Esther’s Space- journey through my life

March 26, 2007

No Greg, it’s foo-coe, not foe-cat

Filed under: THEORY 330 — estherspace @ 7:29 am

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Picture this: Esther and Greg are released from employment at the holding cell (aka public library) on Friday evening, and walk hand-in-hand towards the bus stop (environmentally friendly….out of necessity), each holding their exciting literary finds of the day. They sit, and he eagerly pulls out his book and flips between the maps depicting something exciting to a select few, I think it was William Wallace’s campaigns in Scotland in 1297 and 1298. She sighs and pulls out her Cambridge Companion to Foucault and opens to the editor’s introduction, only to find that “my introduction issues a warning against general interpretations of Foucault’s work…” (Gutting vii). To begin like this is to be (un)successful throughout.

Perhaps it is because I’m taking a Victorian Lit. class and we have totally done the Foucault thing, but it all seems like tired rhetoric to me.  I think that it obvious that once something is made subversive it is given power in that if it is done, it is defying authority (1648).  Not too much argument there.  Of course we have developed specific discourses to discuss sexuality.  Of course they are not ‘natural’ means of dealing with natural sexuality and are instead toys of language.  What else would they be.  One point where I disagree is that he mentions that discussion of sexuality was commonplace in society until individuals began to curtail it and make it a taboo topic in the  17th century.  Except for the fact that there is the 6th Commandment, “thou shalt not commit adultery” (1660).  While Foucault argues that once people began to regulate sexuality the seemingly simple statement of the 6th Commandment became increasingly hard to understand because it does not specifically look at homosexual or sodomic (is that the proper conjugation?) acts, the fact is that the 6th Commandment intended for one man and one woman to be married and have sexual relations with only each other.  duh.

And, of course, this controlled discourse is still continuing, especially in the schools: as illustrated by this Boston Globe article,  schools are only beginning to recognize the emergence of an beginning to teach about same-sex families.  However, as Foucault stated, it is not only what is being said, but also what is not being said and how it was avoided.  By not having instruction about the same-sex family it continued to view homosexuality as subversive. However, as talked about here, hetero-sexual based sex education in schools may make schools more dangerous for homosexual students-where’s that subversive power at?.

And, the age-old debate about teaching sex in schools: The numerous discourses are evident when it comes to the debate over teaching sex ed. in schools.  It is what is being said, what is not being said, and what others argue should be said that is shaping the current attitudes towards sexuality in America….and for a new approach that is helping to shape this discourse, or, more likely, creating a new one is the UK’s new ideas for reducing teen pregnancy: experimentation with oral sex.  Oh, the discourses go ’round and ’round.


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