The Relationship Between Sexual Taxonomies And Ideas Of The Self

1920 words - 8 pages

The relationship between sexual taxonomies and ideas of the self (e.g. Foucault, Jagose or Halperin)

Sexual Taxonomies are not trans-historical; they are socially and historically situated and created. Sexual taxonomies are the different ideas about what sexuality is and they circulate around contexts, consequently forming identities. When we categorise sexuality it is categorised into heterosexual people and homosexual people but it is widely known that heterosexual is the ‘normal’ and accepted sexuality as “Homosexuality is a deviation from a privileged and naturalised heterosexuality,” (page 72, Annamarie Jagose, 1996). Terms gay, homo and queer do not mean the same things, “The blanket term "homosexual" has a number of different, related but distinct meanings: there are several groups of people who are covered by this term, and there are significant variations between them,” (Melinda Selmys, 2012) this has created sexual taxonomies regarding homosexual people. The simplest definition of a homosexual is person of the same sex being attracted to the same sex. This can become very confusing when identify the self. Historically homosexuality has been masked, ridiculed and not accepted in society even if they share the same qualities as heterosexual people for example “The vast majority of same sex attracted people have some degree of opposite sex attraction as well [and are defined as] a person who [have] an LGBTQ identity,” (Melinda Selmys, 2012). By observing Michael Foucault in the “The History of Sexuality” (1976) as well as Annamarie Jagose & Judith Butler in “Queer in Queer Theory” (1996), we become aware of different ideas/identities of the self. It also shows the debate and hardships homosexuals experience with self-identification and the layering effects these arguments unfold.

Commencing with Foucault “The History of Sexuality” (1976), Foucault argues that sexuality is a construct that is affected by social and cultural origins. “The learned discourse that was pronounced in the nineteenth century was imbued with age-old delusions, but also with systematic blindness’s: a refusal to see and to understand,” (page 55, Michael Foucault, 1976), Foucault explains that homosexuality was never understood or acknowledged in the past due to cultural and social standards. Foucault’s ‘Repressive Hypothesis’ supposes that since the rise of the bourgeoisie, any purely pleasurable activities have been frowned upon. Consequently sex and sexual taxonomy has been seen as a private affair that only happens between husband and wife; sex outside of this realm isn’t completely prohibited it is just repressed (Michael Foucault, 1976). This has created a strong discourse on sexuality today and this is intrinsically connected to self-individuality, and identity; as whoever creates discourse determines what can be known and this effectively determines how we think and who we are (Friedrich Hayek, 1944). Discourse, power and knowledge are all linked in the...

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