8 Mar 2014
♀ The Purloined Sex (from E.R.O.S - Woman, by Nina Power, 2013) ♀
'The problem, simply stated, is that one must believe in the existence of the person in order to recognize the authenticity of her suffering. Neither men nor women believe in the existence of women as significant beings.' - Andrea Dworkin
'The wounds, deprivations and suffering women suffer today - as simultaneously as lovers, workers, wives, mothers - have crystalized themselves for me in the image of decapitation.' - Julia Kristeva
'But here we might ask: What is left when the body rendered coherent through the category of sex is disaggregated, rendered chaotic? Can this body be re-membered, be put back together again?' - Judith Butler
What does it mean to say that more than 50% of the world's population suffers from a lack of existence? That this majority is - somehow - without a head? That this headless body is itself then further taken apart and its recomposition the object of a pessimistic question? What does the word 'woman' mean outside of its purely 'othering' qualities - not man, no longer girl? And yet 'women' are everywhere, as a shorthand for a visual and structural 'otherness' that renders the category split among even (or especially) those who are supposed to inhabit the role: you have to care not only what 'kind' of woman you are, but also how this type operates as a relation - one is not born, but typifies a woman, and then you still have to 'become' one on top of that too. What a ridiculous amount of work required, oscillating between essence and existence, only to fail constantly! Meanwhile, an all-pervasive neutrality operates at the heart of Man, where this identity disappears ever-effortlessly into the purloined letter of gender, written in invisible ink. Hidden in plain sight and that sight itself obscured.
♀ • ♀ • ♀
Artwork by Rosemarie Trockel, 'Replace me'