A Myth Beyond the Phallus: Female Fetishism in Kathy Acker’s Late Novels
1 Debates about feminine fetishism have already been happening for pretty much 2 decades now; but there seems to be up to now no opinion in regards to the value of claiming this practice that is particular feminist politics.
Ever since Sarah Kofman’s suggestion that a reading that is derridean of 1927 essay could maybe perhaps not preclude the chance of feminine fetishism (133), “indecidability” has characterized nearly all try to theorize that training. Naomi Schor’s suspicion that is early feminine fetishism could be just the “latest and a lot of delicate type of penis envy” (371) continues to haunt efforts to delimit a particularly feminine manifestation of the perversion commonly grasped, in psychoanalytic terms, become reserved for guys. Subsequent efforts to “feminize” the fetish by Elizabeth Grosz, Emily Apter, and Teresa de Lauretis have actually reiterated Schor’s hesitation about the subject, and none have dispelled totally the shadow of the doubt that is inaugural. Proponents of feminine fetishism seem to have held Baudrillard’s warning that is famous fetish discourse, as well as its capacity to “turn against people who make use of it” (90), securely in your mind.
2 Reviewing a brief history with this debate inside her book that is recent Lessons:
How exactly to Do Things With Fetishism, E. L. McCallum shows that the governmental impasse reached on the value of fetishism’s paradigmatic indeterminacy for feminist politics has arisen, in reality, through your time and effort to determine an solely femalefetishism. In accordance with McCallum, a careful reading of Freud about them reveals that, “The extremely effectiveness of fetishism as a method lies with exactly just just how it (possibly productively) undermines the rigid matrix of binary difference that is sexual indeterminacy…. A male or female fetishism–undercuts fetishism’s strategic effectiveness” (72-73) to then reinscribe fetishism within that same matrix–defining. McCallum’s advocacy of a “sympathetic” epistemological come back to Freud might appear an extremely ironic way to issues about determining feminine fetishism, since those debates arose out from the have to challenge the primary psychoanalytic relationship between fetishism and castration. For Freud, needless to say, the fetish is built out from the young boy’s effort to disavow their mother’s obvious castration, and also to change her missing penis. In this part, it functions as being a “token of triumph on the risk of castration and a security against it” (“Fetishism” 154). Kofman’s initial discussion of female fetishism arises away from her reading of Derrida’s Glas as a formal dual erection, by which each textual column will act as an “originary health health supplement” perhaps not influenced by castration (128-29). Yet many theorists of female fetishism have actually followed Kofman in attacking the connection between castration and fetishism (a notable exclusion is de Lauretis), McCallum’s work to read through Freudian fetishism as a method of wearing down binary types of gender distinction resonates aided by the techniques of a writer whose contribution to debates about feminine fetishism moved to date unnoticed. Kathy Acker’s postmodernist fiction clearly negotiates the issue of going back to Freud’s concept of fetishism so that you can affirm the likelihood of the female fetish, also to erode old-fashioned intimate and gender hierarchies. As a result, it gives a forum when the aspire to assert a fetishism that is specifically female face-to-face with McCallum’s sympathetic return, while additionally providing an oblique commentary from the work of Schor, Apter, and de Lauretis, whom utilize fictional texts given that basis because of their theoretical conclusions. Acker’s novels show proof of a want to mix a concept of feminine fetishism with a aware fictional training.