The Objectification Of Sex

Using Bataille and Foucault, connect Bataille’s criticisms of psychoanalysis in Erotismto Foucault analyses of the scientific discourses on sex starting in the 18th century.

Bataille pursues quite a number of themes related to sexuality, while trying to challenge the discourse on the erotic. The subjects that he largely focuses on are cruelty, prostitution, and mythical ecstasy. For Bataille, the most important thing is the precise moment when a woman stops from being simply a woman irrespective of whether she is a prostitute or a very close lover. This acts as the starting point for Bataille’s criticism of psychoanalysis. Bataille argues that it comes a time when a woman should maintain her status reduced to an erotic object. However, in her thoughts, Bataille challenges the significance of desire as well as the division of different sexes. According to Bataille, looking at women as victims of sexism, largely misinterprets the role that they play in sexual symbolism are pointed out in the traditional cultures. This is to say that, Bataille’s women frequently disabuse themselves of the roles assigned to them as ‘women’ in the society, becoming queer, and sliding between different categories of sexes. In this regard, the issue of sexism does not become one of discrimination, but one of discovery where women have been found to assume very queer roles due to their inability to consider men as objects of desire (Bataille, 2001).

Bataille’s criticism of psychoanalysis in Erotism has some relationship with Foucault analyses of the scientific discourses on sex starting in the 18th century. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, diverse discourses on sexuality emerged in the fields of medicine, psychiatry, criminal justice, and pedagogy. According to Foucault, the domain of sexuality within modern societies has been constructed as being problematic to interpret. Majority of researchers now try to uncover the truth of sex and all secrets behind it. The main possibility that exists is that sexual discourses are meant to provide a strong foundation for imperatives that are meant to eradicate unproductive forms of sexuality. Foucault claims that these discourses serve to eliminate fruitless pleasures, but not non-conjugal and monogamous sexualities (Renaud, 2013).


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