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Luce Irigaray is one of the earliest Lacanian psychoanalysts who believed in the possibility of achieving a new, exclusively female

economy. My paper will deal with two of her essays, This Sex Which Is Not One and When the Goods Get Together, both of which can be seen to be harsh critiques of the famous psychoanalyst, Freud, seen by many critics as possibly an attempt to undo womens essential lack. Although the two essays are not oppositely placed, i shall look at each of them individually, not without relating one to the other. THIS SEX WHICH IS NOT ONE The links that irigaray makes between philosophy, psychoanalysis, language and womens sexuality become clear in This Sex Which is Not One. She points out that psychoanalysis ignores sexual different iation in language and gendered power relations in the world. Whatever has been said or written about female sexuality is only under the parameters of what male sexuality is defined as. For instance, the practice of masculine sexuality requires that a woman gain pleasure from vaginal intercourse, which is viewed as feminine and passive, rather than clitoral manipulation, which is viewed as masculine and active, since it is through vaginal intercourse that men are able to have an orgasm and thus gain their own pleasure. Irigaray critiques the notion of the female normativisation, which states that a woman possesses alternative characteristics in the process of becoming a normal woman, either the virile clitoral activity or the feminine vaginal passivity, out of which the pleasure derived from the vagina is considered normal for a woman. It would do well to explain here that the vagina has been considered only a hollowed-out phallus and a sheath to provide pleasure to the man when he moves from masturbation to sexual intercourse. Irigaray goes on to say that this notion of pleasure that requires the woman to desire a penis since she lacks it, does not involve female pleasure and is foreign to the kind of pleasure that female sexuality is based on. But the question is, is it possible to realise this pleasure in a dominant male libidinal economy that seeks to constantly repress womens sexuality? To this, irigaray would say that it IS possible to realise the true female pleasure but that, she would say later in the essay, can happen only by shunning heterosexual pleasures. She says since the time of Greeks females have been made only facilitators in male pleasure and it might be difficult to retrieve them from obscurity into full pleasure -seeking beings. She can be seen making an effort to create an all-feminine economy by placing feminine auto-eroticism in precisely those somatic zones where Freud locates a lack, the female genitals. Female homosexuality, which was based on the model of male sexuality by Freud (which will also figure in the next essay), is seen by irigaray as a possible space for allowing a female libidinal economy to exist, undermining the phallic economy. She states that female pleasure is self-sufficient, the female sex organs touch and retouch themselves to generate autoerotic love, unlike male sexual pleasure which requires some stimulus to activate eroticism. Irigaray also mentions that maybe the prostituted pleasure that woman has to experience in this kind of Occidental sexuality is even desired by her. But that is not because she enjoys it but because: a) She has no other desire than to gain the phallic organ through any means b) As a result of this, she has forgotten/ or has never experienced what feminine pleasure in itself stands for. Heterosexual intercourse is shown to interrupt and disrupt female pleasure of touch. In the essay, luce irigaray explains why the female sex organ is a useless, almost a no-sex-organ by describing the phallic economy as a scopic one, where everything that can be gazed at has value and all that that cannot be seen is horrifying. Like she says, in this system of representation and desire, the vagina is a flaw. This is a culture that values individuation, differentiation and enumeration. In such a system, the female sex organ, since it has many erogenous zones and more than a single name, more than just a proper noun, cannot be represented and thus has to be made obscure. Or as Freud would have it, relegated to the unconscious. The woman then as said by Lacan really does not actually exist. The most important point that is made in the essay is that the womans desire is multiple and diffuse, which is to say that i t is totally in opposition to what male sexual pleasure entails- the one and only organ, the phallus, which has to be taken as the norm. It is easy to explain what multiplicity does to the male economy. The Freudian paradigm of sexuality is phallomorphic in that male sexuality is based on having a penis, a single sex organ, while female sexuality is based on having nothing or zero. Yet, Freud himself separates the female sexual organs into at least two parts, the clitoris, which he views as a little penis and the vagina, which is simply a hole that the penis goes into in order to facilitate ejaculation. So the binary opposition becomes one of penis/nothing, clitoris, vagina. Therefore the binary explodes; the system has exploded due to the multiplicity and plurality within it. It is clear, thus, why the womans organs have to be devalued, since she is neither one nor two.

Further, the idea of womans pleasure being based in motherhood is also undermined by irigaray by her subversion of the Oedipal complex. She proves the Oedipal complex artificial in an economy where heterosexual relations are just an extension of or retreat to unmet childhood needs. She seeks to separate womans pleasure from her reproductive capabilities, for she says, maternal instinct is centred on the need to acquire a phallus, the only valuable organ to have. Womans pleasure not only would lie in jouissance but she has sex organs just about everywhere. The multiplicity of her pleasure makes her alien in this civilisation overly obsessed with Sameness and Oneness. So much so that, even her language appears incoherent to this culture. She is temperamental and incomprehensible, not because she speaks a different language, but because her language entails multiplicity, different points of pain and pleasure. In contrast to the masculine construct of language, which is rational, linear and privileged by the patriarchal culture, a woman's language is filled with ebb and flow, multiple beginnings, and multiple paths. Even in her own writing, Irigaray undercuts all norms of syntax, uses dense language, mostly difficult to comprehend and turning back within itself. The French Feminist talks of the nature of a womans experience of herself in a masculine economy. Being repressed in the system, she can only experience herself as a fragment, as an other and a mirror to the man. Freud states this desire to please and serve the man as sadomasochism in the woman and equates it to female pleasure. Irigaray questions this notion of masochistic pleasure by pointing out that women in the sexual imaginary of Western culture have always been a male fantasy, hence masochism is something forced on women by culture, not a quality inherent within them. The types of womens pleasures are unidentified in sexual difference as imagined in this economy. Even the idea of female orgasm is non-existent in the Freudian notion of sexuality. Woman can only suffer lack, atrophy and penis envy. Irigaray, refuting the ideas of penis envy and lack, proposes that adult women can challenge Oedipisation by homosexual and auto-erotic practice. In female homosexuality, the Oedipus complex has been subverted by the refusal to reject the mothers body. The imaginary that commands Occidental sexuality is totally foreign to the female: for instance, the attention given to erection, causing male rivalry. Realising the impossibility of playing out female auto-eroticism in the classic representation of sexuality, irigaray envisions a sexuality and a system based on excess and plurality, one in which females and males relate to one another directly. A system based on female sexuality, she says, would counter vision with touch and would lessen distance between people unlike the system that places value upon the gaze. It is clear from her conclusive statements that just a reversal of power in the sexual economy is not what she wants. Unless heterosexual pleasure is not given up, women will continue to be suppressed in the phallic economy, through what she calls proletarization (of women) on the trade market. The idea of the trade market brings me to the second essay by her, When The Goods Get Together. This essay appeared to me as a telling critique of the nexus of sexism, psychoanalysis and capitalism. I will just enumerate some points that emerged out of this critique. WHEN THE GOODS GET TOGETHER Luce Irigaray talks of a dominant philosophical logos which had the power to reduce all others to the economy of the Same. It is manifested as a dominant phallic economy which is described as homosexual, rooted in singularity and characterised by censure. Proving that all relations, then, are homosexual, Irigaray calls the heterosexual relations in the male economy pretentious. She has to say in the beginning of the essay that, the trade that organises patriarchal societies takes place exclusi vely among men. Even heterosexual relations, says jane gallop, would appear in such a system as a mediated form of homosexuality, since even the exchange of women occurs just between men. Irigaray would believe that as a sexual practice between the same, homosexuality becomes indicative of patriarchys fundamental refusal or fear of difference. But also, overt masculine homosexual relations are subversive, says she, because it lays the social law according to which society operates bare for interpretation, which appears as a threat to the law: once the penis itself becomes a mere means to pleasure, pleasure among men, the phallus loses its power. Explicating why trade relations only among men are necessarily endogamous but pretend to be exoga mous in nature, she says that there is a need to hide the incest and the possibility of practising it nowhere else but in language. As mentioned before, language for irigaray is a major oppressive tool in the male libidinal economy and is backed by disciplines like psychoanalysis, which ignore the idea of female pleasure other than in terms of the female phallic desire. What is interesting is that irigaray does not fail to talk of exclusively female relations in such an economy. Relation between women or a womans feeling for the other in this economy would signify maleness in the desiring woman. Since it is through male norms of desire that her desire is prefigured, so the moment a woman speaks/ desires she is a male and a

male homosexual at that. What is put into trouble then is the psychoanalysts interpretation. Here, the main critique is of Freuds theories of homosexuality in which female homosexuality does not even appear once. Woman, being the transaction between men, never had been thought of as a desiring being. Female homosexuality, as irigaray would have it, is a concept foreign to the imaginary of the psychoanalyst. The female homosexual thus has always been thought of as having developed a virile character or simply of having beco me a man. I quote irigaray, The dominant socio-cultural economy permits female homosexuals only the choice between a sort of animality that freud seems to disavow or the mime of masculine models. The interplay of desire among womens bodies, sexes and speech is inconceivable in the dominant socio-cultural economy. The attribution of virility or hermaphrodite characters to the female homosexual, among many other things, easily suggests what Diana fuss calls psychoanalytic phallicism. Theorising on homosexuality and psychoanalysis, irigaray introduces into the essay again the idea of property, propriety and ownership by appropriately referring to women as goods exchanged from one man to another. And then negates it saying, The feminine libidinal economy is not based on possession, on trading; the basis of it is multiplicity. Here again, the only way out of this phallic logic is to renounce everything that is masculine by refusing to go to market as goods, by forging relations that are not based on power and possession but on abundance and enjoyment. And although she calls her own vision utopic, it is worth desiring to envision an economy free not only of repressive sexual relations but also of the objectifying ends of capitalisation.