Article

Overcoming objectification: A carnal ethics

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Abstract

Objectification is a foundational concept in feminist theory, used to analyze such disparate social phenomena as sex work, representation of women's bodies, and sexual harassment. However, there has been an increasing trend among scholars of rejecting and re-evaluating the philosophical assumptions which underpin it. in this work, Cahill suggests an abandonment of the notion of objectification, on the basis of its dependence on a Kantian ideal of personhood. Such an ideal fails to recognize sufficiently the role the body plays in personhood, and thus results in an implicit vilification of the body and sexuality. The problem with the phenomena associated with objectification is not that they render women objects, and therefore not-persons, but rather that they construct feminine subjectivity and sexuality as wholly derivative of masculine subjectivity and sexuality. Women, in other words, are not objectified as much as they are derivatized, turned into a mere reflection or projection of the other. Cahill argues for an ethics of materiality based upon a recognition of difference, thus working toward an ethics of sexuality that is decidedly and simultaneously incarnate and intersubjective.

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... Once this happens, a normalizing structure is deployed within this -abnormal‖ identity as well. On another note, although masculinity is also a norm, its content is much different from the feminine (cf., [9]) and the effects of those engaged in the normative project of masculinity are much different. If men achieve masculinity, they have real world power; but as Bartky [2] tells us, a woman who achieves normative femininity is still only just a woman. ...
... Such philosophies characterize the body as alien, confinement or limitation, enemy, and -the locus of all that threatens our attempts at control‖ [3] (p. 145). 9 The fact that the ideal feminine body (in terms of size and composition) is not -naturally occurring‖ for most women, and, in general, requires a -downsizing‖, makes the body and its needs something to be combatted: -since the innocent need of the organism for food will not be denied, the body becomes one's enemy, an alien being bent on thwarting the disciplinary project‖ [2] (p. 66). ...
... 8 Cf., [4] (p. 9). 9 Fat studies scholars have shown that in contemporary society these attributes are not given to the body in general, but localized in fat and those desires and appetites that place us at constant risk of getting (more) fat [13,14]. 10 Bartky claims that the norms of femininity are -impossible to realize, requiring as they do a virtual transcendence of nature‖ [2] (p. ...
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In this paper I argue that the practice of veganism is, or can be, a Foucauldian ethical practice of freedom. I begin by sketching out the problematization of alimentary practices within a normalizing patriarchal framework, which some feminists argue is dominant within contemporary North American society. Within this problematization, eating—for many women—is a way to manage the body’s appearance and bring it into conformity with feminine norms, and also an ongoing opportunity to exercise the will over unruly bodily desires. I then consider the narratives of women who claim that veganism helped them to relinquish disordered eating habits, temper the emotional and psychological turmoil that surrounded their alimentary practices, and mitigate antagonism toward their own bodies. In short, the practice of veganism appears to have reproblematized eating for these women. Thus, I suggest, veganism can be an ethical practice of freedom: it can loosen the tight grip of patriarchal normalization as constituted in and through disordered eating habits, and constitute subjects that are “a little less governed” by this form of power. I conclude by considering objections to this thesis, and in particular, the concern that veganism is linked to healthism, another worrying form of normalization.
... This idealization contradicts subcultural prescriptions that encourage displays of wanton and sexualized festival womanhood. Some scholars argue that women's sexualities may act as powerful tools to challenge discourses that: naturalize women's sexual and social passivity (Butler 2013;Cahill 2011;McRobbie 2009); disrupt interactional and institutional hierarchies of gender (Schippers 2002); and, promote women's pursuit of sexual safety, respect, and choice (Adriaens 2009;Queen 1997;Tolman 2002). Regardless of these potential benefits, festival-going women still veritably experience a variety of consequences for exhibiting sexual and social agency (i.e., slut-shaming and victim-blaming), de-centering these offenses from those who perpetrate sexual violence. ...
... In light of the many physical, social, emotional and sexual threats that women face, voluntarily seeking sexual pleasure can serve to augment women's sense of esteem, identity (Adriaens 2009) and subjectivity (Cahill 2011;Nussbaum 1995). As this pursuit reframes women's sexualities to act as tools to identify and modify oppressive gendersexual arrangements, women may eschew masculine "control" over sexuality as to exact choice within sexual interactions and materialize entitlements to sexual safety and respect (Adriaens 2009;Butler 2013;Queen 1997;Tolman 2002). ...
... While enacting "respectable" femininities tends to earn dividends -including men's favor and protection -women's divergence from these expectations and arrangements may also elicit benefits to women, even given the repercussions "unrespectable" women face. The ability to articulate and act on their sexual desires might act as opportunities for women: to build self-confidence and personal identity (Adriaens 2009); to pursue or reject sexual exchange on their own terms; to attune to their own bodies, health, and sexual well-beings; and, to signify themselves as subjective, independent, and competent social actors (Berdychevsky and Gibson 2015;Cahill 2011;Nussbaum 1995). ...
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The purpose of this study was to explore emerging issues surrounding gendered fear, threat, and violence perpetration at music festivals – particularly events that feature a synthesis of jam band and electronic dance music acts – a genre termed jamtronica by its fans. Though gendered violence perpetration and prevention have been widely studied within other party-oriented settings (i.e., sexual violence perpetration on college campuses), very little research exists to address how wider disparities of gender and sexuality permeate a community whose members frequently claim the scene’s immunity from external inequalities. In this three-year multi-sited ethnography, I incorporate participant observations, group and individual interviews, and textual analyses to progressively layer investigations into: 1) festival-goers’ gender-bifurcated perceptions of the problems they face within the event arena; 2) how institutional and interactional inequalities fuel gender-sexual expectations that exacerbate the risks with which festival-going women’s contend; and, 3) how jamtronica’s “libertarian and libertine” codes complicate women’s negotiations of (sub)cultural agency, expression, and safety. Findings derived across fourteen sites, interviews with 179 festival participants, and countless material texts suggest that men and women do perceive festival “problems” in very different ways – subsequently leading women to calculatedly navigate festival terrains, interactions, and self-presentations in ways that festival-going men seldom must. Protected by scene norms that paradoxically elevate personal autonomy and group integration, festival-going men’s homosocial displays of masculinity (through pranks, drinking and drug use, and even sexual predation) often goes unchallenged – or, is seemingly even encouraged. In an environment that both scholars and study participants claim to eclipse mainstream inequalities of gender and sexuality, a closer look reveals the multiplex ways that festival-going women risk their physical, social, and sexual well-beings in order to pursue the emancipatory promises that jamtronica music festival community discourses purport. For this understudied, yet rapidly growing, subcultural scene, this study offers conceptual and analytical foundations to event-specific violence prevention programming, as well as gender and sexuality-centric initiatives paramount to ever- diversifying jamtronica music festival communities. KEYWORDS: Music Festivals, Jam Bands, Electronic Dance Music (EDM), Gender, Sexuality, Risk
... Sexual commerce is a deeply gendered phenomenon which expresses a broader tendency in patriarchal societies for men to seek and gain access to women on their own terms (Westerstrand, 2012). 2 Given this article's focus on mutuality, our analysis of "sugar daddies'" experiences is informed by a strand of feminist theorizing preoccupied with how sexual relationships between women and men tend to be configured within a contemporary patriarchal setting that emphasizes mutuality, that is, the ideal that the needs and desires of both the woman and the man should jointly direct their intimate encounters. From the perspective of diverse theoretical frameworks, various feminist scholars (Benjamin, 2013;Braun et al., 2003;Cahill, 2011Cahill, , 2014Gunnarsson, 2014Gunnarsson, , 2016Gunnarsson, , 2018Jónasdóttir, 1994) have identified a central tension in patriarchal heterosexuality that may be captured as follows: whereas the experience of mutuality is a premise for fulfilling intimate encounters, at least in the normative (hetero)sexual paradigm, this ideal of mutuality is often played out in ways undermining mutuality since heterosexuality is structured by gender inequality. For example, based on an empirical study of heterosex, Braun et al. (2003) showed that men's desire for sex with women to be based on mutual desire and pleasure is often experienced by women as a vexing demand for a sensual mutuality that does not always exist. ...
... Jónasdóttir (1994) have highlighted men's contradictory interests in regard to heterosexual mutuality: on the one hand, patriarchal heterosexual masculinity is associated with an impulse to control women's sexuality, as a means of securing access to its empowering force; on the other hand, the validating force of women's sexual subjectivity diminishes the more it is controlled, since one cannot be genuinely sexually chosen by someone under one's control. In line with this, the feminist philosopher Cahill (2011Cahill ( , 2014 objected to theorizing men's sexual domination of women as a matter of objectification, given that men depend on women's subjective powers. She instead used the term derivitization to denote that unequal relationship in which men treat women's subjectivity as valuable only in so far as it serves their own needs. ...
... Unlike previous research on sugar dating, we find it important to underscore the relationship between sugar dating and broader gendered power relations. The gendered pattern of derivitization permeates heterosexuality in society as a whole (Cahill, 2011(Cahill, , 2014 and the sugar dating setup should be seen, we argue, as an accentuation, fueled by neoliberal restructuring, of these broader patriarchal tendencies. ...
Article
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With the emergence and global proliferation of "sugar dating" websites, the phenomenon of sugar dating is gaining increased attention. Sugar dating is described by these websites as arrangements based on an exchange of financial or other forms of support for intimacy and companionship. The framing of sugar dating as something in between a business transaction and mutually enjoyable dating serves as the point of departure of this article, which draws on semi-structured interviews and a survey questionnaire with "sugar daddies" engaged in heterosexual sugar dating in Sweden. We examined how the tension between economic instrumentality and the ideal of mutual enjoyment is played out in "sugar daddies'" accounts of their sugar dating experiences. We demonstrate that the participants desire encounters with "sugar babies" to be based on both sexual and relational mutuality, i.e., they want the women to enjoy being with them beyond the economic rewards. We show that the men's use of economic incentives to gain access to "sugar babies" stands in a relationship of tension with their desire for interactions to be based on mutuality. However, through various mechanisms they still manage to reap the fruits of the experience of mutuality offered in sugar dating encounters.
... In the 1970s and 1980s, popular and influential feminist academic discourse critiqued the objectification of women's bodies as symptomatic of and central to the maintenance of men's power over women (Dworkin, 1981;Dworkin and MacKinnon, 1988;MacKinnon, 1987). This has been the dominant framework for decades now, with objectification configured principally as the negative and harmful rendering of women to the status of object or thing (Cahill, 2012). Yet, other feminist scholars have been critical of the tendency to frame heterosexual women's bodies as constructed only for the consumption of men (Cahill, 2012;Valverde, 1989). ...
... This has been the dominant framework for decades now, with objectification configured principally as the negative and harmful rendering of women to the status of object or thing (Cahill, 2012). Yet, other feminist scholars have been critical of the tendency to frame heterosexual women's bodies as constructed only for the consumption of men (Cahill, 2012;Valverde, 1989). Valverde (1989: 237) provided a thorough critique of Mackinnon's work on sexual objectification, in particular, questioning the extent to which 'patriarchal relations determine our sexual fantasies and practices, and to what extent can we as individuals develop "free" sexuality?' Valverde argued that MacKinnon's theorisation of the objectifying male gaze largely ignored female sexual desire, resulting in a denial of the possibility that women might reclaim sexuality that lies outside male control. ...
... In doing so, however, they entered into a gender double-bind: in seeking to avoid reducing men to their bodies, they appraised them according to classic formulations of male social value, qualities that remain oppositional and complementary to established definitions of femininity located in and being of the body. This unease confirms Cahill's (2012) concern that contemporary feminist analyses of objectification 'leave us in a space where materiality and passivity are linked indelibly to a lack of subjectivity-a conclusion that places severe and ultimately untenable constraints upon subjectivity, agency, and personhood' (p. 30). ...
Article
This paper explores how women think about men’s bodies as objects of desire. It reports on one part of a larger qualitative study on men’s bodywork practices in contemporary Australia. Drawing on material from three focus groups with 24 Australian women of varying ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds, the paper considers how women experience, understand and reflect on their desire for men and men’s bodies. It also explores themes such as the connection women draw between what a man’s body looks like and what it can do, how attraction is experienced, the meaning making women engage in as they think about men and men’s bodies, and the broader politics of sexuality and objectification that inform their perceptions and ideas. These experiences are set against ideas in post-feminist thinking on women’s sexual desire and debates on their sexual empowerment. The paper argues that these women are grappling with tensions between their personal experiences of sexual objectification and a feminist ethics relating to their active and reflexive projects of sexuality.
... Our approach to sexual objectification in relation to sexting (i.e. the practice of sending erotic imagery to someone) comes from the work of Ann Cahill (2012). Cahill (2012) argues against the standard understanding of sexual objectification as always harm, instead advocating a more nuanced understanding. ...
... Our approach to sexual objectification in relation to sexting (i.e. the practice of sending erotic imagery to someone) comes from the work of Ann Cahill (2012). Cahill (2012) argues against the standard understanding of sexual objectification as always harm, instead advocating a more nuanced understanding. Cahill (2012) argues that to be a sexual object is not solely an experience of harm and devaluation. ...
... Cahill (2012) argues against the standard understanding of sexual objectification as always harm, instead advocating a more nuanced understanding. Cahill (2012) argues that to be a sexual object is not solely an experience of harm and devaluation. Rather, she contends that sexual objectification allows for the recognition of an object as erotic. ...
Article
This paper explores heterosexual men’s experiences of sexting with a primary focus on how, when and why men send sexually explicit photos to women. Previous research has focused either on gay and bisexual men’s experiences or considered sexting within a broader youth context. This research considers young men and their engagement with sexting practices and its relationship to how they view and understand their bodies as desirable and sexual. Drawing from work that has called for more reflexive considerations of men’s emotions and sexuality, we explore the processes by which men engage in the practice of sexting (how/where they take photos), the affects that sexting provides (how it makes them feel), their rationale for engaging in the practice (why they do it) and their expectations from partners (e.g. reciprocal photos, partner’s responses). The findings of this paper suggest that while men highlight a range of affects and experiences with sexting, on the whole, it helps boost sexual confidence with partners and create and sustain intimacy, particularly in between seeing (in person) a partner or partners. Our research further suggests that men share similar concerns to women in other studies who are concerned about their photos becoming public, thus revealing a primary reason why this particular population of heterosexual men may not engage in the sending of erotic photos.
... Mulvey, 1975;Rubin, 1975;Dworkin, 1981;Chapkis, 1986;MacKinnon, 1987;Bartky, 1990;Bordo, 1993;Van Zoonen, 1994). This article responds to several controversies arising from these by integrating insights from Nussbaum's (1995), Butler's (1997), Cahill's (2012) and Mahmood's (2001) analyses of objectification, subjectivation and subjectivity to enable new questions about objectification as a socially situated practice. I relate objectification to three issues: first, the subjective experience of objectification; second, its genderedness; and third, its multifaceted and situated nature. ...
... While this demonstrates the importance of the gaze, it also highlights the importance of the body in practice under different conditions. When models actively engage in being objectified (Cahill, 2012) through creatively and skilfully 'working it', they feel appreciated, fulfilled and empowered, even when treated as things. Objectification thus potentially contributes to a 'flourishing sense of self'. ...
Article
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This article unravels the process of objectification by empirically examining a social context where it occurs almost incessantly: fashion modeling. Drawing on an ethnography of fashion modeling in Amsterdam, Paris and Warsaw, I argue that objectification is neither ubiquitous nor one-dimensional: it takes place in specific social contexts and unfolds itself differently under different social conditions. Moreover, objectification is not unidirectional: it is done by and happens to both men and women. By taking an experiential perspective which involves models’ subjective responses to being objectified, I call into question theoretical arguments of objectification pertaining to disempowered subjects, and the assumption that objectification is inherently negative or immoral. Instead, I argue that objectification is socially rooted in institutions and specific situations and that this matters considerably for its varying forms, levels of intensity and the emotional and practical responses it evokes in people. This does not imply that objectification is less compelling as a process, or easy to avoid. Objectification might be all the more effective exactly because the process is embedded in different social contexts, and adapts itself accordingly.
... Papadaki is by no means the only philosopher concerned about how objectification is defined and how the term is used. For example, Cahill (2011) noted: ...
... If objectification is a common social experience, as suggested by the scenarios and research studies I have just described, how are we to reconcile this with the view of objectification as a harmful, even dehumanizing experience, as so much of the research on sexual objectification would indicate? Nussbaum (1995), Cahill (2011), and others have argued that objectification need not always be the devastating insult to one's humanity that some scholars portray it to be. It can occur in rather benign and even positive forms. ...
Chapter
Objectification has been of particular concern to feminists in philosophy and in the social sciences. Nevertheless, objectification is a concept in need of theoretical development and refinement. This chapter focuses on the various definitions of objectification, both in terms of how it has been defined conceptually by philosophers and psychologists, and in terms of how it has been defined operationally in experimental research. A working definition of objectification is offered that distinguishes objectification from the two main pillars of social cognition, namely individuation and stereotyping. A perceiver’s focus on another’s body, their instrumentality for serving the perceiver’s own goals, and the lack of mind perception are all associated with objectification. Furthermore, the broad use of the term “objectification” to describe a diverse range of phenomena is problematic and suggests the need for greater differentiation of the concept. Three different forms of objectification are proposed, specifically social, asocial, and anti-social forms of objectification. The roles that instrumentality, power, mind perception, and body focus play in these forms of objectification are discussed. Finally, I discuss new avenues for moving forward in our collective investigation of objectification, with a particular emphasis on the social context and the social dynamics between the objectifying perceiver and the objectified target. It is the social context and the social dynamics between the person objectified and the person objectifying that are likely to determine whether or not objectification is experienced as dehumanization and has any deleterious effects.
... Nina's example recalls Ann Cahill's (2011) concept of derivitization, as the young men in question reduce their target's personhood to a reflection of their purported sexual desires: a sexy body with 'big tits'. ...
... The young women and men we interviewed described a climate of sexism around them, where routine derivitization (Cahill, 2011) and diminishment of women and girls permeated school, work, family and digital life. The interpretative resources interviewees drew on to make sense of this normative and pervasive 'matrix of sexism' (Sills et al., in press) worked against the grain of their examples and observations, de-emphasising and even reversing the gendered pattern evident in their talk. ...
Article
Many feminist scholars have traced the discursive effects of postfeminism with concern, noting how its ascendency has made sexism difficult to name and to challenge. As feminist critiques of persistent, pervasive gender inequalities trickle into media and popular consciousness, we ask whether and how possibilities for identifying and accounting for sexism might be transformed. We draw from an action-oriented research project that explored whether (and how) feminist ideas offered secondary school students critical purchase on their everyday experiences. Participants described copious examples of everyday sexism directed at women and girls but very few instances of “sexism” towards men and boys. Even so, interviewees often spoke about sexism in ways that prioritised boys' and men's experiences while downplaying sexism towards girls and women. In this article we explore how young people made sense of sexism around them, attending to the discursive effects of their talk.
... Having the opportunity to embody a feeling of sensuality and sexuality through dance, as I had observed my mother do as a young girl, worked as a way to re-script sexuality, from something someone 'does to you' to something 'you do' , creating an active, agentic and mobilising script. What was 'freeing' about this was the experience of not having my sexuality derivatised (Cahill 2011) by someone else's desire -it was my desire, and the way I imagined being desired, that shaped this process. Reinscribing an engaged sexuality, this experience showed someone could consider me as 'desirable' , prior to having something sexual done to me. ...
... While a heterosexual male gaze was experienced to incur favourable racial and gendered meanings, and 'glory' in the first extract about exotic dancing, here, these meanings were situated in flux, quickly transforming to backlash and derisive treatment. Through threatening sexual violence, my sexuality became cast as a derivative of his desire (Cahill 2011) to punish -fusing sex with violence. Similar to my earlier experience of rape, this boy's declaration of what he wanted to do to me sexually inscribed my sexuality as something passive and 'done to you' , rather than experienced as self-generated and creative, as described in the earlier extract about exotic dancing. ...
Article
How should we begin to explore the complex considerations influencing young Indigenous New Zealand Māori women’s sexuality? Centring a Māori woman’s analysis through a Mana Wāhine methodology, and utilising an Indigenous form of storying, pūrākau, I explore this question by attending to my autobiographical memory of experiences of exotic dancing and moments of violence in heterosexual relationships. The analysis provides critical reflection on the interchanges between individual experience and the social and cultural conditions of a reality, informed by colonisation and historical trauma. Attending to the rawness and detail of lived experience highlights how complicated the workings of sexual(ised) agency and power, as well as pleasure and risk, can be in the lives of Māori teenage girls. It has also provided an impetus to consider how complex vectors of oppression are brought to bear on us as individuals, and how Indigenous cultural forms can provide the basis for knowing beyond imposed colonising racist and sexist cultural forms.
... In the 1970s, Susan Brownmiller proposed that rape is fundamentally a crime of violence rather than sex: rape harms a victim much as other assaults do, and through rape, men use violence to exert dominance and control over women. Cahill (2001) and others have challenged the idea that sex is like other assaults, on grounds that rape has specifically sexual meanings and harms (for more on the particular harms of rape, see Brison 2002). In these views, it is partly because rape is special in this way that where it is prevalent it functions to keep women in a state of fear. ...
Article
Sex raises fundamental philosophical questions about topics such as personal identity and well-being, the relationship between emotion and reason, the nature of autonomy and consent, and the dual nature of persons as individuals but also social beings. This article serves as an overview of the philosophy of sex in the English-speaking philosophical tradition and explicates philosophical debate in several specific areas: sexual objectification, rape and consent, sex work, sexual identities and queer theory, the medicalization of sexuality, and polyamory. It situates these topics in a framework of shifting cultural attitudes and argues for the importance of the philosophy of sex. It ends with some suggestions about future research, particularly with regard to the changing nature of pornography and sexual justice in legal theory.
... Society models the derivatization of people, especially women, in many ways. (Cahill 2011) As the sex offender derivatizes their victim, so too does society derivatize the sex offender-and unknowingly contributes to tertiary deviance. (Kitsuse 1980: 12) The development and propagation of replacement discourses is a highly probable solution to the sex offender issue. ...
... The problem is that objectification can be interpreted in different ways, having a more general interpretation in moral terms and another more specific one for sexual matters. It is not always easy to be sure what the authors are referring to, given the complexity of the concept and the phenomena they involve (Cahill, 2011;Nussbaum, 1995). Some address this concept in a similar way as they treat, for example, the problem of slavery, where there is complete instrumentalisation of the other as a person. ...
Article
This article is a critical review of the most common arguments in the specialized literature about the moral status of sexual relationships between adults and prepubescent children. The intent is to reveal how the usual ethical analysis of these experiences, done from a general sexual morality, with a Kantian and utilitarian basis, very clearly shows us the limits and contradictions of contemporary liberal morality regarding sexual matters. It leaves open the possibility that, under certain circumstances, these relationships may be morally admissible. Some shortcomings and contradictions in these liberal arguments suggest that it would be of interest to refer to other authors and ideas to value adult-child sex, approaches that are based on a specific sexual morality concerning the issue of sexual virtues and a more complex conception of human sexual desire. Some of the scientific implications of these moral issues are also discussed.
... A countervailing conception of embodiment is the notion of intersubjectivity (or derivatization), that is, that the body is experienced in relationship to or with another person. In this context, sexual objectification is not a form of alienation but a form of personification, such that the sexual bodies of two people in a sexual encounter can be sexual subjects and sexual objects, with a mutuality of desire and being desired simultaneously (Cahill, 2011). ...
... Objectification is a problem, in turn, insofar it devalues what one cannot see: the 'real' person, the subject within and, perhaps, hidden by the body. This kind of critique thus values the subject (associated with intellect and reason, and thought to be the seat of autonomy and agency) over and above the object (associated with the body and emotions, and linked to dependency and passivity), a valuing reproduced in a number of feminist critiques of the objectification of women, as Ann Cahill notes (Cahill, 2011). ...
Article
Critics have faulted Grindr and similar apps for commodifying social relations; instead of treating potential partners as ‘human beings’, Grindr users are thought to treat each other as objects to be consumed and disposed of at whim. Focusing on Tim Dean’s critique of online cruising in his book Unlimited Intimacy, this article interrogates the assumption that objectification is politically toxic and proposes that it may have something politically useful to offer. Inspired by the ‘antisocial thesis’ in queer theory, and in particular work by Leo Bersani, the article argues that being treated as an object usefully preserves a gap between oneself and one’s potential partner, thwarting the desire to know, speak for, and act in the interest of others – a tendency that may appear altruistic but has annihilative ends. The article frames this gap in terms of both mediation and market relations.
... Further, rape culture creates a cultural system to ensure that women are taught to fear men on the one hand and to internalize male chivalry on the other, ultimately constructing a social order where women are forced to see men as their savior (Griffin, 2015). In such an environment, as Cahill (2011) argues, a woman is 'derivatised' and her subjectivity is muted and/or invisibilized. At the same time, a man is entitled to feel that he has access to a woman's body without the fear of consequences (Mendes, 2015;Sarkar & Rajan, 2021). ...
Article
The brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) on a bus in New Delhi became worldwide news in 2012. Widely known as the Nirbhaya rape incident, it was a landmark case that led the Indian government to amend existing criminal laws on sexual violence and rape. The rape also came to transform the media landscape into a space of social activism. Despite that popular cultural representations of the incident have been critiqued for appropriating rape myths. Through a thematic analysis of the BBC documentary, India's Daughter (2015), and the Netflix series, Delhi Crime (2019), the paper examines the ways in which popular culture sustains and furthers rape culture. By interrogating the thematic-cum-visual discourse of these texts, this paper explores the ideological and sexual tropes to understand the cultural configuration of rape and rape victims/survivors. The study finds the ongoing discourse centering rape in popular culture to be a reiteration of the patriarchal norms prevalent in Indian society.
... It is notable that this did not happen-that both men and women wrote narratives in which the woman's initial no was genuine and understood as such by the male character. In this category, though, the woman's ambivalence was depicted not as being resolved but as being rendered irrelevant by the man's actions (i.e., derivitized; Cahill, 2011). ...
Article
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The miscommunication hypothesis is the assumption that many incidents of acquaintance rape and coercive sex follow from miscommunication between men and women. This hypothesis is entrenched in popular, academic, and judicial understandings of sexual relationships. Recently some evidence has suggested that there is little miscommunication between sexual partners and that the hypothesis does not explain acquaintance rape or other forms of sexual violence. The present study used qualitative methodology in which men and women were asked to imagine themselves in a particular heterosexual dating situation and write what they think happened between the beginning (when sex was refused by one partner) and the end (when sex happened). Thematic analysis of the data found no evidence for miscommunication between partners under conditions of differences in desire. Instead, ambivalence about sexual activity was commonly described by women and men and was most often resolved to both parties' satisfaction. Coercion by men was present in a minority of narratives under conditions of clear understanding of women's refusals. The study thus provides a rich, experience-based representation of heterosexual sexual activity, with considerable potential for the development of effective education campaigns.
... Formal education, for example, could be understood as something externally imposed on an agent, but it is commonly thought to broaden rather than constrain agents' horizons, so it is not an imposition in the relevant sense for the analysis of adaptive preference.12 On feminist analyses of the problems of objectification, see, for example,Mackinnon (1989);Nussbaum (1995);Langton (2009);Cahill (2011).13 Meyers has a more subtle account of internalised oppression that seeks to make sense of the way that women can feel 'competent and empowered by skills that reinforce one's subordination' without denying or erasing their agency(Meyers, 2002, p. 8). ...
Article
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An important question confronting feminist philosophers is why women are sometimes complicit in their own subordination. The dominant view holds that complicity is best understood in terms of adaptive preferences. This view assumes that agents will naturally gravitate away from subordination and towards flourishing as long as they do not have things imposed on them that disrupt this trajectory. However, there is reason to believe that ‘impositions’ do not explain all of the ways in which complicity can arise. This paper defends a phenomenological account of complicity, which offers an alternative explanation.
... Nesse contexto, é possível afirmar que o movimento feminista foi central ao colocar em pauta o papel da mulher na sociedade. Ainda que inicialmente a contribuição do feminismo tenha se concentrado na proposição do gênero como categoria a partir de uma perspectiva eminentemente ocidental, logo outras categorias como sexo, classe social e raça foram 1 Dado que este conceito tem sido criticado pelas teorias feministas e de gênero (Cahill, 2012), cabe apontar que entendemos objetificação como efeito produzido pelas relações patriarcais de esvaziamento de agências femininas, tais como autonomia, valor próprio e controle sobre o corpo; que se traduzem em fenômenos sociológicos como violência sexual, representações hipersexualizadas das mulheres e a forma como as políticas reprodutivas são estruturadas, por exemplo. (Nussbaum, 1995) cadernos pagu (58), 2020:e205810 Feminismo estilo magazine: um estudo sobre a Revista Elle Brasil 6 também mobilizadas para dar conta de entender a diversidade das próprias mulheres em um contexto mais amplo 2 . ...
Article
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Resumo O trabalho analisa duas edições da revista Elle Brasil que abordaram temáticas feministas em 2015. Destinada ao público feminino consumidor de moda, o feminismo foi incorporado à revista em aparente contradição com os conteúdos convencionais e valores afirmados em sua linha editorial. Porém, essa incorporação do feminismo não configura uma novidade, mas uma experiência de continuidade na história da imprensa feminina brasileira, a que chamamos de ‘feminismo estilo magazine’, pautada agora, porém, pela influência das redes sociais. Para compreender as ambiguidades e potencialidades políticas dessa dicotomia mobilizamos abordagens construcionistas em uma análise da revista como formadora de opinião.
... Some scholars argue that since being objectified is inevitable "precisely because the human self is embodied" making it impossible not to "present oneself as an object, and being perceived as one, has become inescapable" (Holla 2018, 254). There are advantages to this, some of which include enhancing the object's sense of self-worth in an age where image and bodily shape matter (Cahill 2012). If we argue, then, that objectifying and being objectified are different and complex experiences, we may well consider that, sometimes, in popular culture the women who are objectified are not necessarily experiencing objectification from the perspective of being oppressed, abused and victimized. ...
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This article attacks David Benatar's claim made in his 2012 book, The Second Sexism: Discrimination Against Men and Boys, that when an individual is the victim of violence it does not matter whether his or her perpetrator is of the same or a different sex. By exploring two related yet distinct phenomena, well documented in the empirical psychological literature, that I call "shattering" and "fragmentation," I argue that when a woman is raped, it does matter that her rapist is male, given that her situation as a woman under patriarchy is partly constitutive of the harm that she suffers.
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Chapter
Objectification has been of particular concern to feminists in philosophy and in the social sciences. Nevertheless, objectification is a concept in need of theoretical development and refinement. This chapter focuses on the various definitions of objectification, both in terms of how it has been defined conceptually by philosophers and psychologists, and in terms of how it has been defined operationally in experimental research. A working definition of objectification is offered that distinguishes objectification from the two main pillars of social cognition, namely individuation and stereotyping. A perceiver’s focus on another’s body, their instrumentality for serving the perceiver’s own goals, and the lack of mind perception are all associated with objectification. Furthermore, the broad use of the term “objectification” to describe a diverse range of phenomena is problematic and suggests the need for greater differentiation of the concept. Three different forms of objectification are proposed, specifically social, asocial, and anti-social forms of objectification. The roles that instrumentality, power, mind perception, and body focus play in these forms of objectification are discussed. Finally, I discuss new avenues for moving forward in our collective investigation of objectification, with a particular emphasis on the social context and the social dynamics between the objectifying perceiver and the objectified target. It is the social context and the social dynamics between the person objectified and the person objectifying that are likely to determine whether or not objectification is experienced as dehumanization and has any deleterious effects.
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Miranda Fricker maintains that testimonial injustice is a matter of credibility deficit, not excess. In this article, I argue that this restricted characterization of testimonial injustice is too narrow. I introduce a type of identity-prejudicial credibility excess that harms its targets qua knowers and transmitters of knowledge. I show how positive stereotyping and prejudicially inflated credibility assessments contribute to the continued epistemic oppression of marginalized knowers. In particular, I examine harms such as typecasting, compulsory representation, and epistemic exploitation and consider what hearers are obligated to do in response to these injustices. I argue that because epistemic harms to marginalized knowers also arise from prejudicially inflated assessments of their credibility, the virtue of testimonial justice must be revised to remedy them.
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This paper re-examines the debate between those who, with Miranda Fricker, diagnose the primary, non-contingent harm of testimonial injustice as a kind of epistemic objectification and those who contend it is better thought of as a kind of epistemic othering. Defenders of the othering account of the primary harm have often argued for it by presenting cases of testimonial injustice in which the testifier’s epistemic agency is affirmed rather than denied, even while their credibility is unjustly impugned. In previous work, I have instead argued that such cases suggest that we need to enrich our conception of epistemic objectification in ways encouraged by Martha Nussbaum’s cluster analysis of objectification. Here I continue to make the case for this approach, and I consider the othering account in more detail. I focus in particular on Gaile Pohlhaus Jr.’s arguments for a version of the othering account in terms of the notion of derivatization, which turns on the idea that only such an account can enable us to properly understand the harms of testimonial injustice, in particular the ways in which it interferes with a subject’s epistemic agency and autonomy, and I’ll argue that such arguments should not sway us. Finally, I’ll further support my contention that it is illuminating and helpful to think of the primary harm of testimonial injustice in terms of epistemic objectification, though I will concede that the notion of epistemic othering may offer further helpful resources for understanding how subjects can be harmed by testimonial injustice.
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The present article aims to reach an understanding of the recognition process at work in autopornography through the analysis of Loree Erickson’s testimony of her own production of pornography in which she performs. I want to especially address the issues of sexual agency and recognition of a positive erotic potential for women living with disabilities. Paradoxically, if mainstream pornography can be a tool of oppression—i.e., the fetishization of differences and the exclusion of the sexual sphere according to racist, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist criteria—it can also be subverted into an emancipation or empowerment tool in order to enlarge the scope of available sexual scripts and of sexual subjectivities.
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Les auteures proposent une analyse comparative de trois oeuvres de trois artistes femmes qui poussent à la limite le projet d’auto-objectivation sexuelle comme oeuvre d’art. Il sera d’abord question d’une photographie de Madeleine Berkhemer, Molly in Blue (2000), où l’artiste se présente harnachée de pièces de bas de nylon dans une pose classique de pin-up. Ensuite, le projet Strip Series (1999-2000) de Jemima Stehli sera à l’étude. Dans ce projet artistique, qui relève à la fois de la photographie et de la performance, l’artiste se déshabille devant différents hommes qui occupent un poste de pouvoir dans le monde de l’art. Enfin, les auteures se pencheront sur Untitled (2003) d’Andrea Fraser, où l’artiste a, en guise d’oeuvre, une relation sexuelle tarifée et filmée avec un collectionneur. Paradoxalement, en endossant de manière extrême le statut d’objet sexuel/objet d’art, ces trois femmes revendiquent aussi une subjectivité sexuelle et créative hautement subversive.
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Romance novels are primarily aimed at, written about, and written for women. They have been accused of being fantasies which feature sexually objectified heroines who are passive recipients of overwhelming masculine sexual energy. After shoring up these critiques of romance novels with A.W. Eaton’s account of how art can objectify its subjects, we examine a challenge to romance novels: does the sexual content in romance novels objectify its heroines? There is strong reason to think so. However, we argue that careful attention to the ways art can objectify its subject reveals that romance novels are structured to make it impossible for their heroines to be objectified. In many cases, individual signs of objectification are raised as possible outcomes and dismissed as part of the plot of a romance novel. Satisfying sex in a romance novel does not appear until it is impossible for the romantic heroine to be objectified. Understood in this way, romance novels serve as a model for one way that objectification could be avoided. The fantasy of a romance novel is not objectifying sex. It is sex free of objectification.
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Critical legal scholars have made us aware that law is made up not only of rules but also of language. But who speaks the language of law? And can one lawfully speak in one's voice? For the Italian philosopher Adriana Cavarero, to answer these questions we must not separate who is speaking from the very act of speaking; moreover, we must recuperate the material singularity and relationality of the mouth that speaks. Drawing on Cavarero's work, this book focuses on the potentiality of the voice for resisting law's sovereign structures. For Cavarero, it is the voice that expresses one's living and unrepeatable singularity in a way that cannot be subsumed by the universalities and standards of law. The voice is essentially a material and singular passage of air and vibration that necessarily reveals one's uniqueness in relationality. Speaking discloses this uniqueness, and so one's vulnerability. It therefore leads to possibilities of resistance that, here, bring a fresh approach to longstanding legal theoretical concerns with singularity, ethics and justice.
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In this dissertation, I argue for a unifying account of epistemic and communicative injustice. I do this by showing how these are both ultimately threats to our agency. More specifically, I argue that they are threats to our social-epistemic agency, a distinct kind of agency concerned with the ability to be self-determining in the social-epistemic domain. This agency is fundamentally valuable given the importance of being treated as someone worthy of inclusion in communicative and epistemic life. I argue that agency should be conceived of as a measure of our ability to actually bring about changes in the social-epistemic domain: our ability to alter the epistemic environment by contributing to enquiry, changing someone's mind, learning from one's teachers, occupying a desired social-epistemic role. Social-epistemic agency is dependent both on developing a tripartite set of agential competencies and on our treatment by others. These two components of social-epistemic agency come together to enable us to perform particular actions at particular times (e.g., testifying), and to occupy roles within the social-epistemic domain (e.g., as a union representative). I argue that social-epistemic agency is relational in two different ways. First, it is causally dependent on our relationships with others because our ability to develop agential competencies depends on our personal history of socialisation. Second, it is partly constituted by our relationships with other persons because our ability to actually exercise our agential competencies to bring about desired changes--i.e. to be agential--depends on the ways that others respond to us. I also argue that a notion of social-epistemic respect is necessary for understanding this kind of agency and the ways that we can be harmed through exclusion from social-epistemic life. Finally, using this relational account of social-epistemic agency, I address issues of silencing, epistemic objectification, online discourse, and intellectual humility.
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Despite pervasive sexual violence against women, especially the extensive problem of rape on college campuses, there is virtually no Catholic response. This paper seeks to fill this lacunae by examining campus rape culture as an instance of social sin. Within this sinful social reality, rape is not deviant, but is the extreme manifestation of gender norms and expectations that construct femininity as sexual availability and masculinity as sexual aggression and dominance. Participation in the sin of rape culture may range from actions of student and administrative bystanders to the everyday and mundane way that individuals live their gendered and sexual selves. In response, I offer three theological resources for moving toward transformation of rape culture into one that fosters the full human flourishing of all: interruption, conscience, and solidarity.
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This article argues that Roxana exemplifies a peculiarly modern mode of “derivatization”: a form of “ontological reductionism” articulated by Ann J. Cahill in which individuals are diminished to “the reflection, projection, or expression of another being’s identity, drives, fears [...] reducible in all ways to the derivatizing subject’s existence”. The essay analyses the novel’s representation of secondary characters’ stunted subjectivities and the protagonist’s exploitation of their body, agency, and consent. Reading the sexual assault on Amy as an example of Roxana’s pleasure in overriding subjective autonomy and a violent expression of her “separated capacity”, the article shows how the novel explores the social and subjective self-harm of such instrumental approaches. The article suggests that not only does derivatization characterize all of Roxana’s relations, including those with men, but that its ethical harms are also the ultimate cause of her tragically reduced selfhood.
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Human beings as objects, and we are objects inter alia, offer information, even knowledge. And yet, in a society marked by pervasive identity prejudice, even objects do not offer neutral facts. Here, I argue that the harms imposed on those who suffer testimonial injustices cannot be sufficiently understood through the ethical lens of objectification. Such persons are not simply objectified, not simply treated as mere sources of information rather than as informants. Even as objects (not mere objects), they are often unable to testify on their own behalf or testify to true facts of the matter. Rather than follow Miranda Fricker’s argument that testimonial injustices are acts of objectification, I argue that they are better understood as acts of what Ann Cahill calls derivatization. A re-examination of Fricker’s account of the wrong of testimonial injustice as derivatizing rather than objectifying clarifies the wrong of epistemic injustice, reinforces the mutuality of testimonial exchanges where both the speaker and listener are actively engaged and obligated to participate well to succeed, and opens up a discussion of how even when being treated as a source of information, informants can be mistreated.
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Published in MAI: https://maifeminism.com/rethinking-objectification/ In 2020 Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s Summer hit WAP entered Billboard’s Hot 100 at No. 1. The song’s unapologetically bawdy lyrics were amplified in an accompanying video which caused some critics to lose their minds. ‘Wet Ass Pussy’ had, one claimed, ‘set the entire female gender back by 100 years’. (Lorraine 2020) Another noted that the song had made him ‘want to pour holy water in [his] ears’. (Bradley 2020) Russell Brand asked whether WAP was a ‘Feminist Masterpiece or Porn?’ and, after musing on contemporary feminism, concluded ‘It’s still ultimately a sort of capitalist objectification and commodification of, in this case, the female.’ (Brand 2020) Objectification, treating a person as an object or a thing, has become a key term in debates about the sexual and gendered politics of contemporary culture. In particular, it is used as shorthand for sexist practices of media representation in activist, popular and academic commentary alike. Concerns are raised about music videos and advertisements dehumanising women as agentless eye-candy, selfie-shooters self-objectifying themselves and pornography objectifying women as lumps of more or less willing flesh. In this article we examine the origins of the notion of objectification and its uses in feminist scholarship and activism from the 1970s to the current day. We argue that the term presents serious problems for understanding sexual representation, sexual attractiveness, performances of ‘sexiness’, sexual agency and, indeed, sexism. While holding obvious appeal as a means of critiquing gendered relations of power, the notion of objectification is pervasive in its reach and influence but elusive in its application, and is largely used in ways that make feminist and queer critiques less effective than they could, or need, to be. What space remains for sexual self-representation if all sexy representation is seen to be negative?
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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This paper situates male perceptions of the body within Bourdieu's theories of human practice. Recent research (Bordo 1999; Featherstone 1991; Giddens 1991; Gill, Henwood, and McLean 2005) has suggested that perceptions of the body are important to men's sense of confidence and that men see the body as a vehicle for personal improvement. To build on this research, an online survey investigated Canadian men's perspectives on their appearance and their attitudes toward cosmetic surgery. A two-component approach to self-esteem was used, where self-confidence (the positive aspect) and self-deprecation (the negative aspect) were seen as independent but related concepts that underlie one's feelings of self-worth. Self-deprecation, self-confidence, and comfort with one's body uniquely predicted different aspects of men's experiences, including attitudes about body shape, perceptions of others, pressures to lose weight, and perspectives regarding cosmetic surgery. For example, participants who were more comfortable with their bodies and lower in self-deprecation were happier with their current body shape and features, whereas participants who were less comfortable with their bodies and lower in confidence put more pressure on themselves to lose weight. In addition, lower confidence significantly predicted willingness to undergo cosmetic surgery.
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This paper examines an issue at the centre of feminist debates about pornography and sex work, and that is whether these practices reduce women to sex objects. I question the assumption that the expression of sexual desire is unique in its power to degrade and dehumanize persons. I show that this assumption underlies Catharine MacKinnon’s attack on pornography by considering MacKinnon’s intellectual debt to the philosopher Immanuel Kant. I then examine recent discussions of sexual objectification in the philosophical literature and argue that MacKinnon’s adaptation of Kant has flaws comparable to Kant’s original account of sexual desire.
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The 1997 film The Full Monty had an unprecedented impact on British popular culture. Suddenly, “ordinary” men across Britain felt that taking their clothes off in public was not only possible but something to aspire to. This article examines the representation of the working-class male body in the film and its relationship to the (gendered) politics of looking. But there was much more at stake in The Full Monty than the state of individual masculine identities: the film made working-class male subjectivity available for appropriation for national purposes as both Prince Charles and Tony Blair used it as a vehicle for their own political ends. The working-class men in the film became convenient metaphors for an invigorated postimperial identity while preserving the status quo of British class divisions.
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Intensive interviews were conducted with 43 women involved in streetwalking prostitution. Data were analyzed according to Phenomenological Descriptive Analysis, results of which are presented in two parts. Detailed accounts of the lives of a subgroup of 5 participants are described first, followed by a broader discussion of results including the entire sample of 43. Themes common across the larger group are presented in three segments, including (a) early development, (b) life in “the game, “ and (c) leaving the streets. Implications for advocacy and further research are presented.
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A distinctive feature of modern capitalist societies is the tendency of the market to take over the production, maintenance, and distribution of goods that were previously produced, maintained, and distributed by nonmarket means. Yet, there is a wide range of disagreement regarding the proper extent of the market in providing many goods. Labor has been treated as a commodity since the advent of capitalism, but not without significant and continuing challenges to this arrangement. Other goods whose production for and distribution on the market are currently the subject of dispute include sexual intercourse, human blood, and human body parts such as kidneys. How can we determine which goods are properly subjects of market transactions and which are not? The purpose of this article is to propose a theory of what makes economic goods differ from other kinds of goods, which can help to answer this question.
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Several studies have documented disproportionately low sexual and body esteem in women with high degrees of physical impairment. Moreover, other studies have begun to examine the problem of intimate partner and other forms of abuse in women with physical disabilities. In this article we examine the link between low sexual and body esteem and intimate partner abuse in women with physical disabilities based on findings obtained from an in-depth qualitative study. Findings indicate that women with high degrees of physical impairment are more likely to perceive themselves as sexually inadequate and unattractive than women with mild impairment. These negative perceptions, when combined with a strong desire to be partnered, increased women’s vulnerability to getting into and staying in abusive relationships over time. Major themes presented in the article include: societal devaluation, low sexual and body esteem, preference for non-disabled men, desire to be partnered, and relationship decision-making. We depict the relationships between each of these themes in a simple model to further aid the reader’s understanding.
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The paper is an application of the principle of just deserts (that is, retribution) to the setting of statutory penalties. The conclusion is that there should be no separate penalty for rape but that rape should be punished under the ordinary battery statutes. The argument has four parts. First, there is a description of the place of rape in a typical statutory scheme. Second, there is a consideration of possible justifications for giving rape the status it has in such a typical scheme. All justifications appear to fail for one reason or another. Third, rape is analyzed as battery and the analysis is justified. This analysis includes an explanation of why it would be unjust to punish rape more severely than ordinary batteries. Last, there is a catalogue of some practical advantages to treating rape as battery (for example, simplifying proof of the crime). The paper takes the principle of just deserts (in the form I have elsewhere defended it) for granted, but does add substantially to the understanding of how to apply it.
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This book collects together fifteen chapters on pornography and objectification. Arguments from uncontroversial liberal premises are shown to yield controversial feminist conclusions that pornography of a certain kind subordinates and silences women, and that women have rights against it. The arguments draw on speech act theory and pragmatics to show how such pornography may be speech that subordinates and silences. It subordinates if it is an illocution that ranks women, deprives women of powers, and legitimates violence and discrimination. It silences if it creates illocutionary disablement, preventing women's words having the intended illocutionary force. The chapters explore the idea that there is something solipsistic about pornography, in the way women are treated as things, and things are treated as women. They develop an understanding of the wider concept of objectification, which is itself shown to be solipsistic. Objectification is traditionally viewed in Kantian guise as the idea of treating someone as a thing, a mere instrument, and denying their autonomy. But it has unnoticed epistemological aspects. On a feminist conception of objectification, moral and epistemological features interact: for it is, partly, through a kind of self-fulfilling projection of beliefs and perceptions of women as subordinate that women are made subordinate and treated as things. Pornography can have an epistemological role here, shaping desires that guide wishful, oppressive belief, providing evidence confirming oppressive belief, suppressing counter-evidence, by silencing. Kant's moral philosophy threads through a number of chapters: his pessimism about some pathologies of sexual love; his optimism about love and friendship, which offer an escape route from solipsism.
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Most people are familiar with Justice Stewart's now classic statement that while he cannot describe pornography, he certainly knows it when he sees it. We instantly identify with Justice Stewart. Pornography is not difficult to recognize, but it does elude description. This is because traditional attempts at description are attempts that seek to explain at either an abstract or empirical level rather than at the level that accounts for experience in its totality. Justice Stewart's lament represents the need to understand the subjective experience of pornography and cease trying to explain it in purely objective terms. Much feminist literature in general and Catharine MacKinnon's work in particular seeks to do just this. MacKinnon argues that pornography should not be explained in familiar First Amendment freedom-of-expression terms, but rather in terms of the actual sexual abuse it constitutes in experience. Then, and only then, are we able to select the appropriate legal remedy. This essay suggests that MacKinnon's position not only needs the support of a non-traditional philosophical approach, but has one readily available in the phenomenology of philosopher Edmund Husserl.
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Disability imagery, whether photographs, posters, or verbal or written discourse, comprises multiple viewpoints or gazes, ranging from the impaired physical body to the disabling social environment. In some instances, photographic image and accompanying text combine to reinforce the notion of persons with disabilities as helpless and needy people. These conceptualizations not only emphasize obvious prejudices and limited thinking about persons with disabilities, but also illustrate the consequences: persons with disabilities tend to assimilate the oppressive images constructed by society. In order to create positive images of, for example, persons with brain injury, epilepsy or hemiplegia, we need to develop a disability consciousness that allows us to re-imagine (dis)ability in ways that value individual identity. In so doing, we raise critical questions about self and other.
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This article compares the status of sexual and cultural difference in Luce Irigaray's earliest work and her most recent publication Between East and West (2002), in which Irigaray argues that a culture of sexual difference would facilitate improved structural relations between those of different cultures, races and traditions. Many commentators have argued that Irigaray's recent, more simple formulations on legal reform must be understood in the context of the early, very complex Irigarayan concept of sexual difference. But what about Irigaray's recent formulations concerning cultural difference? Are we to understand these as based on an `aporia' of recognition, as are her formulations on sexual difference? The article argues against such an interpretation, and considers problems arising from the disjunction between Irigaray's treatment of sexual and cultural difference.
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A partir des interpretations divergentes d'un incident survenu au sein d'une tribu Gerai etudiee en Indonesie, l'A. montre que la vision occidentale d'universalisation de la violence sexuelle et du viol ne s'applique pas a toutes les societes. Apres avoir rappele la construction sociale de la vulnerabilite feminine en Occident, l'A. montre que les relations intersexes chez les Gerai sont davantage axees sur l'identite entre les sexes que sur leur difference
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Inadequate, inaccurate English translations of works by feminist scholars can slow the advancement of international research in women's studies. We must begin to subject translations to the same critical attention we have focused on those sexist authoring and publishing practices that have defined women's interests as tangential to scholarly research.Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, one of the most widely known, classic essays on women's experience and a cornerstone of contemporary feminist theory, is available in only one English translation from the French. In that 1952 translation by a professor of zoology, Howard M. Parshley, over 10 per cent of the material in the original French edition has been deleted, including fully one-half of a chapter and the names of seventy-eight women in history. These unindicated deletions seriously undermine the integrity of Beauvoir's analysis of such important topics as the American and European nineteenth-century suffrage movements, and the development of socialist feminism in France.Compounding the confusion created by the deletions, are mistranslations of key philosophical terms. The phrase, ‘for-itself’, for example, which identifies a distinctive concept from Sartrean existentialism, has been rendered into English as its technical opposite, ‘in-itself’. These mistranslations obscure the philosophical context of Beauvoir's work and give the mistaken impression to the English reader that Beauvoir is a sloppy writer, and thinker.
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Critique de la conception politique du pouvoir qui sous-tend le debat opposant les feministes anti-pornographie, comme C. MacKinnon et A. Dworkin, et les feministes anti-censure defendant une position radicale en matiere de sexualite. Soulevant la question de la domination et de la subversion, l'A. aboutit a la conclusion paradoxale selon laquelle la consommation pornographique apparait comme le lieu de resistance et de liberation des femmes.
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L'A. considere que certaines experiences maternelles notamment l'allaitement peuvent etre source de plaisir erotique. Elle se demande si ces experiences peuvent etre assimilees a des experiences sexuelles. Elle analyse la dimension morale du plaisir sexuel inherents aux experiences maternelles. Elle estime que ce plasir n'altere pas la relation entre la mere et l'enfant ne constitue pas une forme de pedophilie ou de relation incestueuse. Elle s'efforce de montrer que ces experiences sexuelles maternelles constitue une remise en cause de la conception chretienne traditionnelle de la sexualite et de l'ethique sexuelle
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It is now a platitude that sexual objectification is wrong. As is often pointed out, however, some objectification seems morally permissible and even quite appealing — as when lovers are so inflamed by passion that they temporarily fail to attend to the complexity and humanity of their partners. Some, such as Nussbaum, have argued that what renders objectification benign is the right sort of relationship between the participants; symmetry, mutuality, and intimacy render objectification less troubling. On this line of thought, pornography, prostitution, and some kinds of casual sex are inherently morally suspect. I argue against this view: what matters is simply respect for autonomy, and whether the objectification is consensual. Intimacy, I explain, can make objectification more morally worrisome rather than less, and symmetry and mutuality are not relevant. The proper political and social context, however, is crucial, since only in its presence can consent be genuine. I defend the consent account against the objection that there is something paradoxical in consenting to objectification, and I conclude that given the right background conditions, there is nothing wrong with anonymous, one-sided, or just-for-pleasure kinds of sexual objectification.
Article
The maternal object is rarely seen as a girl's source of identification as a vibrant, sexually desirous woman. In this paper, I propose that the mother's capacity both to convey her own pride and pleasure in her female body, its sexual and procreative capacities, and to confer the privilege of passion on her daughter is requisite for a girl's full, pleasurable possession of her body and sexuality. Using observations from two analyses, I explore ways in which transformations of the negative transference manifestations of thwarted maternal sexuality and its pernicious expressions within the mother–daughter relationship paralleled recovery of a fuller capacity for sexual pleasure and agency. To offer clinical pathways toward development of female analysands' capacities for feminine pride and sexual passion, theories must allow for adaptive resolution of oedipal-period conflicts—resolution that can lead to a mature mutuality between mother and daughter.
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I shall forgive the white South much in its final judgment day: I shall forgive its slavery, for slavery is a world-old habit; I shall forgive its fighting for a well-lost cause, and for remembering that struggle with tender tears; I shall forgive its so-called “pride of race,” the passion of its hot blood, and even its dear, old, laughable strutting and posing; but one thing I shall never forgive, neither in this world nor the world to come: its wanton and continued and persistent insulting of the black womanhood which it sought and seeks to prostitute to its lust. (W.E.B. DuBois) The assumption that one can privilege gender, in advance, as a category, setting the terms of inclusion without fully considering those for whom gender alone fails to capture the multiplicity of experience, is itself an Orientalist move. (Dorinne Kondo)
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Some have argued that a proper account of prostitution shows it to be a morally neutral, commercial service ‘like any other’. This paper explores further the implications of this ‘service’ model and argues that it depends upon a weak conception of the kind of sex involved in such a practice and involves the objectification of both prostitute and customer. I argue that there is a moral view of sex which is not merely ‘romantic’, from which it is still possible to view prostitution as morally objectionable; but that, nevertheless, this perspective itself may provide for a development of the idea of a service which would justify a limited practice of prostitution. Such a practice would, however, be very different from that which supporters of the putatively morally neutral model of prostitution have in mind and would depend for its plausibility on a comparison with other forms of caring for which payment is given.
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My essay is framed by Hypatia 's first special issue on Motherhood and Sexuality at one end, and by the most recent special issue (as of this writing) on the work of Iris Young, whose work on pregnant embodiment has become canonical, at the other. The questions driving this essay are: When we look back over the last twenty-five years, what has changed in our conceptions of pregnancy and maternity, both in feminist theory and in popular culture? What aspects of feminist debates from the 1970s and 1980s are still relevant today? And, how might what appear to be radical shifts in popular perceptions of pregnancy actually continue traditional values that objectify and “abjectify” the maternal body? Here, I will focus on three central elements of the revaluation of pregnancy and maternity as they show up in feminist philosophy and in popular culture: 1. The relationship between pregnancy and sexuality, both in terms of pregnant sexuality and in terms of the pregnant body as sexual object; 2. The “choice” to become a mother as a “feminist choice”; 3. The temporality of pregnancy and birth as marking something like “women's time.”
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Luce Irigaray's fearlessness towards speaking the body has earned for her work the dismissive label “essentialist.” But Irigaray's Speculum de l'autre femme and Ce Sexe qui n'en est pas un suggest that essence may not be the unitary, monolithic, in short, essentialist category that anti-essentialists so often presume it to be. Irigaray strategically deploys essentialism for at least two reasons: first, to reverse and to displace Jacques Lacan's phallomorphism; and second, to expose the contradiction at the heart of Aristotelian metaphysics which denies women access to “Essence” while at the same time positing the essence of “Woman” precisely as non-essential (as matter).
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is possible that pornography can cause rape, at least in the sense that those responsible for the pornography could be held liable for the injuries resulting from the assault. He is skeptical of this possibility, for, as he says, the "constitutional requirements for a valid recovery for assault caused by speech might turn out to be too rigorous for any plaintiff to meet,"4 never- theless, he admits that it is a possibility. In this article, I intend (a) to defend Judge Easterbrook's suggestion that pornography can cause sexual assault, and (b) to allay his skepticism that a plaintiff could meet the rigorous consti- tutional requirements for recovery. I divide my article into two parts. In part I, I discuss the causal claim. In what sense of "cause" is it true that pornography can cause rape? This is important not only because this claim has often been denied, but also because the specific nature of the causal connection is important to clarify in order to show that it is a legitimate basis for recovery. In part II, I address constitutional concerns. I argue that in virtue of the way in which pornog- raphy can cause rape, pornography can count as "incitement" to rape. I specify what standards of proof a plaintiff should be required to meet in order to respect the First Amendment concerns that might be thought to apply to pornography. I. Pornography as a Cause of Sexual Assault
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I have taken a Kantian approach to the issue of pornography and degradation. My thesis is that by perpetuating derogatory myths about womankind, for the sake of financial gain, the pornography industry treats the class of women as a means only, and not as composed of individuals who are ends in themselves. It thus de-grades all women, as members of this class, imputing to them less than full human status.
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To be radical about pornography used to mean that one favored less censorship; now it often means that one favors more. That political change reflects a shift in the dominant paradigm of pornography and its putative evils. Until quite recently, most people who believed pornography wrong thought that it offended against decency and propriety and was therefore obscene. That was certainly the view of the law. English judges first created the crime of obscene libel in 1727 on the basis that such expression tended to corrupt the morals of the King's subjects, a thought that inspired most subsequent legislation in the common-law world. Sometimes the underlying concern really was paternalistic: pornography degrades and corrupts its producers and consumers; the law forces them to become better people. More often, however, it was just moralism of the familiar sorts: the view that a majority of a community is entitled to enforce its moral views on the rest, either because that is democratic or because that is just what it means to be a community. The obscenity paradigm thus had two features. First, it was illiberal: it ranked personal autonomy below realizing the good, enforcing the majority will, or embodying communitarian values. Second, it was gender neutral: to understand the nature of pornography did not require theorizing relations between men and women. On the obscenity paradigm, pornography was a matter of virtue versus vice, majorities versus minorities.
Article
Purpose: To explore and describe women’s experiences and concerns related to inpatient sexual rehabilitation.Participants: Twenty-four women who experienced traumatic SCI between 17 and 63years of age. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with follow-ups were conducted on topics including amount and type of inpatient sexual education and counseling experiences, sexual concerns after injury, and suggestions regarding sexual rehabilitation approaches and activities.Results: Multiple themes emerged. Overarching themes included the importance of timing and honoring individual differences. Only two women reported receiving in-depth sexual rehabilitation services. Sexuality was not a priority soon after injury for a majority but assumed greater importance later. Participants believed sexuality should be broached during inpatient rehabilitation and introduced by the health professional. Reactions to healthcare professionals’ communication styles and behaviors were described.Conclusion: Participants’ feedback can help inform training and practice of rehabilitation professionals who w ork with women with SCI and other acquired disabilities. Concrete suggestions are offered.
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This paper uses the experiences of disabled lesbians to explore the intersections between disability, race, and sexuality. In addition to looking at the connections in oppressions the paper celebrates the positive and joyful sexuality of disabled lesbians. While identity formation and management remains challenging, the barriers are being dealt with as disabled lesbians claim their wholeness. Visibility and invisibility in the disability and lesbian communities are discussed and critiques are aimed at the constructions of both lesbianism and disabled people.
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This is not your typical academic article. Although it provides references and research information, the perspective is a little different. We intend to share stories from a lifetime of participant observation on disabled adoptive parents. The stories are part of the empirical evidence that makes up our collective lives. But they are not stories well represented in the literature—either qualitative or quantitative. We know we are not average. We are more than one standard deviation from the norm and we celebrate this. This article provides a radical reconceptualization of the sexuality experiences of disabled parents. Think of it as a participatory ethnography. Placed in the context of the growing literature base around families, adoption, and sexuality, our stories reflect the lived experience of the parents who have shared their lives with us.
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The moral status accorded to an individual (or class of individuals) helps to account for the weight of the moral obligations considered due to an individual (or class of individuals). Strong arguments can be given to indicate that the moral status accorded, justly or unjustly, to individuals with intellectual disabilities is less than that accorded to those considered intellectually able. This paper suggests that such a view of the moral status of intellectually disabled individuals derives from individualism. Ontological and normative components of individualism are identified. It is shown that individualistic, ontological criteria for personhood compromise the integrity of “dependent” individuals. And it is shown that the normative component of individualism further compromises the integrity of intellectually disabled individuals. An alternative view of the self is outlined in which dependence features centrally. It is tentatively suggested that such a view of the self may prove more congenial to enhancing the moral status of individuals with intellectual disabilities.
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What follows is a response to an article by Spiecker and Steutel in which they pose the question of whether sex between people with "mental retardation" (sic) is morally permissible and in which they argue that since many such people cannot give "valid consent", the additional consent of caretakers may be required. However, we argue that the term "mental retard" is offensive and that either the UK terminology ("the learning disabled") or the internationally accepted term ("intellectually disabled") are more acceptable. Moreover, we point out that Spiecker and Steutel are mistaken. Many "learning disabled" people can and do give "valid consent". In any case, their question is itself dubious. Why should two learning disabled people who want to have sex together need anyone else's consent? In addition, we briefly address the rights of the learning disabled to the same sexual freedom as others, on the one hand, and to freedom from sexual exploitation on the other hand. Finally, we consider the implications of these issues for moral education. We suggest that carers need to develop empathy and, where necessary, advocacy skills. We point to the existence of training programmes on sexuality and protection issues.
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Is sex between people with "mental retardation" [1] morally permissible and, if at all, under what conditions? This paper tries to answer this question, but only with regard to sex between biologically mature individuals with mild or moderate mental retardation. First, the concepts of "sexual activity" and mental retardation" are analysed briefly, which is challenging given the widely divergent and sometimes rather awkward definitions of these concepts. On the basis of this analysis, it is argued that the liberal principle of mutual consent, if taken as a necessary condition of permissible sex, has unacceptable consequences for people with mental retardation. Many forms of sex between them would be morally impermissible, given the fact that their limited powers of practical reasoning will often make valid consent well-nigh impossible. As an alternative to the liberal principle of permissible sex, conditions are specified that include the additional consent of caretakers. If people with mental retardation do not have the capacities of practical deliberation required for valid consent, care providers with mature reasoning powers should act as their substitutes. Finally, some important implications for the moral education of future care professionals are spelled out.