Occupied territory: Feminism, psychoanalysis, and the embodiment of the feminine

Cheryl Muzio (1996)

This inquiry locates women's bodies within analytic thought. After an introduction that acknowledges the mystery inherent within embodiment as well as the social and political aspects of being, the phenomenological works of Gabriel Marcel and Maurice Merleau-Ponty are presented. Marcel's distinction between having and being and its relationship to loss is explicated. Merleau-Ponty's work on the phenomenology of perception, the visible and the invisible, and his conception of flesh is explored. This work is then considered in relation to psychoanalysis and parallels are drawn. Merleau-Ponty's and Freud's valorization of the masculine body is posited. Freud's works on embodiment, femininity, masculinity, and the Oedipal complex are presented and then critiqued from a feminist perspective. Lacan's works are explicated and explored in relation to gender, subjectivity, and identity. Luce Irigaray's work is presented as a response to Lacan, and her thinking about the erasure and/or appropriation of the feminine is explicated. A final consideration of patriarchy and the subjugation of women is presented, and the importance of women's embodied relationship to the mother and to the womb is posited, as are the possibilities for a differing order.