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IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

Actas del IV Congreso Estatal Isonomía sobre Identidad de Género vs. Identidad Sexual

Comité Científico Asesor:

Aguilar Ródenas, Consol

Barberá Heredia, Esther

Beguiristain Alcorta, Mª Teresa

Bosch Fiol, Esperanza

Esquembre Valdés, Mar

Ferrer Pérez, Victoria

Fischer Pfaeffle, Amalia Eugenia

Galán Serrano, Julia

Gámez Fuentes, Mª José

Garrigues Giménez, Amparo

Nieva de la Paz, Pilar

Olaria Puyoles, Carmen

Saucedo González, Irma

Sevilla Merino, Julia

Téllez Infantes, Anastasia

Urios Moliner, Yago

Ventura Franch, Asunción

Vilches de Frutos, Mª Francisca

Zafra Alcaraz, Remedios

Coordinadora técnica de la edición: Carme Pinyana Garí

Coordinadora de la publicación: Alicia Gil Gómez

Traducción del artículo de Teresa de Lauretis: Marta Renau Michavila

Copyright del texto: Las autoras, 2008

Copyright de la presente edición:

Fundación Isonomía para la Igualdad de Oportunidades. Universitat Jaume I, 2008

http://isonomia.uji.es

isonomia@isonomia.uji.es

Tel. 34/964 72 91 34

Fax 34/964 72 91 35

Publicacions de la Universitat Jaume I. Servei de Comunicació i Publicacions,

Campus del Riu Sec. Edifici Rectorat i Serveis Centrals. 12071 Castelló de la Plana

http://tenda.uji.es

publicacions@uji.es

Tel. 964 72 82 33

Fax 964 72 82 32

ISBN: 978-84-691-5638-4

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

ÍNDICE

Presentación...................................................................................................................

9

I. CONFERENCIAS

Gender identities and bad habits...................................................................................

13

TERESA DE LAURETIS

Sobre las discontinuidades sexo-género-deseo en el arte contemporáneo...................

24

ERNEST ALCOBA

Transexualidad y feminismo: una relación incómoda.....................................................

66

BEATRIZ GIMENO

Di-Versifi caciones identitarias. Polifonías del Versus.....................................................

77

MERI TORRAS Y BEGONYA SÁEZ

II. MESAS REDONDAS

3

MESA 1

Las identidades sexuales en la ciencia y la salud

La construcción de la identidad de género y la representación de la maternidad

en la adolescencia..........................................................................................................

89

MARÍA ANGÉLICA CARVALLO Y AMPARO MORENO

Identidades sexuales en la ciencia y la salud.................................................................

99

CARMEN VALLS-LLOBET

MESA 2

La construcción de la identidad sexual y del género

Identidad sexual y coeducación...................................................................................... 106

ROSA LUENGO Y PRUDENCIA GUTIÉRREZ

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

MESA 3

Orientación sexual, erotismo, vínculo emocional y amor

El amor y la sexualidad en las sociedades post-modernas: el discurso fílmico.............

112

MARÍA LAMEIRAS

Las difi cultades sociales de las personas transexuales.................................................

122

JAVIER MONTILLA

El erotismo......................................................................................................................

132

ELISA COBOS

Introducción a la mesa redonda: Orientación sexual, erotismo, vínculo emocional

y amor.............................................................................................................................

136

ROSARIO ALTABLE

MESA 4

Las identidades sexo/género en la cultura y el arte

Biografía intelectual y refl exividad. Veinte años de investigación sobre élites

profesionales femeninas.................................................................................................

139

MA. ANTONIA GARCÍA DE LEÓN ÁLVAREZ

4

MESA 5

Las identidades sexuales: ética vs. estética

Ética vs. estética.............................................................................................................

148

MAITE BEGUIRISTAIN

MESA 6

Identidades: cultura queer y ciberespacio

Ganímedes emancipado: cine español, adolescencia y homosexualidad.....................

152

JUAN CARLOS ALFEO

Fracturas de género en la red: reivindicaciones de los colectivos sociales...................

166

ORIOL RÍOS

Identidades de género e identidades sexuales:

unas notas sobre feminismo(s) queer............................................................................

171

GRACIA TRUJILLO

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

MESA 7

Derechos sexuales e identidad de género

Desenmascaramiento del partido socialista respecto a los logros conseguidos

por el colectivo de gays, lesbianas, bisexuales y transexuales......................................

179

MANUELA TRASOBARES

La reconstrucción de la memoria histórica transexual y transgénero como paso

imprescindible para la plena igualdad……………………………………………………....

181

CARMEN GARCÍA

Etnicidad, cultura e identidades de género: los bijagós (Guinea Bissau) y

los zapotecas (México)................................................................................................... 183

ÁGUEDA GÓMEZ

III. COMUNICACIONES

Publicidad e identidad andrógina...................................................................................

195

SUSANA ANDRÉS DEL CAMPO, RODRIGO GONZÁLEZ y ROCÍO COLLADO

La lucha por la igualdad de las mujeres del liberalismo a la Segunda República..........

200

NATIVIDAD ARAQUE

5

El discurso religioso en la construcción del cuerpo femenino y el cuerpo masculino....

207

VIRGINIA ÁVILA

La política de lo privado: de la denuncia ética a la estética............................................

214

SUSANA CARRO

Partir de la experiencia como elemento transformador................................................... 223

ANDREA GARCÍA, ANA ISABEL SIMÓN y GRUPO

La política sexual en la literatura de Quim Monzó. Una anàlisi exemplifi cadora

d’alguns contes de El perquè de tot plegat....................................................................

227

ADA GARCÍA RIBERA

Escribir contra la norma: identidad, género y narración en el cine de mujeres..............

234

SILVIA GUILLAMÓN

Identidad sexual, personas con discapacidad y sida...................................................... 241

PURIFICACIÓN HERAS

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

Cuando la identidad de género converge con la identidad cultural: la fi gura simbólica

de la mujer musulmana en el discurso cultural esencialista...........................................

248

ELENA HERNÁNDEZ

Rasgos expresivos y actitudes sexistas en docentes universitarios españoles............

253

MARÍA LAMEIRAS, YOLANDA RODRÍGUEZ, MARÍA VICTORIA CARRERA Y MARÍA CALADO

Perspectiva de género en la producción artística de artistas españolas........................

259

PILAR MUÑOZ

Las identidades sexo/género en el arte.......................................................................... 270

IRENE PELAYO

Mujer, computadoras y videojuegos...............................................................................

275

VERÓNICA PERALES Y FRED ADAM

Casarnos y rectifi carnos: la normalización y la disidencia sexual.................................. 279

RAQUEL PLATERO, PALOMA FERNÁNDEZ Y GRUPO

Representaciones de género en revistas femeninas para adolescentes.

Comparativa entre publicaciones españolas y latinoamericanas...................................

285

JUAN PLAZA

6

Sujetos del género: postestructuralismo y psicoanálisis en Judith Buter.......................

291

LETICIA INÉS SABSAY

Derecho Penal Sexual: la prostitución............................................................................

298

FRANCISCO SANHAUJA

Algunas aportaciones de la Ley Orgánica de Igualdad al problema del acoso sexista

en el trabajo....................................................................................................................

304

MARIOLA SERRANO

Dentro del diálogo inter-cultural feminista ¿Cuál es el color/clase social y orientación

sexual del paradigma feminista género/sexo?...............................................................

309

XIANA SOTELO

El apellido materno: historia de una discriminación difícil de superar............................

316

GEMA TOMÁS

Análisis del videoclip downtown de peaches................................................................

323

LAURA VALERO

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

IV. CONCLUSIONES

Taller 1

Las identidades sexo/género en la cultura y el arte.......................................................

332

Taller 2

La construcción de la identidad sexual y de género......................................................

334

Taller 3

Orientación sexual, erotismo, vínculo emocional y amor...............................................

336

Taller 4

Las identidades sexuales en la ciencia y la salud..........................................................

338

Taller 5

Las identidades sexuales: ética vs. estética...................................................................

340

Taller 6

Identidades: cultura queer y ciberespacio...................................................................... 342

7

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

8

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

EL PROGRAMA DEL IV CONGRESO ISONOMÍA, «Identidad de género versus identidad sexual»,

pretendía profundizar y debatir en torno a la identidad, por cuanto están afl orando dife-

rentes modos de estar en el mundo y de relacionarse tanto con los y las demás como con

uno o con una misma. Así las cosas, y aunque es cierto que la identidad siempre ha marcado

la existencia humana, hoy, más que nunca, cada persona necesita no sólo saber cómo es y

quién es ella misma sino también quién y cómo es la otra y las otras personas con quienes

se relaciona e incluso cómo es percibida por su entorno próximo, personal, y lejano: el con-

junto de la sociedad.

Para complicar aún más este marco de relaciones y de incertidumbres, en ocasiones los

sujetos se sienten invadidos por sus cuerpos de manera que se perciben vertebrados en

torno a una serie de percepciones, valores, comportamientos, actitudes y aptitudes distintas

a las que la sociedad ha proyectado, a través de la educación, para él o para ella atendiendo

a sus características sexuales biológicas. Es decir, que mientras que la sociedad espera que

un ser humano nacido hombre tenga comportamientos asociados a la masculinidad o que,

de nacer mujer, se comporte de manera femenina, existen seres humanos que se sienten

radicalmente extraños a estas demandas contra las que se rebelan, posicionándose en con-

tra hasta el punto de necesitar cambiar su condición sexual biológica para sentirse seres

9

humanos íntegros, personas con una-otra identidad ajustada a su ser, a su sentir, a su estar

en el mundo ajenos a lo que el mundo les demanda.

Además, entre la bipolarización producida entre quienes se pliegan sin dar respuesta al-

guna al papel que les ha sido asignado a partir de su condición sexual y quienes se rebelan

absolutamente, existen múltiples matices que afectan a todas las personas, pues ningún

hombre es estrictamente masculino ni existe mujer alguna que responda, una por una, a

todas las características asociadas a la feminidad, dándose lo que conocemos como subjeti-

vidad. Subjetividad que nuestra sociedad obvia, organizándose en función de una supuesta

«objetividad» sostenida por estereotipos a partir de los cuales se regula qué es «ser normal»

y qué no lo es, cuáles son las «relaciones normales» y cuales no, abriendo así enormes bre-

chas que distancian a unas personas de otras, que las discriminan, que las ponen en riesgo

de exclusión o que las someten a insufribles grados de infelicidad.

Por otra parte, la incursión de las tecnologías y la denominada sociedad del conoci-

miento está provocando transformaciones en el imaginario colectivo y generando nuevos

códigos comunicativos que modifi can los modelos no sólo de relaciones personales, sino

también sociales, culturales, económicos, científi cos, afectando incluso al transcurrir de

la historia y confi gurando nuevas dimensiones en las medidas de «tiempo-espacio», de

«ser-estar-tener».

Así mismo, la entrada masiva de las mujeres en la escena pública ha producido impactos

que están provocando transformaciones, sustantivas y sensibles, que trascienden las tradi-

cionales relaciones de género afectadas por la división sexual del trabajo. Igualmente, en el

ámbito del conocimiento, el impacto de las teorías críticas feministas está revolucionando

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

la idea unicista de razón, saber y verdad, incorporando dinámicas, didácticas, métodos y

epistemologías más plurales y participativas.

En este sentido, la amplitud del campo normativo y procedimental en materia de igual-

dad y de género, está facilitando la entrada de sujetos diversos en los espacios de toma de

decisiones que, sin duda, impactarán y modifi carán tanto los valores como las maneras de

hacer, teniendo repercusiones imprevisibles, tanto positivas como negativas, sobre la forma

de ejercer el poder que tendrá que atender la existencia de diversos modelos de personas

y las diferencias de sus necesidades y deseos bien para responder a sus expectativas, bien

para ejercer mayor control aún sobre sus destinos.

Así las cosas, tener en cuenta la diversidad identitaria no es aplazable pues todo lo

expuesto se está desarrollando, ya, en un contexto social y económico en el que se con-

funden los conceptos «tener» y «ser», de manera que a veces parece que somos lo que

tenemos o, por el contrario, que tenemos lo que somos, generando más desigualdad, más

vulnerabilidad, más dolor del que arrastra una sociedad singularmente dicotomizada si no

se producen cambios sustantivos que abran espacios a la pluralidad y a la aceptación y el

respeto a la diferencia.

Para abordar estos temas, y otros más, la Fundación Isonomía, a través de la organiza-

ción de este cuarto congreso, abrió un espacio de refl exión, en torno a cómo la creación de

la construcción de la identidad personal desde un único modelo afecta a cada persona, a la

identidad colectiva y, por ende, al conjunto de la sociedad. Un espacio donde se encontraron

algunas de las diferentes alternativas que se vienen articulando con la fi nalidad de superar

los obstáculos, de identifi car los aspectos positivos y negativos de la diversidad y de dar ran-

go de «normal» a cualquier conducta y/o comportamiento humano, marcando como único

10

límite el respeto de la voluntad y de la libertad del otro o de la otra.

Así, el programa del congreso, elaborado desde la perspectiva de los derechos humanos,

mantuvo los principios que los alimentan, pues una sociedad rica en derechos es una socie-

dad más libre, justa, respetuosa y democrática, porque los derechos no obligan a ser aquello

que no se desea ser, ni a relacionarse desde valores ajenos a cada ideología o sensibilidad,

por el contrario, los derechos garantizan la diversidad, el respeto a la diferencia y al desarro-

llo integral de las y los individuos.

Asumiendo estos principios, las y los participantes contribuyeron con su opinión, con su

conocimiento, con su experiencia, en la profundización de temas secularmente ocultados,

invisibilizados, a veces perseguidos, estigmatizados, de modo que, entre todas y todos,

encontramos, intercambiamos y aplicamos las claves que, a partir de este encuentro, nos

van a facilitar minimizar el impacto del dolor, así como dar luz y rango de pluralidad a la

restringida idea de que «lo normal» es un concepto único, contribuyendo cada quién, des-

de sus áreas de conocimiento, desde sus experiencias vitales, desde sus posibilidades

comunicativas y emotivas, a que seamos más felices visibilizando otras maneras de rela-

cionarnos tanto con uno o con una misma como con «lo otro», con las y los demás, con el

mundo donde está teniendo lugar el desarrollo de los diferentes mundos que constituyen

nuestras realidades cotidianas, emocionales, culturales, artísticas, sociales, históricas,

científi cas, tecnológicas, económicas...

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

Algunas de las personas que han participado en este congreso nos han dejado testimo-

nio de sus trabajos de investigación, de sus refl exiones y análisis, que han sido recogidos

en esta actas cuya lectura deseamos que os produzca tanto placer como el que, el equipo

de la Fundación Isonomía, tuvimos disfrutando con la generosidad y la cercanía de todas y

cada una de las personas que asististeis a este IV Congreso que sin vuestra presencia no

hubiera sido posible realizar.

ALICIA GIL GÓMEZ

Coordinadora general y gerente de la Fundación Isonomía

11

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

12

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

GENDER IDENTITIES AND BAD HABITS

( IdentIdades de género y malos hábItos)

Teresa de LaureTis

I am delighted to be back in castellón after several years, and I’m honored to have been

invited to open the work of this conference. The statement of purpose on the Isonomía web

site indicates that this conference is intended as a space in which lo normal, the norm or

normativity, is open to question, under erasure, deprived of its power to discriminate, exclude,

disfigure, wound, or kill; a space of open and public reflection on the construction of identities

and the articulation of diversities in the human community. The conference invites all of us

to contribute our knowledges, our experiences, our diversities to the collective process of

learning; learning how to relate both to oneselves and to one another in such a way that we

can all be happier.

Sexual IdentIty / Gender IdentIty?

It was only after reading this statement of purpose —a purpose with which I agree

wholeheartedly— that I started wondering about the title chosen for the conference: Identitad

de Género vs. Identitad sexual. The word versus (vs) seemed to me ambiguous if not 13

inappropriate because versus signifies opposition in a binary system. In what way are sexual

identity and gender identity opposed, I wondered? The concept of gender, as it was first

developed politically by Anglo-American feminism in the 1970s, is by now clearly understood

as a social construction; thus the term sexual identity to which it is opposed would seem to

imply that sexual identity is not a social construction but its opposite, i.e., something innate,

given at birth, something one is born with. However, the idea that sexual identity is innate

in the human body is in contrast with everything I know, personally and as a scholar, about

sexuality.

So I kept asking myself what the phrase sexual identity might mean. The first answer I

came up with was: sexual identity may mean a personal identity or a sense of self based on

one’s sexual orientation, one’s sexual object or desire —as in someone saying «I’m a lesbian.

I can only find sexual satisfaction with women»; or «I’m gay, I’m a man who is sexually

attracted only to men». This kind of identity is based on what, not many years ago, in the

wake of gay and lesbian studies, used to be called sexual preference, that is to say, what type

of person, what kind of body one is attracted to —female or male, same-sex or hetero sex.

That fact this expression is no longer in usage in queer studies suggests that we no longer

think of male and female bodies as two absolutely distinct and mutually exclusive categories.

And this in spite of the fact that bodies are still so classified in legal and medical terms.

Nevertheless, even if sexual identity were understood as personal identity based on

sexual preference, it would not be opposed to gender: one can be a lesbian with masculine

or feminine gender identifications, or a combination of both, and see herself accordingly as

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

butch or femme or both depending on the situation, on her age or circumstances, on her

woman partner, and so on.

The second answer I came up with was: sexual identity is a personal identity or a sense

of self based on one’s perception of one’s own body, on the body as it feels, rather than on

the actual morphology of the body. Here one’s sexual identity would be based on the sense

of a self living in a wrong or alien body, as we know from the narratives of transsexuals and

the personal accounts of individuals with Body Integrity Identity Disorder. In this case the

relation of sexual identity to gender identity can be even further articulated and complicated.

The point is, in all these cases sexual identity is not opposed to gender identity but, on the

contrary, it is imbricated in it in complex and often contradictory ways. And one more thing:

sexual identity has much to do with the body. I’ll come back to this later.

So in what sense can sexual identity be opposed to gender identity? Only, it would seem,

if «sexual identity» is what is written in my passport or ID card;1 as if a person’s entire life,

the experiences, memories, fantasies, feelings and emotions that constitute one’s personal

history could be boiled down or reduced to one of two words that someone else wrote in a

birth certificate: either male or female. And yet the question of sexual identity is not so easy

to answer precisely because of its interconnection with gender —and not only with gender

but also with other parameters of personal identity formation: race, class, ethnicity, religion,

even regionalism. All of these, like gender, are not simply personal but eminently social and

strongly inflect or overdetermine an individual’s apprehension and self-attribution of gender

and sexual identities. Let me give you two examples.

In the early 1980s, before a public reading of her poetry at Stanford University in California,

Audre Lorde identified herself to her audience with these words: «I am a black feminist lesbian

14

warrior poet mother». In the mid 70s, another Afro-American feminist scholar and activist,

Barbara Smith, showed how women’s experience is articulated not only in terms of sexual

and gender identity but also in racial terms, so that neither white women nor black men can

easily comprehend how black women experience racism.2 Let me say it another way: from

a position that is presumed to be racially unmarked —say, the position of a white Western

person— one might think that all black people experience racism while black women also

experience sexism in addition. But what Smith was saying was that black women experience

racism not as «blacks» but as black women: «We struggle together with Black men against

racism» she wrote, while also struggling against the heterosexism in Black men.3

That statement, made by a black lesbian collective in the militant 1970s about the

intersection of race, gender, and sexual identity is the first instance of intersectional theory.

Of course, today’s notion of intersectionality includes other parameters of identity that have

emerged in recent history and that derive, in particular, from the global movement of labor:

ethnic origin, religion, color, and level of education, to name a few. But still today what Gloria

Wekker in The Netherlands and Kimberlé Crenshaw in the US call «intersectional theory»,

1. Identification card, in English; identity card in Italian ( carta d’identità).

2. See Barbara Smith, ‘Toward a Black Feminist Criticism’, in All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women’s Studies, ed. Gloria T. Hull, Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith (Old Westbury, N.Y.: The Feminist Press, 1982), p. 162.

3. ‘The Combahee River Collective Statement’, in Barbara Smith, ed., Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (New York: Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press, 1983), pp. 274-78.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

and what Stuart Hall in England, after Ernesto Laclau, calls a «theory of articulation» are

facing the old dangers of racism and general conservatism as well as the new danger of a

rising neoliberalism.4

With this in mind, let us go back to the conference theme, and the relation of gender

identity to sexual identity. I’d like now to examine these two terms, gender and sexuality,

and something of their historical context and current usage, and then look at their relation

in identity formation. In so doing, I may propose a perhaps surprising idea —that gender

and sexuality, however interconnected in lived experience, are indeed two quite different

things, and it is gender identification, and only very rarely sexuality, that makes up personal

identity.

Gender

Take the word gender, to start with. The meaning of gender as «classification of sex»5

is an acceptation specific to the English language and formally recorded in dictionaries in

addition to that of grammatical category. It had no equivalent in romance languages until

recently, when it was introduced as a neologism, as in the title of this conference; for the

Spanish género, like the Italian genere or the French genre, did not carry the denotation of a person’s gender. That was conveyed in part by the word for sex, which was also used

in English until the past century, and in fact has been retained in the typically conservative

language of bureaucracy and the law.

In Anglophone countries, then, from the late1960s up to the early 1980s, the critical study

15

of gender was virtually an exclusive concern of feminist studies, as it was the notion of

sexual difference, with which it was often synonymous.6 Much had been written, of course, in

psychology and anthropology on gender identity and sex roles, from Robert Stoller’s Sex and

Gender (1968) all the way back to Margaret Mead in the 1930s.7 But what social scientists

wrote about gender was conceived as the result of empirical, objective or neutral research.

On the contrary, the concept of gender as a term of social contestation was introduced and

articulated by feminists in many disciplines as part of the critique of Western patriarchy.8

4. Stuart Hal , Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, ed. by David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen (London: Routledge, 1996), p. 141; Gloria Wekker, ‘Building Nests in a Windy Place: Thinking about Gender and Ethnicity in the Netherlands,’ trans.

Gonny Pasaribu, in The Making of European Women’s Studies, vol. iv (Utrecht: Athena, November, 2002), p. 119.

5. This terse definition in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language telescopes the history of the word’s usage given in the oed ( Oxford English Dictionary), where the acceptation ‘sex’ is specified as figurative and documented from the seventeenth century.

6. The first major critical texts of the women’s movement, Kate Millett, Sexual Politics (New York, 1969), her doctoral dissertation in literature, and Shalamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (New York, 1970), dedicated to Simone de Beauvoir, had the word sex in their titles, as did de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex ( Le Deuxième Sexe, 1949), but intended it in the sense of gender and not of biological sex or of sexual acts.

7. See Margaret Mead, Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935).

8. Sherry Ortner and Harriet Whitehead pointed out ‘the bias that often underlies studies of both sex roles and male dominance –an assumption that we know what «men» and «women» are, an assumption that male and female are predominantly natural objects rather than predominantly cultural constructions.’ See Sherry B. Ortner & Harriet Whitehead, eds., Sexual Meanings: The Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 1981), p. 1.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

Gender and its near-synonym «sexual difference» were the terms in which feminists

analyzed the sociosexual definition of woman as divergent from the universal standard that

was Man. In other words, gender was the mark of woman, the mark of a sexual difference that

entailed women’s subordinate status in society and a set of character traits correlated to their

anatomical or physiological constitution —traits such as a nurturing or caring disposition,

malleability, vanity… I do not need to go on, you know very well what I mean. Gender, as

feminists redefined it, was the sum of those traits, whether they were thought to have some

basis in nature or to be imposed by culture and social conditioning. In either case, gender

was the name of a social structure.

It was in that context, in the mid 1980s, that I proposed the idea of a «technology of

gender».9 It seemed to me that gender was not the simple derivation of anatomical/biological

sex but a sociocultural construction, a representation, or better, the compounded effect of

discursive and visual representations which, I saw emanating from various institutions —the

family, religion, the educational system, the media, medicine, or law— but also from less

obvious sources: language, art, literature, film, and so on. However, the constructedness

or discursive nature of gender does not prevent it from having real implications, or concrete

effects, both social and subjective, for the material life of individuals. On the contrary, the

reality of gender is precisely in the effects of its representation; gender is realized, becomes

«real» when that representation becomes a self-representation, is individually assumed as a

form of one’s social and subjective identity. In other words, gender is both an attribution and

an assumption: it attributed to me by others and it is assumed by me as my own.

We all know that, by now. But what I want to stress here is that the elaboration of the concept

gender occurred within feminist studies, well before the shift to what is now called gender

16

studies. I stress this because that history is already disappearing: in another decade or so,

perhaps no one will remember that the critical concept of gender, the idea that individuals are

actually constituted as a gendered subjects, did not exist before feminist theory named and

elaborated it as a new mode of knowledge, an epistemic practice arising in conjunction with

a radical, oppositional, political movement. Let me suggest, therefore, that the sexual identity

lesbian, or queer, or trans, also exist in a context of political opposition to discriminatory laws

and oppressive social practices.

Today, the study of gender covers a variety of issues that range from the more conservative,

such as the relations of women and men in the family or in the workplace, to the more

transgressive, such as gender crossing, drag, transvestism, and practices of body modification

—piercing, tattoing, scarification, body building, hormone intake, body-altering surgery— all

of which are seen as ways to deconstruct gender and to blur or dissolve the distinction

between what used to be called «the sexes».

A cursory view of the semiotics of gender over the years shows that the relation of gender to

sex has gone from contiguity to similarity, or from metonymy to metaphor. In the early feminist

studies of the sex-gender system, it was a syntagmatic relation on the axis of combination:

in those studies where gender is understood as culturally specific and constructed, whereas

9. See Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987). For the Spanish translation of the first chapter, ‘La tecnología del género’, see Teresa de Lauretis, Diferencias: Etapas de un camino a través del feminismo, trans. María Echániz Sans (Madrid: Horas y Horas, 1999), pp. 33-69.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

sex is assigned by nature, body and gender exist side by side, distinct though metonymically

related. More recently, where both gender and biological sex are considered discursive

constructions that are neither natural nor fixed for each individual, but can be resignified

in performance or surgically reassigned, the relation of gender and sex is a paradigmatic

relation on the axis of substitution; each can stand for the other. The word transgender goes

one step further: in alluding to, but eliding the sexual of transsexual, transgender bypasses sex altogether.10 It bears no reference to sex, sexuality, or the body — only to gender.

A stronger emphasis on gender identity rather than sexual identity is also indicated, at

least in the us, by the self-chosen identities of F to M transsexuals as transmen and of M

to Fs as transwomen. On the other hand, the word chosen by those who identify as simply

trans, without specification of sex or gender, suggests that the transformation is not the bodily

transformation from one anatomical/biological sex to another but the transformation into a

being who is beyond the two traditional genders (masculine and feminine), beyond the two

traditional sexes (male and female), and beyond the two allegedly traditional forms of sexual

organization (heterosexual and homosexual). The term trans, then, best conveys the idea

that personal identity is an ongoing process.

All of these terms, however, clearly privilege gender in relation to personal identity, even if

they do it by contesting, deconstructing or «resignifying» gender. Are they perhaps also ways

to actually ignore, downplay or avoid sexuality? What about the sexual, the properly sexual

dimension of the self? What is, exactly, sexuality?

SexualIty

17

I hope we can agree that sexuality is not just the anatomical form of the body or its

chromosonal or hormonal configuration; nor is it merely the reproductive function. The specific

dimension of human sexuality is the mental representation of objects of desire, including

one’s own body, and the imagining of scenes or fantasy scenarios in which the wish for

sexual pleasure or satisfaction may (or may not) be attained. The wish to have children, too,

when it occurs, is precisely a wish, a fantasy; it is not the mechanical or automatic compliance

with an instinct to reproduce but the expectation of attaining a special kind of love or other

gratifications, usually in the scenario of a family. It was Freud’s discovery —and his first

contribution to modern, 20th century epistemology— that the mind is not only able to imagine,

anticipate, or remember sexual pleasure, but it is also able to forget it, or more exactly, to

repress it; that is to say, to remove it from consciousness and yet retain it as a mnemic trace

(the trace of something we cannot remember) in the psychic dimension that he called the

unconscious. The sexual wish, in that case, is expelled from consciousness but it lives on in

the psyche as an unconscious fantasy, a phantasm.

Sexuality, then, or rather the sexual drive, is an affect, an excitation that is felt in the body

but is not merely of the body. It can be given a name and linked to an object —typically a

10. Bearing no reference to sex, sexuality, or the body – only to gender, this term effects the total projection of the axis of combination onto the axis of selection that, according to Roman Jakobson, characterizes self-referential, poetic language. And indeed the word transgender is a figure, a trope that fully realizes the nature of the signifier; that is to say, it is meaningful only as a sign, it signifies ‘I am a signifier.’

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

person, or better said, the mental image of a person— if the sexual wish is acceptable

to the ego, our conscious sense of self, and in particular to what Freud cal ed the moral

component of the ego: that is, the idea of self we acquire in growing up, starting with toilet

training and onward to adult personal hygiene, eating habits, ways of loving, and patterns of

interpersonal behavior (here gender is crucial: the rules of gender we have internalized are

very much part of our conscious sense of self and of our self-image). When a sexual wish is

not acceptable to the conscious ego, then the wish is repressed and remains unconscious,

inexpressible; but it may be felt in the body as a nameless affect, a yearning, a malaise, a

sense of dissatisfaction with ourselves and the world, or even as an urgency that makes us

do what we do not want to do.

If a repressed sexual wish continues to bother us, as Jean Laplanche put it, like a splinter

in the skin, it is because the human psyche is inextricably linked to a body with its specific and

singular history. The history of the body begins in early infancy. The sexual wishes expressed

or repressed, the pleasures enjoyed or forbidden, the satisfaction attained, postponed or

displaced, transferred elsewhere —al these constitute the history of our individual embodiment

over the years, but the greatest part of the repressed, the wishes we do not remember because

they have become unconscious occur during our infancy and childhood. This is Freud’s second

contribution to modern epistemology, the concept of infantile sexuality.

It is a commonplace that infantile sexuality develops in two successive stages, the oral

stage and the anal stage, which precede the development of the sexual organs and the

kicking-in of certain hormones at puberty. The commonplace implies that only the latter is

really sexuality, that is to say, adult sexuality is genital sexuality. But this popular view is

contradicted by obvious considerations: the infantile manifestations of sexual pleasure, oral

18

and anal, remain fully active in adult sexuality; moreover, these and other partial drives,

so-called, can actually be more powerful than genital activity, for example in what were

called the perversions and are now called paraphilias: fetishism, transvestism, pedophilia,

exhibitionism, voyeurism, masochism, and sadism. According to John Money, the term

paraphilias was adopted by dsm-iii, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American

Psychiatric Association, in 1980.

At the time of its founding in the late nineteenth century, sexology made its entry into the criminal justice

system by way of forensic psychiatry, notably under the aegis of Richard von Krafft-Ebing 1886-1931.

Forensic psychiatry borrowed the nomenclature of the law in classifying sexual offenders as sexual

deviants and sexual perverts. Forensic psychiatry also borrowed from the criminal code its official list of

the perversions. Eventual y, the term perversion and deviance would give way to paraphilia.11

Now, the term paraphilia may sound more neutral than perversion, but it still names

sexual behaviors that are considered abnormal. Lo normal is certainly not open to question

in criminal law or forensic psychiatry. And we may remember that John Money initiated

the clinical practice of treating intersexual infants, born with genital organs that medicine

considers «indetermined» —treating them with surgery or hormones in order to «normalize»

their bodies as either male or female.12

11. John Money, The Lovemap Guidebook: A Definitive Statement (New York: Continuum Publishing Company, 1999), p. 55.

12. See Beatriz Preciado, ‘Technologiquement votre’, Actes du colloque Epistémologies du genre: regards d’hier, points de vue d’auhourd’hui (Paris: Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, 23-24 juin 2005).

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

In a book titled The Lovemap Guidebook and ominously subtitled A Definitive Statement,

Money states that the 1994 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV)

mentions seven additional paraphilias, including telephone scatologia, zoophilia, necrophilia,

coprophilia, and urophilia. «Remarkably,» he comments, «rape is not included.» We may

conclude either that rape is not a perversion, and therefore it is not included, or that rape

is a perversion, and therefore it should be included. A remarkable example of «scientific

neutrality». But the point I want to make is that among the known sexual behaviors are several

that hark back to infantile pleasures and produce sexual satisfaction even independently of

genital activity.

Psychoanalysis, unlike psychiatry and psychology, is not about sexual normality, lo normal.

On the contrary, for Freud, sexuality is the most complex and pervasive dimension of human

life, ranging from perversion to neurosis to sublimation; it is compulsive, non-contingent,

and incurable. It consists of intangible wishes and fantasies, some of which are conscious,

but others are completely unconscious and manifest as inexpressible feelings or nameless

affects. These, as I said, are variously felt and acted out in the body, including as symptoms,

but are not merely of the body. Where does sexuality come from? In his original and brilliant

reading of Freud, Jean Laplanche has argued that sexuality is not innate, inherent in the

physical body ab origine, but is ‘implanted’ in the infant —a body without language ( infans)

and initially without an ego— by the necessary actions of maternal care, feeding, cleaning,

holding, and so on. A sense of well-being, comfort and pleasure are produced in the infant by

the flow of warm milk in the mouth, tongue and palate, and by the stimulation of the skin and

the entire surface of the body, especially its orifices —what will become the erogenous zones.

You may be familiar with Freud’s famous observation that:

19

No one who has seen a baby sinking back satiated from the breast and falling asleep with flushed

cheeks and a blissful smile can escape the reflection that this picture [is the] prototype of the expre-

ssion of sexual satisfaction in later life.13

However, with the development of the ego, the polymorphous pleasures of the infant’s

body (the enjoyment of defecating, for example) will be subjected to rules of self-control

(toilet training), and what was a physical pleasure becomes a disgusting or shameful thing

to the conscious ego —but not necessarily so to the unconscious part of the ego: repressed

infantile sexual wishes and the trace of bodily excitations live on at the unconscious level.

Gender, on the other hand, is a manifestation of the conscious ego. Although it, too, comes

from the other, it is not exactly implanted in the physical infant body as is sexuality, but rather is assigned by parents and/or medical practitioners even before birth. In fact, both the

assignment of gender by others and the child’s identification with a gender —as a girl or as a

boy, since no other alternative is offered in childhood— often precede the child’s awareness

of anatomical differences.

13. Freud, Three Essays on the Theory on Sexuality, trans. and revised by James Strachey (New York: Basic Books, 1962), p. 48.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

SexualIty and Gender

Laplanche is the only theorist of psychoanalysis I know of who has addressed the issue

of gender. He argues that, unlike the implantation of sexuality, gender assignment occurs on

the basis of sexual anatomy, or rather, of the adult’s perception of it, which in turn is based

on the visibility of the external genital organ. It is for this reason that the category of gender,

like the category of sex, falls under the binary logic of the phallus —either with or without

the penis, either male or female. Noting the tendency in current usage to speak of gender

identity rather than sexual identity, Laplanche suggests that the displacement of the question

of sexual identity onto that of gender identity may be a mark of repression ( refoulement): the

repression of the perverse, polymorphous, and unconscious dimensions of sexuality studied

by Freud, and its displacement onto gender as a category more acceptable to the adult’s self-

understanding. Still today, Laplanche writes, «what is most difficult [for adults] to accept are,

as one says, «bad habits»14 (think of Almodovar’s pun, La mala educación). The category

of gender, with its «empirical» genital bias, falls under the phallic logic of castration, either

phallic or castrated, either masculine or feminine. But he goes further: «What sex and its

secular arm, one could say, the castration complex, tend to repress is infantile sexuality»,

writes Laplanche with biting irony; sex-gender and the castration complex, he says, repress

the sexuality that is the crucial discovery of psychoanalysis: perverse, polymorphous, infantile

sexuality, which is oral, anal, para-genital and upstream of sex and gender differences.15 In

other words, those infamous psychoanalytic notions —castration and the Oedipus complex—

are not the enemies but the allies of gender; they are instrumental in constructing gender as

traditionally conceived through repression and identification with the parental figures. Let me

20

put it this way: the trouble with gender is sexuality; what troubles gender identity is the kink in

sex —the perverse, the infantile, the shameful, the disgusting, the «sick», the destructive and

the self-destructive elements that personal identity seldom avows and the political discourse

on gender must elide altogether.

You may object that this view of sexuality is psychoanalytic —and of course it is. But

if I asked you to name the originators of the modern conception of sexuality, you would

probably say Freud and Foucault. And I would agree. I argued elsewhere that these two

theories of sexuality are not in contradiction with one another but actually complementary:

while the first volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality describes the discursive practices and

institutional mechanisms that implant sexuality in the social subject, Freudian psychoanalytic

14. ‘Je crois que, même de nos jours, la sexualité infantile proprement dite est ce qui répugne le plus à la vision de l’adulte.

Encore aujourd’hui, le plus difficilement accepté, ce sont le «mauvaises habitudes», comme on dit.’ (J. Laplanche, ‘Le genre, le sexe, le sexual,’ in André Green et al., Sur la théorie de la séduction (Paris: In Press Éditions, 2003), p. 72.

15. ‘Ce que le sexe et son bras séculier, pourrait-on-dire, le complexe de castration, tend à refouler, c’est le sexuel infantil’

(J. Laplanche, ‘Le genre, le sexe, le sexual,’ p. 86). To mark the distinction, Laplanche coins the French neologism ‘le sexual’ from the German word Freud uses for sexuality in contradistinction to Geschlecht (sex/gender): ‘Il ya bien sûr Geschlecht qui veut dire le “sexe sexué” mais il y a aussi le sexuel ou le “sexual”…. Il aurait été impensable que Freud intitulât son ouvrage inaugural: Trois essais sur la théorie du sexué – ou de la sexuation. La Sexualtheorie n’est pas une Geschlechtstheorie... Le “sexual” est donc extérieur sinon même prealable pour Freud à la différence des sexes, voire à la différence des genres: il est oral, anal ou para-genital’ (pp. 70-71).

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

theory describes the subjective mechanisms through which the implantation takes, as it were,

producing the subject as a sexual subject. Incidentally, neither Freud nor Foucault had much

to say about gender. I will not repeat my argument here, since it’s already published, but I will

mention an interesting coincidence.16

Laplanche’s theory of primal seduction maintains that sexuality is «implanted» in the

infant by the actions, the conscious investments , and the unconscious fantasies of parents

or adult caretakers. This theory was first sketched out in Laplanche’s acclaimed book Life

and Death in Psychoanalysis, published in 1970. Six years later, Foucault used the same

metaphor, implantation, in the first volume of The History of Sexuality, La volonté de savoir (1976). He wrote of the «multiple implantation of ‘perversions» in the social body by means

of the institutional (medical, legal, pedagogical) regulation of sexual practices. «The perverse

implantation», for Foucault, was aimed at population control and the management of bio-

power; very similarly, for Laplanche, the «implantation of adult sexuality» in the baby is aimed

at the affective and social management of the individual child.17 The figure of implantation

works in parallel ways in both texts and in both theories.

Implantation is a trope, a figure of speech that retains the etymological connotation of

planting, inserting something into a soil, a depth, in common usage as well as in the medical

acceptation of introducing something under the skin —precisely, an implant. The French

dictionary Petit Robert gives as an antonym déraciner, to uproot; Laplanche speaks of the

repressed memory of sexual trauma as of something «internal-external» like «a spine in

the flesh… a veritable spine in the protective wall of the ego»;18 and with a similar metaphor

Frantz Fanon, the Francophone Martinican psychiatrist who worked for the independence of

Algeria, describes the racist imposition of «a racial epidermal schema» onto the black man’s

21

body: «the movements, the attitudes, the glances of the other fixed me there, in the sense in

which a chemical solution is fixed by a dye.»19

Body

In his first, autobiographic book, Black Skin, White Masks (1952), Fanon describes how

the racial epidermal schema is superimposed onto the corporeal, phenomenal schema

that is the source of bodily sensations and comes to displace it altogether. In this way the

black subject’s perception, subjectivity, and experience are at the same time constituted

and rendered incoherent by two incompatible «frames of reference» (p. 110). In the black

subject’s lived experience, then, the displacement of the corporeal schema by the racial

16. See Teresa de Lauretis, ‘The Stubborn Drive,’ Critical Inquiry, vol. 24, no. 4 (Summer 1998), pp. 851-877.

17. Jean Laplanche, Life and Death in Psychoanalysis, trans. with an introduction by Jeffrey Mehlman (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), 46; Vie et mort en psychanalyse (Paris: Flammarion, 1970), p. 75. M. Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Vol. I, 36-37; La volonté de savoir, pp. 50-51.

18. Life and Death in Psychoanalysis, 42; Vie et mort en psychanalyse, 70.

19. Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lam Markmann (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1967), pp. 111-112; ‘l’autre, par gestes, attitudes, regards, me fixe, dans le sens où l’on fixe une préparation par un colorant,’ in Frantz Fanon, Peau noir, masques blancs (Paris: Seuil, 1995 [1952]), pp. 88-90.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

epidermal schema causes the body —and the embodied ego— to be continually fractured,

time and again denied and re-asserted, in a traumatic, ongoing process of dislocation and

symptomatization.20

It is in this awareness of the excessive and irreducible materiality of the body that Fanon

can teach all of us —feminist, lesbian, gay, transgender, transsexual, intersex, and variously

paraphilic queers. I do not want to imply or suggest that Fanon’s lived experience of the colonial

subject’s racially inscribed body can be translated into or compared to the perception that

other subjects, differently positioned in the geopolitical and social space, have of their bodies.

What I want to emphasize in Fanon’s text is a theoretical point, namely, that the corporeality of

the body — the body as it feels— is experientially distinct, if inextricable, from the body image

and the discursive construction of the body that are culturally imposed, one way or another,

on each social subject. For example, Fanon’s sense of «corporeal malediction,» as he calls

it, the «certain uncertainty» that surrounds his perception of his «physiological self» (pp. 110-

111), returns in the narratives of transsexuals and the critical studies on transsexuality, such

as Jay Prosser’s Second Skins and Gesa Lindemann’s Das Paradoxe Geschlecht.

I also find it in the clinical case histories and personal accounts of individuals with Body

Integrity Identity Disorder (biid); individuals whose psychic image of their bodies demands

the amputation of one or more healthy limbs, legs or arms, for only with an amputated or

‘abbreviated’ body can they feel «normal», as they say, or «whole».21 Paradoxical as it may

seem to others, their conscious perception of bodily integrity is documented in self-narratives

and case histories, witnessed in documentary films like the one entitled, exactly, Whole (dir.

Melody Gilbert, 2003), and the dozens of web sites devoted to information and support for

persons with biid, as well as amputee pornography; one such site «boasts a membership

22

of at least 1,400 subscribers».22 Here the relation of sexuality to the embodied ego is most

explicit, for in these individuals sexual arousal and satisfaction are said to be possible only in

relation to disabled bodies —their own (apotemnophilia) or other people’s (acrotomophilia)—

and with the use of wheelchairs, crutches, braces or other medical equipment evoking or

accompanying amputation.

At a time when Gay marriages seem to be a radical form of social protest; when television

sit-coms vie with one another in normalizing queer (as in ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’) and

speaking «The L Word»; when commercial films make sadomasochism almost respectable

(as in Maîtresse, The Secretary, The Piano Teacher), these less palatable paraphilias are typically confined to the sites sprawling in the dark entrails of the web. But at least one film,

Cronenberg’s Crash (1996), based on the eponymous novel by J. J. Ballard (1973), suggests

that the eroticization of traffic accidents is a way to deal with unmanageable experiences of

bodily trauma that turn into traumatic psychic events, and the compulsion to repeat them in

crescendo lends some evidence to the sexual nature of the death drive itself.

20. For a longer discussion of Fanon’s book, see my article ‘Difference Embodied: Reflections on Black Skin, White Masks’, Parallax, vol. 8, no. 2 (2002): pp. 54-68.

21. See John Money and Kent W. Sirncoe, ‘Acrotomophilia, Sex and Disability: New Concepts and Case Report, http://

home.t-online.de/home/Arnelo-Forum/hintergrund/theorie2/money.htm, 2/28/2004.

22. http://www.overground.be/article.php?code=66&lan=en. Printed on 2/27/2004 from the Web site «OverGround, dedicated to providing support and information for those of us who are attracted to others with disabilities.» I owe al biid information to the extensive research of Timothy Koths, a doctoral student in History of Consciousness at UC Santa Cruz.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

I take from Fanon the suggestion that the body image, whatever its particular configuration,

is the overdetermined internalization of some external imposition. Like sexuality, the body

image is the psychic inscription of what is first an implantation in the body. Sexuality, I said, is implanted in every human body by the necessity of parental care, but other kinds of implants,

prosthetic or cosmetic, also produce psychic inscriptions; as Beatriz Preciado elegantly puts

it, somatic implants are also fantasmatic implants —they correlate to a fantasy of the body.23

Today, in light of the massive growth of body-altering surgery, there is the possibility of

intervening politically and personally in the construction of the body, and hence of gender and

body image.24 Can this effectively alter the binary logic of gender? I leave the question open

and only add a cautionary remark: in reconstructing identities, let us not ignore the stubborn

demands of the body sexual; let us not think that gender is simply what I want it to be. What

technology makes available, if you permit me an oldfashioned metaphor, is always a double-

edged sword.

23

23. See note 12 above.

24. These technologies of the body are quite a different thing from what Foucault proposed as ‘technologies of the self’.

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

SOBRE LAS DISCONTINUIDADES SEXO - GÉNERO - DESEO

EN EL ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO

ERNEST ALCOBA

INTRODUCCIÓN

LA CUESTIÓN DE LA IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO constituye un campo de refl exión importante en el

Arte contemporáneo. En absoluto se trata de exigirle al arte que siempre tenga una co-

herencia ideológica o política, o que proponga una visión de la realidad socialmente factible.

Pero el arte no es un fenómeno aislado del mundo. Cuando desde hace unos años se ha

tematizado la cuestión de la identidad sexual y de género en el arte, éste ha encontrado en

lo identitario un campo fructífero de signifi cación y experiencia.

Las propuestas artísticas actuales contribuyen a la transformación de la mirada, incorpo-

rando nuevos factores de sensación, experiencia, comprensión, recepción. Estas caracterís-

ticas a menudo chocan con la opinión pública, oposición que puede constituir un revulsivo

social y que muestra que lo que persigue el arte es una reacción de los/as receptores/as no

siempre relacionada con la contemplación de la belleza. En el arte actual, el movimiento del

espectador es protagonista, estimulado a través del contraste entre la norma y la excepción,

lo previsible y lo insólito, la belleza y la fealdad, la seriedad y el humor, la literalidad y la

24

ironía, el cientifi smo y la magia, la construcción y la destrucción, la conformación y la diso-

lución, la autoridad y la impostura, la utilidad y la inutilidad, lo cotidiano y lo excepcional…

Percibiendo la debilidad, se acaba todo absolutismo. No es este el momento de plantear las

ambivalentes relaciones del arte con la esfera pública, ni el rechazo actual a una concepción

estética ilustrada, refl exiones que ya hemos iniciado en otros lugares. Entre las polaridades

hoy debilitadas, encontramos las categorías sexuales de los individuos (se ha puesto en

crisis un concepto biológico de mujer y hombre), de género (conformado a partir de idea-

les construidos social y culturalmente) e incluso de deseo (nuevas visiones de la subjetivi-

dad). Muchas propuestas se dirigen a desvanecer cualquier continuidad entre sexo, género

y deseo, alterando la percepción que los/as espectadores/as mantienen sobre sí mismos/as

como seres sexuales y sexuados en un contexto social.

Tratar la cuestión de la identidad sexual y de género a través del arte no es un ejercicio

banal. Cuando el arte ha trabajado con la defi nición, ampliación y disolución de los lími-

tes de las identidades sexuales y de género, también ha contribuido a dar forma a nuevas

posiciones vitales emergentes, que han fracturado visiones hegemónicas y han coincidido

con formas de sentir el cuerpo, el deseo y la identidad antes desconocidas. Muchas obras

han reproducido sin más inercias patriarcales ni siquiera cuestionadas, otras han producido

efectos transformadores cuestionando el sexismo, refl ejando la viabilidad de realidades más

igualitarias, dando visibilidad a nuevas formas de sentir el propio cuerpo y el propio deseo

que habían sido perseguidas o que simplemente habían pasado desapercibidas. El arte

puede arrojar luz sobre ciertas problemáticas de género en un momento como el actual, en

IDENTIDAD DE GÉNERO VS. IDENTIDAD SEXUAL

el que la cuestión de la identidad encuentra en la representación, y el reconocimiento sub-

yacente, su manifestación y socialización.

A continuación realizaremos un recorrido por las tensiones crecientes entre sexo, género

y deseo en el arte contemporáneo, para abordar cuestiones sobre la identidad que retoma-

remos en la propuesta fi nal. Antes, debemos realizar una puntualización. En algunos textos

se acusa un cierto reduccionismo, al intentar encajar las obras en abstrusos discursos de

crítica cultural, fi losofía, psicología… como si existiera una total adscripción de una serie de

artistas a una determinada tendencia, sin más. De ahí que, siguiendo a Eco (Eco, 1991),

debamos diferenciar la interpretación y el uso de una obra. La interpretación persigue el

respeto a las intenciones del autor, a su época y a la variable independiente de la propia

obra ( intentio operis). Con ello, una recepción fi el prioriza ciertas respuestas en torno a un

nódulo de sentidos defi nido con la ayuda de disciplinas como la historia del arte, la estética,

la crítica... El uso, en cambio, fuerza el arco de plausibilidad de la interpretación para hace

prevalecer un aspecto de la obra sobre los demás, con el objetivo de ilustrar un discurso

decidido más allá de la intención del artista. En aras de dicha plausibilidad, podemos afi rmar

que no todas las interpretaciones son usos. Una obra puede ser vista como exponente de

una determinada imagen de la mujer y ser inscrita en un discurso feminista, pero no pode-

mos esperar que se agote en ese discurso, ni que articule las ideas de la misma manera

que un ensayo. Así, nosotros usaremos las obras siendo lo más fi eles posible a la intentio

autoris, pero nos centraremos exclusivamente en aquellos aspectos que ilustran el debate

que nos interesa.

25

LA DOBLE VALENCIA DE LA IDENTIDAD

En las sociedades avanzadas es evidente que existe una cierta libertad para elegir entre

una multiplicidad de estilos de vida entorno a la identidad sexual (Giddens, 2000: 24) a través

de pautas de comportamiento, circuitos sociales de expresión, reconocimiento, interacción

y acción. No es exagerado decir que muchos de esos logros se han conseguido a través de

políticas de identidad de muy diverso tipo, entre ellas las relacionadas con el género.

Las políticas identitarias de las sociedades avanzadas han mostrado su utilidad en cuan-

to a la reivindicación social, y la transformación de diversas formas de opresión. La identidad

(sexual, de género, étnica, de clase…) ha permitido que un colectivo se identifi que como tal,

que defi na mejor sus intereses y los límites de los mismos, que sus acciones sean interpre-

tadas dentro de un espectro de posibilidades, que se coordinen para ahorrar o multiplicar

esfuerzos y, en defi nitiva, que una determinada comunidad de intereses (identidad) sea

reconocida en su dignidad y en su derecho, a través de políticas y prácticas. Basta aludir a

las mejoras de las políticas de género que afectan a la mujer, la legalidad de la familia homo-

sexual, etc., aunque aún queda mucho camino por recorrer. Por otra parte, no es menos cier-

to que las políticas de identidad también se han concretado en prácticas demasiado rígidas,

prescriptivas sobre cómo deben manifestarse y experimentarse determinadas identidades

de género, reduciendo la amplitud y complejidad del sentimiento y el deseo.

Lo verdaderamente importante para nosotros no es tanto establecer una genealogía de la