Thursday, October 20, 2005


comentary to come

In New Left Review 34 (July August/2005), Slavoj Zizek uses women's sexual rights (or women's human rights) as the illustration of the phallacy of liberal takes on rights.

He also says that appeals to human rights in liberal-capitalist societies rest on three assumptions: 1) that righs are in opposition to fundamentalism; 2) most basic rights are freedom of choice and pursuit of pleasure; 3) human rights are a defense against excess of power.

"The opposition between the liberal-tolerant West anda fundamentalist Islam is most often condensed as that between, on one side, a woman's right to free sexuality, including the freedom to display or expose herself and to provoke or disturb men; and, on the other side, desperate male attempts to suppress or control this threat.....For the West, women's right to expose themselves provocatively to male desire is legitimized as their right to enjoy their bodies as they please. For Islam, the control of female sexuality is legitimized as the defence of women's dignity against their being reduced to objects of male exploitation." (119)

E.g., prohibiting girls in France from wearing the headscarf "did not participate in the game of making their bodies available for sexual seduction".

"In one way or another, all the other issues -- gay marriage and adoption, abortion, divorce -- relate to this."

"What the two poles share is a strict disciplinary approach, differently directed: 'fundamentalists' regulate female self-presentation to forestall sexual provocation; PC feminist liberals impose a no-less-severe regulation of behavior aimed at containing forms of sexual harassment."

Where to begin with this mash of confusion, bad logic, and fantasy? When to begin: later.