New Voices Talk Series – Women and their body (4)

Cornelia Möser: “Sexual bodies. On desire and pleasure in feminist and LGBTQ thoughts”

On the 12th of January, at 4 pm (German time/CET), we will have the pleasure to hear Cornelia Möser on Sexual bodies. On desire and pleasure in feminist and LGBTQ thoughts.

Abstract: When feminists speak about sexuality they sometimes refer to social and political power structure, sometimes to procreation, others speak about pleasure practices or subcultures and even others refer to questions of identity. At the example of the body, these disparities in feminist thought regarding sexuality become even more evident. While the body has been of crucial interest in feminist and LGBTQ thought, it has only rarely been addressed explicitly and many times in quite negative fashion as Simone de Beauvoir’s very negative views on procreation or menstruation. But also Monique Wittig’s writings on the lesbian body struggle with negative association regarding women’s bodies and more particularly desire between them. It was the so called French feminist school and namely Luce Irigaray and Hélène Cixous that tried to find resources for resistance in the female body and its supposed refusal to submit to the rule of the One imposed by phallocracy. Their writings inspired postmodern and queer studies to inquire new views on the sexual body, on differences between female bodies but also on the possibility of finding lust and pleasure in these bodies. Susan Bordo’s work has become canonical in this sense. In this talk I would like to retrace some of the ways in which the body has been thought of in feminist theories on sexuality in discussing first the body in feminist struggles with psychoanalysis, second, I will address the ways in which the feminist sex wars brought the topic of pleasure back into feminist views on sexuality and gender and, third, I would like to present more recent perspectives on the sexual body including the questions of race and of validity. Can we still find revolutionary potential in our sexual and desiring bodies today?

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