Sexualities and Fetishes

This week for Arts One we read Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality.

Now I have not completely finished the book, therefore I have not yet formed a strong opinion on the overall text. But it definitely was not what I was expecting.

I went into this novel with no clue what would be inside. We recently read Freud and Fanon, who had quite a bit to say on the subject of sexuality. What would Foucault bring to the table?

So far I have had many mixed feelings about the text, and a lot of them stem from my uncertainty of what Foucault’s stance was on many of the issues brought forward. Christina talked about this in her lecture, which made it easier to understand. Foucault poses the questions, but not the answers (how frustrating!).

One part that really interested me was the portions where Foucault spoke of various sexualities. He speaks of “zoophiles and zooerasts, Rohleder’s auto-monosexualists”, as well as “mixoscopophiles, gynecomasts, presbyophiles, sexoesthetic inverts, and dyspareunist women” (43). Later on he goes on a broader spectrum, speaking of “(sexualities of the infant or child), those which become fixated on particular tastes or practices (the sexuality of the invert, the gerontophile, the fetishist)” (47) and many more.

What threw me on these passages is that many of these preferences were unheard of for me, especially under these terms. I don’t seem to be the only one. A quick google search into some of the terms led me to other Foucault readers who have made educated guesses to what some of these sexualities mean. These terms seem to be very much out there only due to Foucault himself.

Another thing that threw me was that many of these sexual acts were not under the umbrella term of “fetishes”. Fetishes had its very own category, which made me wonder what Foucault considers a fetish. And, looking at this from a larger perspective, how are some of these actions considered a sexuality? Something like dyspareunia, which in modern day is often called S & M or BDSM, is not considered a fetish. But in our current society, at least in my opinion, most see it as a fetish. I don’t see BDSM as a sexuality, per se. But, as was discussed in the lecture, Foucault’s ideas of a sexuality are extremely broad.

I questions where Foucault draws the line on what is a fetish, and what is a sexuality. Could fetishes be sexualities? Could sexualities be fetishes? Did he go by any sort of scale or compass in making these distinctions?

Overall, I find Foucault quite confusing. Christina warned us he is, but this is not the confusion I was expecting. The language of the novel, although tricky, is maneuverable. The real confusion comes from the very idea Foucault is trying to explain: sexuality.

~ Ola

Hobbes: Make up your mind!

I’m going to say it now, I have not finished the assigned chapters at the time of writing this post. But so far I believe I have a general idea.

Today’s lecture by Dr. Robert Crawford was very interesting, and brought  forward a lot of interesting points. One that struck me was (and this is paraphrasing from my personal lecture notes) when he spoke of one of Hobbes’ ideas as “Be a good ruler or you’re gonna wind up dead. Hobbes feels this is enough to keep them [rulers] in check.”

Now this is one point that has stuck with me. Hobbes views are shown to be very anti-rebellion. One does not question authority, and follows what those in higher positions say. Now, I do not agree with this, but this is what Hobbes believes. I’ll pretend to agree for all intents and purposes.

Here is where my issue lies. In our lecture and the reading, another idea is brought up. “Authoritarian states need to be aware of the natural punishment of going too far”. So, as Dr. Crawford explained, Hobbes believes that if the rulers are bad, people will kill them. That is a natural punishment. Even if rebellion is illegal, that will not stop an angry population.

So, what is Hobbes’ view on rebellion? It is wrong, and should never be done. But, he also says that rulers should be good enough that people will not rebel. Now this seems straightforward, but I still feel unsatisfied. Rebellion is wrong, but will happen if rulers are bad. Well then… wouldn’t that make it good? Or at the very least necessary?

I understand that if the people in charge follow what Hobbes says, he feels rebellion will not occur. But it still remains, if they don’t follow his beliefs, rebellion will happen. It will be needed.

I don’t know if anyone else sees it this way, but I feel a dissonance between ideas here. I’m curious to see what the class thinks in our seminars. Maybe I’ll change my mind!


My views on the recent sexual assaults

Now, this has nothing to do with Arts One. At all. But since Christina mentioned we should use this blog for other things, I thought it would be a good place to vent out my feelings.

It is not all my opinions, but just some I needed to get off my chest.

UBC and Rape Culture

So there have recently been 3 reported and 1 unreported sexual assaults on my university campus.

It has been a long week of debates and discussions, both positive and negative. It has been frustrating for me, listening to some of the misconceived notions of “feminism”, and hearing so many rape jokes being made. Even hearing people yelling “Don’t get raped” as a female walks at night have put me on edge.

In my opinion, UBC definitely needs some sexual assault education. Hearing some of the opinions swirling around, I feel sick to my stomach. So many people have turned this into something it is not.

Multiple female students have been assaulted. Luckily, none were raped. Keeping an extra eye out for females is fine, as they are this attacker’s victimology. Telling men “they will be fine” isn’t. Everyone should be aware of their surrounding when walking home at night, but not just simply women or simply because of rape. Just even for safety reasons, like robbery.

There does need to be a shift in culture from “Don’t get raped” to “Don’t rape”. This is so much more than putting the blame on men. Although a part of it is not blaming victims, a large part is the fact there is honestly not much I can do about not being raped. I can walk home with someone, I can be safe, but if someone really wants to attack me, they will. It needs to be known that anyone who attacks a student will be heavily pursued and captured. We need to have security patrolling and keeping an eye out. “Don’t rape” also means “Don’t blame a ‘victim’ for something they had no control over” and “Don’t make jokes about sexual assault”. It is not funny in any way.

Now I’m not even going to get into the Feminist arguments at play here, since I do not want to get riled up right now. All I’m going to say is feminism is not “Kill all men”, it is “Women and men are equal”. Stop propagating bullshit, and turning this into something it is not.

Lastly, we should all have the same goal here:

We want this assaulter caught, and we want campus to be a safer place. 

No matter what your or my opinions are on the above stated, in the end we should all be trying to attain this. We want UBC to be an awesome place, and we don’t need or want this fear around campus. This is our home, and we need to work together to protect it.