Heroic Desire: Lesbian Identity and Cultural Space
"Lesbians are adept at constructing survival strategies. Our being in this world exacts a cost, and our identities mutate to incorporate and resist that cost. The reality of our world is our relentless demand for presence, an occupation of space which we have colonized for ourselves, in the name of a configuration of desires we call 'lesbian', -- the more reflective we can become about these tactics, the more powerful is our rhetoric of existence".
This book is concerned with the ways contemporary lesbians have taken up imaginative and material space. It describes the mechanics of presence, how modern lesbians have produced a discursive space which offers a refutation to the closet. Identities are produced, expressed, and authenticated by and through space. Understanding "real" and metaphorical spatial structures helps us to discover new sites of presence and resistance. Some famous spaces, such as New York, Paris, and Berlin, have been constitutive of modern gay and lesbian identities. Social spaces teach us something about the relations of domination and subordination around us, and we have seen recently in that struggle "to be", a growing politics of location and locatedness.
Space is also taken imaginatively. Our narratives, which have become moral and political handbooks, provide role models for building and consolidating identities and communities. By processes of interpretation, drawing from literary and cultural theory, the author displays ways in
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Desire is profoundly spatial and produces an erotics of distance and nearness;
we are moved by it, to it, from it and ... Desire, expressed through motion, can
produce a multivalent self resonant with the specificities of its past, expectant for
Difference produces desire, and so the heterosexual woman has a nugatory,
displaced desire - she desires to desire. Her desire is enabled by her proximity to
a phallus. Thus, as de Lauretis quips: 'Put in a nutshell: All women equally have ...
Or - we can look at butch in another way: in Elizabeth Grosz's essay on '
Refiguring Lesbian Desire'75 she produces a critique of the idea of wanting to be
a lesbian or to command a lesbian identity, which she reads as a mistaken (
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