Author: KelleyAnne Malinen
Title: 'The Lesbian Phallus'
Subtitle: Deconstruction, Subversion and ... Rape?
Thesis: M.A. Thesis, Dalhousie University
Year: July 2007
Pages: vi + 128pp.
Link: Library and Archives Canada (Free Access)
Abstract: »This thesis addresses the question 'What can lesbian-on-lesbian rape tell us about gender deconstruction and subversion as anti-rape strategies?' More specifically, I ask whether these strategies can recognize, problematize and/or offer solutions for such violence. Lesbian-on-lesbian rape is a phenomenon which has only recently been uncovered and it has proven problematically unintelligible through the frames we customarily apply to sexual violence. Certain investigators of violence in the lesbian context have turned to thinkers like Marcus and Butler who apply deconstruction to violence and gender. As a practice which challenges our understandings and reveals their exclusions, we might reasonably expect deconstruction to provide a useful resource for updating both the lenses through which we see sexual violence and the anti-rape strategies which follow. With regards to the first appeal, I am not disappointed. Butler's 1993 article 'The Lesbian Phallus', for example, helps us to see lesbian-on-lesbian rape as a possibility. However, with regards to the second appeal, we come up against some difficulties. Butler and Marcus are working to overturn the gender regime which frames dominant feminist analyses of rape. They wish not only to show us that women's lives need not be fully circumscribed by their normative positions, but also to encourage women's subversive access to stereotypically male traits or tools. It is upon these that lesbian-on-lesbian rape relies. Thus, such tools merit some suspicion, even in women's hands. We will want to think carefully about which tools we will take up, when and how to use them. The capacity for such critical assessment is not indigenous to deconstructive and subversive strategies. Communicative ethics, particularly as advanced by Benhabib, may prove helpful in this area.« (Source: Thesis)
Added: October 11, 2014 – Last updated: October 11, 2014