Does the subject have a gender?

By Kim Sang Ong-Van-Cung, Kristina Valendinova

This study offers a reconstruction of the way in which the phenomenological description of the body-subject conceives of sexual difference, especially in the work of Merleau-Ponty and Simone de Beauvoir. The phenomenological viewpoint is in fact the only philosophical perspective theorizing sexual deference. Does the ontology of the body-subject manage to explain gender identification and account for sexual difference? Moreover, if being a sexed subject means identifying with a gender and with gender norms, as Judith Butler argues, should we ignore what psychoanalysis contributes to the question of identification, or indeed in what way can we make use of it? This paper shows that gender identification belongs to the order of the performative, akin to a citation of a vivid fragment of a “scene” of desire, which derives its proof from its forgetting (as a citation). Using Spinoza’s notion of the conatus, and in spite of the paradox of the female subject, I am trying to imagine the possibility of gender identification other than melancholic.

  • identification
  • gender
  • the female subject
  • body-subject
  • citation
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