Speaking of sex .... an investigation into sexuality and language as oppressing patriarchal organisations

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Loynton, Esther
Issue Date
BA in English Literature and Drama
Dublin Business School
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The aim of this Final Year Project is the investigation of the feminist conception that women are oppressed sexually and linguistically. The text treats both everyday actions as patriarchal organisations. The continued oppression and imposed silence of women is vital in the survival of masculine society. Human's position to the phallus influences our entrance into society and thus language, which incorporates sexual ideologies. Lacan explains that this cultural entrance is due to the father's prohibition of the mother/child dyad and the child's eventual renunciation of the mother. The father provokes the infant to enter into a symbolic world, which incorporates signs, fixed meanings and logic. Therefore, we enter into this rational world through the father (patriarchal). Women are innately placed within the passive sectors of culture. They are less competitive and more co-operative than their male counter-parts (Cameron, 1985). This text offers reason for female passivity and outlines feminist movements in the struggle for reformation. The following chapters use psychoanalysis, literature and cultural studies to examine the current state of society. The text unites psychologists, psychoanalysts, linguists, semanalysts and feminists in order to define woman's place/role in language and sexuality and thus civilisation. Although Freud and Lacan disagree on many topics, both believe that the phallus is the most prized possession in culture, calling it 'the master signifier'. This Final Year Project investigates what effect this 'universally' unconscious knowledge has on the common concepts of woman and her place in society (what is woman?). There is no doubt that women are, as de Beauvoir claims, the second sex. The investigation poses the question of 'how did they become so?' through a close look into the formations of sexuality and language. These innate human functions are controlled by patriarchal institutions, which create meaning and order as opposed to woman's irrationality and emotional outbursts. The Final Year Project also posits the royal road to the possible restructuring of patriarchy.