Feminism studies: Compare and contrast two competing accounts of ‘sexual difference’ – between Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 (Posted 15 years, 7 months ago)

Part – 5 Bringing new thoughts

‘Sexual difference’ as a ‘burning issue’ has been controversial since the end of last century. Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler are two of the most influential feminist thinkers who hold different opinions of how society has changed the concept of ‘women’ and also deconstructed ‘sexual difference’ among humanity. I have been studying those differences by analyzing key terms such as ‘culture over nature’, sex and gender and ‘sexual difference’. It seems that Irigaray’s theory was based on a historical point of view, which rejected Freudian theory of binary opposition of ‘women’ and ‘men’. She emphasises women’s value and position in the western society in the 1980’s. Conversely, Butler focuses on the ‘multiplicity’ of ‘gender identity’, whose argument seems more relevant to ‘sexual difference’ in general (with respect to racism and homosexuality) today.

While Irigaray and Butler are fundamental to Western thought, in my opinion, Globalization has broken the boundaries between people who have different identities and come from different cultures. In this sense, people who are from non-western cultures may have various opinions about ‘sexual difference’, which may bring new insights to the discussion.

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