[en construction/under construction]
Simone de Beauvoir
Emilie du Châtelet
Olympe de Gouges
Written by Emily Jones/écrit par Emily Jones (SOAS, UK)
Luce Irigaray’s work spans a multitude of subjects. Whilst primarily being based in philosophy/psychoanalytic studies, her work has also included structural linguistics and, more recently, theories of education and religious studies. Her first book, Speculum of the Other Woman was published in 1974 and she has continued to publish until the present day. She has made a number of great contributions to both feminist theory and continental philosophy. She has also been active in the Italian feminism movement.
Whilst formerly a student of Lacan, Irigaray angered Lacan with the publication of her first book which critiqued the exclusion of women from discourse and looked towards uncovering women’s voices, engaging with key works of psychoanalysis and philosophy including Freud and Plato. Irigaray’s work, whilst varied, largely seeks to uncover the hidden feminine. Therefore, she states that, whilst women have traditionally become subjects through assuming the male subject-position, a subject-position in the feminine does not yet exist. Thus, there is an absence of a true sexual difference in Western culture.
Irigaray offers a number of solutions in trying uncover the hidden feminine of discourse, often working with/through the works of key philosophers by either mimicking (yet changing) them or directly speaking to these work’s. Irigaray is also widely known for the use of strategic essentialism in her work. For Irigaray therefore, there is a need to look towards the two, the differences between them and to be in conversation between the two, in order for transformation.
Le Mouvement de libération des femmes (women’s liberation movement) – activist group which begun around the 1960s and continues to the present day.