The Greek word eros denotes ‘want,’ 'lack,’ 'desire for that which is missing.’ The lover wants what he does not have. It is by definition impossible for him to have what he wants if, as soon as it is had, it is no longer wanting. This is more than wordplay. There is a dilemma within eros that has been thought crucial by thinkers from Sappho to the present day. Plato turns and returns to it. Four of his dialogues explore what it means to say that desire can only be for what is lacking, not at hand, not present, not in one’s possession nor in one’s being: eros entails endeia. As Diotima puts it in the Symposium, Eros is a bastard got by Wealth on Poverty and ever at home in a life of want (203b-e). Hunger is the analog chosen by Simone Weil for this conundrum:
All our desires are contradictory, like the desire for food. I want the person I love to love me. If he is, however, totally devoted to me he does not exist any longer and I cease to love him. And as long as he is not totally devoted to me he does not love me enough. Hunger and repletion. (1977, 364)
Emily Dickinson puts the case more pertly in “I Had Been Hungry”:
So I found
that hunger was a way
of persons outside windows
that entering takes away.
Petrarch interprets the problem in terms of the ancient physiology of fire and ice:
I know to follow while I flee my fire
I freeze when present; when absent, hot is my desire. (“Trionfo d'Amore”)
Sartre has less patience with the contradictory ideal of desire, this “dupery.” He sees in erotic relations a system of infinite reflections, a deceiving mirror-game that carries within itself its own frustration (1956, 444-45). For Simone de Beauvoir the game is torture: “The knight departing for new adventures offends his lady yet she has nothing but contempt for him if he remains at her feet. This is the torture of impossible love …” (1953, 619). Jacques Lacan puts the matter somewhat more enigmatically when he says “Desire … evokes lack of being under the three figures of the nothing that constitutes the basis of the demand for love, of the hate that even denies the other’s being, and of the unspeakable element in that which is ignored in its request” (1966, 28).
It would seem that these various voices are pursuing a common perception. All human desire is poised on an axis of paradox, absence and presence its poles, love and hate its motive energies. Let us return once more to the poem of Sappho with which we began. This fragment [Eros once again limb-loosener whirls me / sweetbitter, impossible to fight off, creature stealing up] (LP, fr. 130), as it is preserved in the text and scholia of Hephaestion, is followed without a break by two lines in the same meter, which may be from the same poem:
so im done like…. skimming through we for the most part and here are my comments (im not gonna say final bc i know this hell isnt over)
this is long but i’m not putting it in a read more bc i don’t want to like i want you to have to scroll through this.
1. none of the information/techniques/whatever on this book are actually new, there’s 14 pages worth of citations in the back of the book meaning that this book is essentially just like… a copy and paste of many people’s ideas and techniques so take that as you will
2. there’s quotes like everywhere? from like random famous women ranging from like rosa parks to emma watson to emily dickinson to anne frank…… it’s very odd it reminds me of that scene in the office where michael writes “ “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” - wayne gretsky” -michael scott anyway this is literally the most inclusive part of the whole book and also aside from crediting laverne cox as a transgender activist and actress there’s like…. literally no mention of trans women
3. this has to be one of the most heteronormative pieces of media i’ve consumed in a my life… every mention of a relationship talks about “he”. also never ever post abt how u think gillians gonna date a woman or she’s bi or whatever bc in the book she deadass just refers to all her partners (past and future) as he so there you go
4. there’s an excerpt that says you have to be thankful because you’re much better off than a huge percentage of the world population bc you have a fridge lol
5. in the humility section theres a part where they talk abt how we’re all equal and no one is better than anyone else but last time i checked gillian charges a small fortune for fans to meet her and doesn’t even treat them like equals so just a thought
6. the mandatory “feminism” section or w/e in the manifesto part of the book uses those statistics you’ve read a million times like there’s more CEOs named john than there are female CEOs like this book really has Nothing new to offer anyone
7. there’s a section where you’re encouraged to follow a diet while following these principles and it has a linked (yes! a typed out link in a book) to the BMI index and you’re told to go on it and check if you’re healthy or not like… don’t do that lmao
8. the quote “more than seven hundred million women live in hunger, and yet those with plenty battle obesity and depression” Fuck You
9. the quote “every minute, one woman dies needlessly in childbirth, while elsewhere in the world another woman spends thousands on cosmetic surgery because she isn’t able to feel comfortable with how she’s aging” again… Fuck you
10. the notion that we as (cis, straight, white) women cannot be expected to be respected by society if we don’t learn to respect ourselves by doing things like… flirting with other women’s husbands OR letting other women’s husbands flirt with you… Yes Really
this is all i feel like typing out right now bc i have other shit to do but… this book sucks and im 90% sure there was a ghost writer
Write me poetry
as my mouth exhales,
as I shut my eyes and
Let me know how it feels to lay
in a street that’s sound asleep.
Teach me the right way
count black sheep.
One, two, three
no, you cannot play with me.
Four, five, six
our team is already complete.
Seven, eight, nine
honey don’t mind them
they are just kids.
Voice your midnight prayers
your irrational fears
in my ear,
whenever the lord above doesn’t seem to hear.
Talk to me, love
does water taste sweeter
at three in the morning?
did the stars let you in
on a couple of their secrets?
Tell me all about that silver mistress
Talk to me, love
about her romantic way of dressing night
just to win over your heart.
Sing to me
the melodies that
blurr your lonely
and put your thoughts at ease.
Play hide and seek with the rising dawn
as you wait
for the weariness to come.
Write me poetry as I dream.
Leave it on my bedside
along with a cup of coffee
and a kiss.
I promise one in return
as soon as the sun has gone back
Policing Love as a Political Tactic: The Thought Crime of Women Loving Women
I remember the impact of realizing I was not straight had on me as a little girl. I was around eight years old. I fell in love with powerful women that I saw on TV and in the movies, most notably Storm from the X-Men films and some female detectives and doctors on TV dramas. I loved them and I knew in my heart that it was a love that transcended anything I had previously felt, though the feelings did confuse me. Did I want to *be* them, or did I want to *do* them? That confusion followed me well into my adulthood.
My point for bringing that up is because I suffered from years of repression. I would feel revulsion at my love for women, at my deep sexual attraction to the strong, amazing women I saw. The representation of lesbians and bisexual women was minimal, and whenever it came up, whether in songs, film, or television shows, my parents would immediately change the channel, turn the station, shut off the television, and make awful comments. “Who do they think they are, adding that in there? It’s disgusting. They’re just trying to be PC.” “You know she’s singing about a WOMAN right?? This singer is a d**e. Don’t listen to this song, I don’t want you getting any ideas.” “No, you can’t go see that, I heard it has lesbian shit in it.”
Soon that repression and those comments bled into my personal life. Everything was under surveillance, from my clothes and behaviors to my personal friendships. “You’re wearing that? You look like a fucking man. Take that off. You look like a d**e.” “Hmmm…aren’t those shoes a little d**ey? Go with the heels instead.” Even my healthy friendships came under fire: “You’re sleeping over at X’s AGAIN this weekend? I mean I know she’s your friend but she’s a little…well, you know, gay, right? I mean I’m just saying, I don’t want her to try and force you to do anything or experiment or shit like that.”
The celebration of women was suspect to my peers and parents. “Oh, you’re into that band? They’re, like, SUPER popular with the lesbians.” “Oh my god, I can’t believe you picked that movie, there were SOOOO many lesbians in there.” “What is this shit on your wall? Where did you get this d**e shit? This is the kinda shit a lesbian would put up, you don’t want people to think that about you, do you? Good. Take it down. I don’t want to see that shit in my house.”
None of these things that I enjoyed were explicit. I hung up pictures of women whose music I loved, who I had been introduced to by my parents: Indigo Girls, Joni Mitchell, pictures of feminists that I had read and felt inspired by, poets like Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath. They decorated my wall because I loved their descriptions of women. I applied those poems to myself. Maybe some part of me subconsciously realized they were a celebration of woman-love, something more than heterosexual, platonic female friendship, but I didn’t know that. I wasn’t trying to challenge my parents. I had just found voices that echoed my own.
Growing up in the new millennium gave me a perspective of openness. There were other gay and bisexual people around me. I was beyond delighted! I couldn’t believe it! I wasn’t alone! No one was disgusted by my love of women. No one tried to hide me, no one was ashamed of me, and I wasn’t ashamed of them. I finally found like I had found a space, a LIFE, where I could live as myself without shame.
But now that’s changed. I posted something on another social media profile of mine that was simply pictures of women, and someone commented with that now-common accusation: “lol, what is this terf shit?”
And I stared at it with a mixture of annoyance and disappointment. I responded, it’s just pictures of women. How is that trans-exclusionary? And they said, well what’s the source? I said I didn’t know. They gave me a flighty response: “oh lol, sorry, just wanted to make sure!”
Make sure of what? That I wasn’t committing some heinous crime that would dare celebrate women? That I wasn’t supporting something they hated? Women who are deemed terfs are reviled, and we are often on the receiving end of horrifically detailed rape and death threats. Lesbians cannot even post about their love lives on their personal blogs without receiving an influx of violent and degrading comments, questioning their sexuality and being bullied to the point that it becomes abundantly clear that if they don’t include transgender women (males) in their relationships, then they’re not ~REALLY~ LESBIANS, they’re just “gyno-sexuals” and “genital fetishists.” The only reason to police these women, to make sure the celebration of women, by women, accepts males, is the oldest reason: misogyny. The only reason any lesbian receives hate for her sexuality, for her HOMOSEXUALITY, is misogyny.
The current political ideology of pomo idpol is just brand new, socially accepted fodder to hate women. When you see a woman posting anything that doesn’t include men, and celebrates the love a woman feels for another, and you decide to question, harass, and punish her for it, YOU ARE A HOMOPHOBIC MISOGYNIST. You are putting women back in the closet when we’ve recently been able to take steps outside. Women celebrating women, women LOVING and being attracted to other women should not be a threat, but it is, and I won’t pretend I don’t know why.
To try and psychologically bully a lesbian into accepting male genitalia under the guise of wanting to ~broaden~ her horizons and asking her to ~examine~ her sexuality is exactly what they did to lesbians in the 50’s and 60’s: conversion therapy under a post-modern label. It’s a violent tactic to try and turn a HOMOsexual person HETEROsexual, purely because YOU cannot accept a woman who will not be with a man, because YOU are uncomfortable at a sexuality that does not involve a penis.
if i give you all my faults
if i reveal for you
all my secret imperfections
if i map out the dead end roads
tell you my tolls
drive you to where the light goes sloe
the flowers grow no longer
remember it gently
promise that you’ll
never use the mirror
in some war
m a r c h -09- b p c || book haul (pt. 4) || paperbacks
The Complete Poem of Emily Dickinson - Johnson The Complete Novels of Jane Austen The Stranger - Albert Camus The Sonnets - William Shakespeare To a God Unknown - John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck A Handful of Dust - Evelyn Waugh The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera The Dinner - Herman Koch State of Wonder - Ann Patchett The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros Gilead - Marilynne Robinson The Book of Life - Stuart Nadler The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides The Constant Art of Writing - N.M. Kelby Total spent: $9.00