Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger
. . . Feminine difference is formulated in that theory via the couple: phallus/castration, or else 'woman' is articulated in terms of bribes of nature, pure events of jouissance. She is Other-Thing-part object/Objet a, an autistic hole in the Real with no means to proclaim an-other desire and to subjectivize the Real's events (6). For the classical Lacanian psychoanalysis, woman is a subject of course, but by virtue of her participation in what we may call the inside-the-phallus subjectivizing stratum (7) where she can mark her resistance by incarnating a masquerade. Behind "the mask of womanliness", she is "either...castrated (lifeless, incapable of pleasure) or (as) wishing to castrate" (Joan Rivière) (8), while some obscure 'femininity' still hovers behind like a phantom, forever enigmatic. Any glimpses we capture of this phantom is rejected as mystical or crazy, and any crazy glimpses of it are irremediable.
Though Lacan sticks to the phallus up until the end of his teaching, the more he structures 'woman' as the objet a, the Other or the Thing, the more a supplementary space unfolds in a counter theoretical move (9) where behind the symbolic Phallus that regulates sex difference he seeks after a sense that resonates straight from the Real - a joui-sense - and looks for new forms of psychic inscription. But with no symbol to encompass this sense and with no passageway beyond metaphor and metonymy to deliver its meaning, and with no process beyond castration to in-form desire, it is inaccessible to knowledge. Whether a Woman-Other-Thing or a 'woman'-product of the Real's non-sense, equated with the elusive almost-nothing objet a, woman still automatically reinforces the phallus, as its product.
Copyright © 1999, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger, all rights reserved