“Perverse Desire: The Lure of the Mannish Lesbian”
Lesbian scholarship has not had much use for psychoanalysis. Developing in the political and intellectual context of feminism over the past two decades, in the Eurowestern “First World,” lesbian critical writing has typically rejected Freud as the enemy of women and consequently avoided consideration of Freudian and neo-Freudian theories of sexuality. Certainly, the feminist mistrust of psychoanalysis as both a male-controlled clinical practice and a popularized social discourse on the “inferiority” of women has excellent, and historically proven, practical reasons. Nevertheless, some feminists have persistently argued that there are also very good theoretical reasons for reading and rereading Freud himself. All the more so for lesbians, I suggest, whose self-definition, self-representation, and political as well as personal identity are not only grounded in the sphere of the sexual, but actually constituted in relation to our sexual difference from socially dominant, institutionalized, heterosexual forms. 1
One direction of my current work, of which this paper presents a small but pivotal fragment, is to reread Freud's writings against the grain of the dominant interpretations that construct a positive, “normal,” heterosexual and reproductive sexuality, and to look instead for what I would call Freud's negative theory of perversion. For it seems to me that, in his work
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Publication information: Book title: Palatable Poison:Critical Perspectives on the Well of Loneliness. Contributors: Laura Doan - Editor, Jay Prosser - Editor. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 109.
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