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08-02-2006
  1
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Multitudes's Avatar
 
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"Elusive Butterfly": what is woman, Femininity and that shimmering on the surface...
As the titile suggest I would like to start an discussion on femininity and what is woman... I will outline certain ideas and suggest things that you moght not be able to relate to, but that shouldn't keep you from responding your ideas on this subject and realte it to anything you want...

In western dominant cultures/societies the woman has been defined through her body, her ability to reproduce, the household, nature or said in another way 'the eternal feminine', while the male has been defined by truth, intellect, power, culture, language, representation and sexuality or to use freuds useable term 'Phallos'..
So to call dominant western cultures "pallagocentric" is not fare away, because the rules and definitions has been set by the male...
What I want to propose here is a way to formulate an alternative account of feminity, one which aims at disturbing a phallogocentric model constructed around a framework of dualism, because what wouldn't be better to formulate a feminity which is not constructed and defined through dominant male terms and rules and escaping those residence of surveillance...

Ofcourse this discussion is not a new one, so I'm gonna bring two philosophers/thinkers into play which I hold dear and also reference a couple of voices from other who can't keep there mouth shut...
Irigaray(you might know if you are familiar with feminist theory) and Derrida both turns to the concept of dance as a means by which to indicate non-phallogocentric being. But unlike Irigaray, derrida is keen to avoid any notion of the 'eternal Feminine". Instead, he uses the metaphor of dance as a means by which to get a certain unfixing of a 'truth' of femininity, and claims that dancing 'is the deplacement of women'. he therefore relates dancing to the destabilisation of sexual categories, including the category of 'woman' as an unproblematic basis for a revolutionary feminist politics.
What he reads into the dance, are the possibilities for disrupting established 'spaces' and escaping the male surveillance. Dancing therefor becomes a metaphor through which to imagine a certain disorganisation of subjectivity. I will post some pictures oif two female choreographers work, Pina Bausch and Anne Teresa De keersmaeker, which i think takes on the dominat male paradigms...

Baudrillard is another one who's keen to join in on thoughts on femininity is Baudrillard, who for most occupies him self with female seduction, because for him seduction is female, in proportion to the dominant male sexuality. Where the male as sex is based on the distinction and the contrast, while the female as sex is not seen as the opposite of this, but that, which is beyond this contradiction. This is not, claims Baudrillard, realised by the feminist. They see them selfs through male paradigms and focuses especially on the female pleasure and the specific female bodily experience. but then they forget, that a womans most powerful weapon towards the man lies in the control of surface and the skin, which captures the male desire, and not in taken over of the male deep lying meaning, on the behind the scene bodily truth. When the woman moves from her status as (sexual)object to the priviledge male staus as subject, lord and master, then she loses exacttly that power of seduction, which alone can bring the male universe of production, truth and sexuality to fall apart.

This hole idea of this thread came when Model_Mom asked me this Question "So you like the ladies that say yes sir and no sir and 'Do you need your slippers dear?" and I answrede her "No I don't like obedience... I like a woman who knows there edge... Which is the thing that makes them women... I can't define it, and that is exactly what is the beauty of it, It's something that is shimmering on the surface, that draws you in and at the same time escapes you, a fluidity in movement and quality, that destabilizes any sexual categories, not bound to any truth, sexuality or other definable mechanisms that men has constructed to hold things into place, a possibility for disrupting established spaces and escaping 'those residence under surveillance'.. a history not based upon continuities, dualism and consensus, but a 'dream of the innumerable'... a movement based upon dissymetri and multiplicity... hence my name... Multitudes.."

The.."Elusive Butterfly" which I have to say thank you to Model_Mom for that beautiful image

I have now outlined some ideas and suggestion on what is woman and feminity... and maybe some ways to escape defing the female under dominat male paradigms... and maybe all this doesn't make sense at all... but I dare you to play this game... come on... react!!!!

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08-02-2006
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The work of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

from carmen.demunt.be
Attached Images
File Type: jpg GetBlob-2.jpg (26.0 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg GetBlob-3.jpg (16.1 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg GetBlob-4.jpg (25.8 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg GetBlob-5.jpg (21.0 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg GetBlob.jpg (12.4 KB, 2 views)

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08-02-2006
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The work of Pina Bausch

www.pinabausch.de
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File Type: jpg fogo_color2a.JPG (34.3 KB, 198 views)
File Type: jpg galler3.jpg (78.1 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg nelken_color1.jpg (36.2 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg klein06.jpg (2.3 KB, 198 views)
File Type: jpg jr_pinabausch_nelken_peeling_500.jpg (41.1 KB, 0 views)

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08-02-2006
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I'm pretty sure I am suppose to reply to this ...but you are going to have to kick it down a couple of notches into ideas and concepts the rest of us can understand.....then we might take you up on that dare.

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08-02-2006
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Model_Mom or anybody else who feels that what i have suggest here is foreign language for them, can ask you is there anything you can relate to or react to at all?

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08-02-2006
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ummm.... the pictures are beautiful.

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08-02-2006
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Oooohhh Model-Mom you make me laugh

Ok let me ask you a couple of questions.... What is woman? and what is femininity?... for you...

and I would still like if anybody can find something they can relate or react to in my original post, to do that...

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08-02-2006
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Well let me see...

The concept of what is woman has changed over time. The original concept was that the woman kept house while the man hunted...but that got old pretty quick. The idea came to her that there has got to be more to life than this and she stuck her head out the door and tried to imitate what the man was doing, but that didn't make her happy either. Then she proceeded to do the balancing act of having it all... the job,making the man happy, the kids happy and and forgetting about what made her happy.... then the idea came to her that maybe I don't have to have the kids and the man,maybe i just need to figure out who I am and when she did that everything else fell in place.

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Last edited by model_mom; 08-02-2006 at 10:11 PM.
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08-02-2006
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great answer model_mom!

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08-02-2006
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i'm not convinced that dance destablizes notions of femininity...how is that so? i do know that in certain societies, the roles of what is masculine and feminine are different from that of western society and so that debunks the notion that what is "masculine" or "feminine" is somehow biologically determined. For example, the Fulani males dress themselves up and make up their faces before performing certain male ritual dances and take great care to put their own seductive powers into play to attract Fulani females. thus proving that powers of seduction are not wholly the realm of females (which you should know my dear multitudes ). But here the fulani are described as inverting the masculine/feminine duality and not necessarily disrupting it. i think that dance CAN BE a site of destablization of gender roles but is not necessarily so. just as fashion provides a site of possible destablization (just look at the androgyny thread). but show me some more pix maybe i can be convinced. i'm sure such instances exist and i would love to find out where. i mainly find that attempts to destabilize notions of feminity actually end up reinscribing them. Does the movie Thelma and Louise, for example, somehow represent a different (feminist) image of women...or simply reinforce the dichotomy by having them behave in male ways (toting guns) and then dying at the end as punishment for stepping outside of gender norms...?

i can see why you like Madonna, mulititudes, because she is one woman who feminists like Paglia argued provided a view of "woman" that defied norms...but she has become such the dutiful wife that i now hate to bring her up as an example but i guess even dutiful wife is one of the multiplicities of womanhood that Madonna has allowed herself to portray and embody....

anyway...my 2 cents...:p there's more thinking to be done on this...
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Last edited by electricladyland; 08-02-2006 at 11:18 PM.
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08-02-2006
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.. Model_Mom and Electricladyland...I'm so excited here... I will get back to your both tomorrow... and comment... yes think...more... but i really need to go to bed and I don't wanna do a half a sleep comment on both of your brilliant replies...

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09-02-2006
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i dont think im bright enough to answer this question (or to comprehend the original post), but multitudes i adore your avatar.

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09-02-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweets
i dont think im bright enough to answer this question (or to comprehend the original post), but multitudes i adore your avatar.
i know exactly how you feel sweets i don't think i'm bright enough either.. especially after reading electricladyland's post....

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09-02-2006
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i was talking about gender not being black or white but shades of gray. i think that multitudes and i are agreeing that the shades of gray are the most interesting sites of exploration of gender identities...

i love playing in the gray ...in the in-between space...in the liminal...the space between spaces...

multitudes you seem focused on the feminine...(for obvious reasons) but can we talk about the feminine without bringing in the masculine? masculinity can be just as elusive...yet just as embodied and real...

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09-02-2006
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I agree with electric; I think that dance as displacement of woman may just be an outdated concept...women are doing it all over the place now not just in dance.

Insofar as dance involves a journey deep into the soul and is an expression of that--as with all art-- I can see how it would help in redefining the concept of woman though. The soul is genderless and has more colours than the rainbow; I think "defying norms" is not enough...our only hope of debunking gender roles is to just to keep coming back to the individual, the soul.

I had a super-feminist education, but I realized that the only way to find true freedom and identity AS a woman--true feminism if you will-- is to listen to my own core being...neither the male-dominated society nor the feminist discourse. I no longer think we can discuss femininity or masculinity except as very localized cultural constructs or biologically based ideas.

I'm terribly sleepy too...I'm rambling...I'll be back tomorrow. Nighty night!


Last edited by Melisande; 09-02-2006 at 12:56 PM.
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