Re: Judith Butler

I think this accurate clarification about the de-naturalization (de
biologization) of sex/sexuality. butler's is a politics that seeks to
ground the politics of normalcy on a philosophy of social constructionism,
which does not at all eliminate the debate, struggle and contestation over
what counts as normal sex/sexuality. but, I question your ascription of what
"butler" thinks about sex between adults and children. you could have as
easily resorted to the example of cliterectomy and related practices as one
of those socionatural practices that someone like butler would say "this is
not normal/politically acceptable". but i think "we" should ask her what
her take actually IS on such practices before assuming or projecting that
her foucaultian/poststructuralist feminism is grounded on a standpoint feminism.

regarding clitorectomy & related, i certainly am too ignorant of specific
practices that are SO HIGHLY/HOTLY CONTESTED to say I am universally opposed
or unequivocally in favor. likewise with adult/child sex.

and this noncommittment is not a default in favor or default against. it is
a position that seeks to understand the sociohistorical specifics and
particularities -- call it historical particularism and cultural relativism
if you want, but its not "a default" pro position.

regarding adult/child sex, does anyone know of Gilbert herdt's work on the
Samba of new guinea? if so, please correct my minimally informed
re-representation of one simple fact: here is a society where male youth
must swallow a certain amount of semen from the adult males on a regular
basis in order to become fully adult male-- to attain psychological and
phstyical growth.. females are not allowed oral ingestion of semen until
after marriage. hert and stoller describe "erotic pleaseure" (i.e., =
western sexuality??) as based on oppositional assymetries; marriage bet.
opposite "sex"ed partners is the most symmetric.

Are we to abhor, illegalize such practices in of themselves because they
involve "minors"!!!!

I think that rhetorical appeals to such ultimate "unacceptables"/"abnormal"
practices such as adult/child sex, clitorectomies and others should be
avoided. they belie a morality that remains unquestioned and unjudged as
one is apparently arguing for an evaluation of moralities.

Regarding Butler, she is certainly not an anthropologist but both in her
gender trouble and bodies that matter, she DOES at key points acknowledges
the unquestioned WESTERN presuppositions by pointing out that there are in
fact OTHER CULTURAL WORLDS!!! so, I am not at all sure that Butler would
take the standpoint position you rhetorically suggested by alluding to a
moral foundation and political ground; i do not know what position she would
take, but i can read what position you have taken on such an issue.

At 02:38 PM 5/14/96 -0700, you wrote:
> You are indeed correct that a purely social constructivist
>position does not end the normal-abnormal debate. Such things as normal
>and abnormal sexuality are themselves social constructions, social norms
>categorizing normal and abnormal behavior. The point of Butler's jettisoning
>of the biological, is to remove one of the common elements in which socially
>constructed ideas of normality and abnormality are founded. If one can
>change the discourse surrounding sexuality by convincing others that
>sexuality itself is a social construction, then one can begin to change
>the definitions of normality and abnormality, to perhaps, open the way for
>greater sexual freedom, by removing biology as an inherent limit on sexuality.
>Does this mean that the normal-abnormal distinction (on a moral plane) will
>be done away completely, I have my doubts about this, and I doubt that
>Butler would want all such distinctions to be removed. Are we to call
>sex with young children just another sexuality freely revealing itself, I
>think not, and I think Butler would agree. Are we to call homosexual
>realtions between consenting adults an aspect of sexual freedom
(undeserving of the distinction normal and abnormal), I think so, and I
think Butler would

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