Love and the labour of the negative: Irigaray and Hegel

Morny Joy

in Divine Love

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780719055232
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700792 | DOI:
Love and the labour of the negative: Irigaray and Hegel

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This chapter reveals Irigaray and Hegel's ideas of a woman's sexuality. Irigaray rejects Hegel increasingly conservative and ultimately inconsistent treatment of women, which subordinated them ‘to destiny, without allowing them any access to mind, or consciousness of self and for self’. According to Irigaray, women can become both initiators and partners in a revised model of the relationship that incorporates a positive mode of sexual difference. The postulate of ‘taking the negative upon oneself’ involves certain tasks, specific to each gender. Given the nature of Hegel's curtailment of women, both theoretically and physically, it is not problematic to appreciate Irigaray's call for liberty for women. Irigaray's proposal of sexual difference is not simply a confirmation of women's irreducibility and resistance to preordained categories, it is rather an acknowledgement that women themselves will no longer conform to definitions of femininity that do not respect a woman's integrity and her responsibility for her own becoming.

Keywords: sexual difference; woman's integrity; women's irreducibility; love; labour; women's resistance; femininity

Chapter.  9223 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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