This article just struck me as so interesting I had to write about it. It amazes me how ideologies and beliefs about sexuality have evolved throughout the centuries. Also, throughout the article, I think Halperin gives great examples of what sexuality really means. I don’t know how to lead a discussion about my thoughts, so please bear with me. First, I must make note of the reference to Foucault (since he was our focus in last weeks lecture), where Halperin begins his article by agreeing with him on his beliefs about sexuality. He agrees with him that “sexuality is not a thing, a natural fact, a fixed and immovable element in the eternal grammer of human subjectivity, but that ‘sets of effects produced in bodies, behaviors, and social relations by a certain deployment os a complex political technology”. From there, he begins to add onto Foucault’s ideas by saying there must be more to the historicity of sexuality. On page 6 of the article Halperin gives his definition of what sexuality represents. He states “sexuality defines itself as a separate, sexual domain within the larger field of human psychophysical nature…sexuality effects the conceptual demarcation and isolation of that domain from other areas of personal and social life that have traditionally cut across it…sexuality generates sexual identity”. So I guess my first question could be does everyone agree with this definition? I believe this is a great way of explaining what sexuality really is. I believe sexuality is something that comes from within, and then can be expressed through outer actions. From this definition he goes into explaining how this view of sexuality is completely different from the recorded experiences of ancient times. How in Athens, “sex did not express inward dispositions or or inclinations so much as it served to position social actors in the places assigned to them, by virtue of their political standing, in the hierarchal structure of the Athenian polity” (Halperin, 7). When I was reading this article, I could not believe how the Athenians saw sexual penetration as “domination”. In modern times, when speaking of domination and sex in the same sentence, one would most likely think of rape. I could go on for a while about this article and the many viewpoints which it discusses throughout, so I will stop here by just noting some of the sentences which I found extremely interesting, and leave them for y’all to think about or discuss. I chose these specific quotes because I feel like they sum up many of the main ideas and examples discussed in the article, and could raise some good discussion.
1) “it is not sexuality which haunts society, but society which haunts the body’s sexuality” (Page 8)
2) “sexuality did not hold the key to the secrets of the human personality” (Page 8)
3) “Sexuality is not a cause but an effect. The social body precedes the sexual body” (Page 9)
4) “these men willingly adopt the dress, gait, and other characteristics of women, thereby confirming that they suffer not from a bodily disease but from mental (or moral) effect” (Page 11)
5) But it is not immediately evident that patterns of sexual object-choice are by their nature more revealing about the temperament of individua human beings, more significant determinants of personal identity, than, for example, patterns of dietary object choice” (Page 12)
6) “being a womanish man, or a mannish woman, after all, is not the same thins as being a homesexual” (Page 12)
7) “‘Men’ are defined as those who ‘compete with other men in the pursuits men, among themselves, engage in,’ whereas ‘women’ and characterized by the possession of ‘attributes that naturally complement masculine attributes'” (Page 14)