in order to hear an "other meaning" which is constantly in the process of weaving itself, at the same time ceaselessly embracing words and yet casting them off to avoid becoming, fixed, immobilized. For when "she" says something, it is already no longer identifiable to what she means. Moreover, her statements are never identical to anything. Their distinguishing features is one of continuity. They touch (upon). And when they wander too far from this nearness, she stops and begins again from 'zero': her body-sex organ.

It is therefore useless to trap women into giving an exact definition of what they mean, to make them repeat (themselves) so the meaning will be clear. They are already elsewhere than in this discursive machinery where you claim to take them by surprise. They have turned back within themselves, which does not mean the same thing as "within yourself." They do not experience the same interiority that you do and which perhaps you mistakenly presume they share, "Within themselves" means in the privacy of this silent, multiple, diffuse tact. If you ask them insistently what they are thinking about, they can only reply: nothing. Everything.

Thus they desire at the same time nothing and everything. It is always more and other than this one-that you give them, that you attribute to them

and which is often interpreted, and feared, as a sort of insatiable hunger, a voracity which will engulf you entirely.


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