Looking out for sex positivity when reading Shakespeare

Just a very quick entry today, as I am doing a show all this week (I am the SM, which sounds so much kinkier than it actually is, but is still loads of fun), and am panicking madly about an essay. Fairly standard. But in doing reading for said essay (it’s on Antony And Cleopatra, which is a feminist minefield, make no mistake), I came across this quotation which basically sums up everything this blog is about:

‘What remains most completely prohibited to woman, of course, is that she should express something of her own sexual pleasure. This latter is supposed to remain a “realm” of discourse, produced by men. For in fact feminine pleasure signifies the greatest threat of all to masculine discourse, represents its most irreducible “exteriority”, or “extraterritoriality”.’– Luce Irigaray, 1985, This Sex Which Is Not One

So there you go. Female sexuality and enjoyment of sexuality (or, at least, admission of that enjoyment) terrifies men. This is pretty clear all the way through Antony And Cleopatra, and I would love to say we have moved on a bit, but since I still feel the need to write a blog like this, it seems we haven’t. How can we fix this? More talking about how sex is awesome, of course! Also, talking about enjoying sex will destroy the Patriarchy. The literary critic said so.

Alas, I must now return to my essay. If anyone wants to comment and ‘express something of their own sexual pleasure’, please feel free! I’ll be back at the weekend.

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2 thoughts on “Looking out for sex positivity when reading Shakespeare

  1. Thank you for writing this blog and, especially, for your brave post some days ago. I’m the same age as you, also at uni in the UK, reading English and Theatre. I’m coming to the realisation that my novel for NaNoWrimo this year is basically a fictionalised account of my experiences, and we appear to be using the same imagery, hence my name here. (Excuse the differentiation in spelling, as you’re probably as pernickerty as me, but it’s a reference to ‘The Waste Land’ =p!)

    I agree with your sentiment that if there had been stories out there when we were fourteen or so things would’ve been different, so thanks =)! Sex-positivity, fanfic, communication and catharsis FTW.

    • I very much approve of the username, and of the Wasteland reference. Being an arts student is so exciting!

      Best of luck with NaNoWriMo (I did it one year, and it was so nice to sleep when November was over), especially in using it as a way to write about what happened to you. I really do think that the more we write and talk about these things, the easier they become to discuss, and that’s how we slowly change the narrative. Really pleased you like the blog, and I hope you continue reading! (As I say on the About page, if you want to e-mail me about anything, at any point, feel free.)

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