Genshiken ch 95-97 … as a symptom of man

Or rather she exists, but as a “symptom of man” created for his ontological consistency” – Slavoj Žižek (1)

Drag 'em to the transporter, Spock!

Drag ’em to the transporter, Spock! 


Chapters 95 through 97 are finally available to us illiterate leeches and the wait was well worth it. Running various other efforts through Google xlate left giant holes in the story line, and posted synopses omitted the fine details – I assume out of a wish not to spoil our eventual enjoyment of the full version. Such a feast of goings on! Where to start?

— Warning! many theory-ish digressions and block-quotes ahead!
Proceed at your own risk! (The first section is just me fanning out on the aforementioned chapters, then the theory hits the impeller and things get odd! Give it a try if you are in the mood for some light reading…)

The Sue yuri factor crashes and burns at the starting gate:

I dont date guys” done as a direct Ogiue qote, referenced with an insert pic to hammer home the point.

dont date 45p24web

Here’s the Chapter 45 flash-back for all who need a refresher: Ogiue is near death from hangover and nightmares over her “sin” and Sas drops a confession on her. No, she doesn’t date them, she ships them and then they get horribly broken. And she can’t stop herself – she is abject, alien, not-woman and all too human at the same time.

Homo-ue c45p16web


nightmare c45p18web


nightmare c45p19web


falling 45p23web

The gang got wind of all this when Sas was prodded to pursue her. We must assume that Ohno relayed the complete tale, including the previous evening’s procedings to Sue, in the manner of “My name is Ogiue and I hate Otaku!“. Ogiue is legend within the Genshiken and Sue holds her in awe, so shipping while dating ist verbotten.

Hmmm! I wonder what Sue is drawing in her spare time?

Rika Yoshitake shows her devious side, or is it tough love…

1) Preserve the vip members – ‘Rame is a loser is fair game. She offered him Keiko and he failed to take the correct path. Sue once again gets to abjure Mada interest, in fact all dating interest. But Hato is not so easily dissuaded. Somewhere in Hato’s DIY idea of man-love is an odd form of pathetic-moe for Madarame. I still think that Hato’s main problem -as written- is a long, drawn-out elaboration of the effects of him having absolutely no experience at male friendship. Very funny.

Hato must gather up all of his courage for a tete a tete with Mada. After all, the last time they interacted Hato was presenting him as an offering to Angela followed shortly by Hato being bundled up with Sue by Angela and so presented to him. Which led to the broken wrist. And if Madarame is at all clued in to Angela’s “jealousy” reading of Hato’s sou-uke outburst during the summer Comket, and has begun to process the “forever” moment in the Nidiame anime, then he has a lot of concrete reasons, beyond fear of man/ otokonoko/ otomeyaku -lurv to question Hato’s fixation.

Hato is loading his Karma, Hato is a jinx! Rika fears the eventual explosion.

2) An attack of hardnosed realism: Rika will jettison her fujoshi fantasies when things get too dire in 3D land, either because Hato will get broken when it all goes PronG! (also, IRL, she expects that only two gay males can bond) or because she see Yajima’s uncomfortable silence as hoping for this, folowed by a rebound opportunity.

3) Yajima is really getting bent out of shape by her awakening feelings. Rika’s view of her own possibilities for a relationship remains submerged.

Who lives where now?

Things are clearer now. Madarame’s older apartment block is next to one edge of the campus. Hato (and now Sue’s) newer apartment block is across the campus, a bit beyond it. The possibility of all three ending up in the same apartment block is discounted via a lampshade aside. Here’s a map of the alternate universe University, Lets all guess where everyone lives!

Here is some more location hunt fun: pics from the “alternate universe”, ca 2005

Hato kept the key. Food is good, so is cold medicine. Did he cook it or pick it up at the grocery store? C’mon Hato-chan, get your game on!

When folks from Hokkaido come to Tokyo, they catch colds:

This is a bit of urban lore from Japan, that summaries the awful truth that Kanto area dwellings are woefully un-insulated, lacking in weatherproofing and furnished with meager, expensive heating technologies. Caught a cold taking a shower… Jeeesh!

Back to our regularly scheduled fan-out:

Of course the big news is that Hato is becoming more “trans” and more “gay”, as he definitely wants to confess to Madarame.

Could all of the original Genshiken fans with noses bent out of joint have been right all along ???

The Enemy Within

The original Star Trek series never was that “big in Japan”; next to Bible-in-literature references, Trekkie references are sure to draw blank stares and possibly annoyed frowns from Japanese folks.

Fortunately reconciling with your multiple personalities is a well-worn manga plot. We don’t need a Shatnerian wrestling ham-fest to get the moment when Hato  “takes responsibility” for his feelings for Mada, and “admits” them, along with the yaoi tastes that spawned them into his real self. Next step: Hato-chan is a big part of him too, and part of the reason for current Hato-chan to exist, per the Kaminaga Stand, is to throw his female self at Mada and see if anything sticks. But the main reason, and the one that has led him to try on the “Mada only Mada” plot, remains the enjoyment of fujoshi company, no longer as “passing” but as really getting into it.

some habits C97p10web still a guy c97p11web

The lad is a bit compulsive.

In effect, he is now going even more all out to develop a fujoshi-female subjectivity.

Why is of course a whole other matter.

Is Hato-chan merely his hobby/ part of his hobby? We see no indication beyond the Stands that he thought of himself as female trapped in a male body. Is it all Otokonoko all the way down? Odd female- written reading  material tastes and narrative desires trapped in a male body o’ plenty, but no “I wish I was born a girl” moments have been presented to us. Besides deciding to ship himself, he has developed a severe case of “BL goggles” – as Ogiue witnessed when the stuco boys came nosing around. And of course there is still one big problem with his Mada- crush:

Ogiue can go from “I don’t date guys” to Up-with-Sas-put, because she viewed shipping them while dating them as a sin that can be absolved by confession.

Hato still risks destroying his greatest desire to persue a secondary one.

And he still isn’t written as really “gay”. The script (as Kaminaga-Stand) insists that it must be “you and only you” to cathect his quasi-fujoshi desire. “Gay” remains too easy:

One precondition for slash (and yaoi) fandom is an awareness of the existence of homosexuality, which nonetheless remains largely abstract. Firsthand familiarity with mundane, real-life homosexuality must inevitably dilute the thrill of slash, which is based to a great degree on a sense of taboo violation. Further, the introduction of overt politics into a romance narrative is a turn-off to many readers. Thus it is may be that slash (and yaoi) simply do not appeal to women who feel less constrained by gender constructs (which is to say, those raised in a more progressive social environment with more developed feminist consciousness) and for whom homosexuality has little sense of taboo. -Matt Thorn, Girls And Women Getting Out Of Hand: The Pleasure And Politics Of Japan’s Amateur Comics Community, Archived at:

fujoshi haiku hinozaki_san_ki_o_ota_shika_ni v01 c003 8web

Rika would beg to differ. She uses the looks like a duck, quacks like a duck rule. So in becoming-fujoshi, what the heck is going on?

A Plague of Fantasies

We know that there are third- hand muddy post-lacanian footprints all over the new fujoshified Genshiken, via SaitoTamaki and possibly much of the feminist discourse surrounding yaoi that appeared in japanese critical writings in the the last decade. Kio Shimoku does do his research.

A narrative implies a character and a posited subject-view or subjectivity to create motivation and drive a plot. The subjectivity of characters is also of paramount importance to the reader’s undersatanding and identification with the character and greater story.

Shimoku is a male writer toying with almost-female shojo-ish romance, cloaked as done-wrong BL, groping for a convincing altenative. Perhaps he also has a bigger story in mind.

What are the alternatives for Hato?  becoming-woman? becoming-trans? becoming-gay? becoming-cyborg?

Or becoming-monster?

Or as one forum fan ventured:

“Hato is indeed the protagonist now, and whilst I haven’t been following the manga past this point, I can see how the season will continue.

Hato realises his dream of becoming a BL mangaka but finds himself caught up in a deadly war against the bishoujo fandom. The stress drives him away from his normal friends and Madarame. The Genshiken circle turns inwards, and everyone in it drives into isolation as each becomes absorbed into making their own signature manga as the recession deepens. Meanwhile their art spills into the real world because Ogiue told a lie about her favourite baseball bat being taken away by a dog. In the finale all of humanity is lost in the panels and their bodies dissolve into ink. At that point Madarame comes back and decides to make his signature manga about a world where everyone can live again, only now otakus’ skills are in demand and they have hope. But since he has to write the manga he can never be part of it, and only Hato remembers him.

Oh who am I kidding? Madarame can’t write like that. They would be locked in an eroge.”
– From the TV trope Genshiken discussion forum –

WHOOO HAH! Paranoia Genshiken Agents!

Roll first feature:

Much as the Lacanian spectrum’s (Puh-lease.. le “maitre” didn’t care to pin down what his own theories were most of the time either) Oedipus/ law/ castration/ “exchange of females” story of male subjectivity draws a blank, and then fills in as afterthought the mechanisms of female subjectivity, Shimoku-sensei is playing at developing/ exploring the perils of a different form of evolving subject-hood – one based on the adoption of a fantastic, female form of desire by a male. Complex, neh? but not unheard of before in the Theory-verse.

it must be noted that while such a desire may fall within a “trans” continuum or spectrum, it is willfuly oblivious of any IRL trans or gay or even queer-in-widest-sense subjectivities. It remains an innovative narrative and a thought experiment, and perhaps a mirror of some of the newer theory work on identity, subjectivity and point- of- view.

Hato-as-chan in effect wanting to wield the fujoshi’s appropriated phallus and drive it around like a monster truck. Sure it is imaginary, it always has been, for both boys and girls…

Odd that the post-Lacanian theory tribes have oodles to say about femininity, female identity and becoming-woman: though it is primarily considered as something that is done to/ happens to (at least at first), to females as a side- effect of male subjectivity

Where are my Cliff’s notes? Hmmm! This will work:

Marooned off Vesta

Once upon a time (Honking big block-quote warning!) there was…

“”Possession, Exchange, and Sexuality

The first element of the masculine position of subjectivity is the same as Hegel’s first element of property—possession. The first masculine response to the universal condition of castration is simple denial. The Masculine lies and claims not to be castrated, to still have the Phallus . The “proof” of this is that he has a penis. In the masculine imaginary, therefore, only anatomically male persons are recognized as being full persons. This masculine strategy is obviously untenable. Deep in one’s heart, everyone feels one is castrated. Consequently, the Masculine adopts a second fallback position.

The other element of the masculine position is the third Hegelian element of alienation through exchange. From the masculine position, the origin of law and of subjectivity as intersubjectivity is created by an attempted exchange of the object of desire.

Zizek,explains the development of subjectivity from the mirror to the oedipal stage as follows:

Before the reign of Law, Mother (the “primordial Other”) appears as the “phantom of the Omnipotence”; the subject depends totally on its “whim,” on its arbitrary (self) will, for the satisfaction of its needs; in these conditions of total dependence on the Other, the subject’s desire is reduced to the demand for the Other’s love — to the endeavor to comply with the Other’s demand and thus gain its love. The subject identifies its desire with the desire of the Other-Mother, assuming a position of complete alienation: it finds itself totally submitted to the Other-without-place, non-subjected to any kind of law, which, according to its momentary whim, can satisfy or not satisfy the subject’s demand.

The advent of symbolic Law breaks this closed circle of alienation: the subject experiences how the Other-Mother itself obeys a certain Law (the paternal Word); the omnipotence and self will of the Other are thereby “checked”, subordinated to an “absolute condition”. . . . [T]he Other is no longer a figure of full omnipotence: what the subject obeys is no longer the Other’s will but a Law which regulates its relationship to the Other — the Law imposed by the Other is simultaneously the Law which the Other itself must obey.

The “Other’s whim”— the fantasy-image of an omnipotent Other upon the self-will of which our satisfaction depends — is therefore but a way to avoid the lack in the Other: the Other could have procured the object of full satisfaction; the fact that it did not do so depends simply upon its inscrutable self-will.

Since the Child imagines that he once had the Phallus (i.e., wholeness, union with the Mother) prior to the mirror stage, he must retroactively explain its loss, but in a way that can deny his loss. He tells himself that the Father threatened to take away the Phallus which the male child conflates with his penis. The Father and son reached an agreement that if the son submitted to castration (the Law-of-the-Father), the Name-of-the-Father will recompense him by allowing him to adopt the Father’s name and marry another woman. The son would then be recognized as a speaking subject, a member of the symbolic community, and thereby regain his wholeness. As in Hegel, the son sees himself and the Father as being mutually constituted as subjects through the exchange of the object of desire. Each recognizes the other as a subject objectified through objects of desire, yet not dependent on any specific object of desire. Through this symbolic exchange of the Phallic Woman, the community of subjects is created, just as the actual exchange of property constitutes abstract right, the first stage in the eventual development of the community of the state.

Of course, a typical initial reaction to this theory is that this story seems less satisfactory for girls than for boys.

At bottom, the woman is introduced into the symbolic pact of marriage as the object of exchange between — I wouldn’t say “men,” although it is men who effectively are supports for it — between lineages, fundamentally androcentric lineages. To understand the various elementary structures is to understand how these objects of exchanges, the women, circulate between these lineages. . . . The fact that the woman is thus bound up in an order of exchange in which she is object is really what accounts for the fundamentally conflictual character, I wouldn’t say without remedy, of her position — the symbolic order literally subdues her, transcends her. (Lacan, Seminar I).

The parallels between Lacan’s concept of the role of the symbolic exchange of Woman in the formation of the subject and language and Lévi-Strauss’s structuralist anthropological theory of the role of the exchange of actual women in the origin of culture is obvious and has been frequently noted. See, e.g ., Butler, Gender Trouble

Of course, for feminists, one of the most significant aspects of these theories is that the community is conceived as a community of men that necessarily excludes women. As Butler says (specifically referring to Lévi-Strauss but in a context which compares his theory of the incest taboo with Freud’s):

The relation of reciprocity established between men, however, is the condition of a relation of radical nonreciprocity between men and women and a relation, as it were, of nonrelation between women. -Butler, Gender Trouble,

For her, the oedipus complex involves no rewards, no authority, no compensation for her abandonment of the mother; rather, it entails her acceptance of her subordination. It involves the “discovery” that what the boy has been threatened with — castration— has already taken place in the girl. He believes that she and the mother are castrated. In her “recognition” of her narcissistic inadequacy, the girl abandons the mother as a love-object, and focuses her libidinal drives on the father now recognized as “properly” phallic. The girl has quickly learned that she does not have the phallus, nor the power it signifies. She comes to accept, not without resistance, her socially designated role as subordinate to the possessor of the phallus, and through her acceptance, she comes to occupy the passive, dependent position expected of women in patriarchy.

Didn’t Lacan admit that there is “something insurmountable, something unacceptable in the fact [that woman is] placed as an object [of exchange] in a symbolic order to which, at the same time, she is subjected just as much as the man”?

Because of the conflation of gender and sex, the female child, insofar as she takes on the position of “woman,” tends to identify with her mother, as the castrated self. She can never fully join the community of castrating Fathers because she, and they, conflate her lack of the penis with the inability to have the Phallus . She, therefore, can only aspire to be the Phallus , to be the object of desire for men. As a woman she is forever barred from the intersubjective regime which creates subjectivity because she is the object of that regime.

As a result, women experience Peniseid (penis envy) not in the literal sense of wanting an actual penis but in the sense of a depressive nostalgic longing for an imaginary lost state of wholeness — of a subjectivity and community she is denied insofar as she is positioned as a “woman.” The desire to have the Phallus is forever thwarted because the symbolic order names the Phallus as that which is possessed and exchanged only between those positioned as “men.” Insofar as she is recognized as a “woman,” she is a person without a Phallus —she is castrated. Castration is, therefore, denial of an affirmative femininity.

But in fact, the girl’s situation only seems less satisfactory than the boy’s at first blush. Lacan’s description of the woman as object of exchange comes from one of his earliest seminars, and, even then, he recognized that men as well as women were subjected. As his ideas developed, it became clear that the apparent exchange between those who are positioned as “men” cannot be truly satisfactory, because it is not real. It is a lie. Indeed, the Masculine failed strategy for dealing with castration is, in fact, the simultaneous adoption of two mutually inconsistent strategies. First, the Masculine merely denied castration, he claimed that he still does have the Phallus . Second, when he was forced to recognize that he has lost the Phallic Mother, he claimed that he narrowly escaped castration in the sense of the involuntary taking of the Phallus by his retroactive consent in exchange for a promise for a replacement in the future. “For whereas in the earlier texts the emphasis was on the circulation of the phallus in the process of sexual exchange, in these texts it is effectively stated that if it is the phallus that circulates then there is no exchange (or relation).” Desire can never be satisfied. The son exchanges something he does not have (access to the Phallic Mother, identity with the Feminine) for something that does not exist (the Phallus , access to the Feminine) in order to achieve something with no content (subjectivity).

[Lacan rejects all usual attempts to account for the prohibition of incest: from utilitarianism to Lévi-Strauss, they all promise something in exchange for this radical renunciation; they all present it as a “reasonable” decision which provides a greater amount of long-term pleasure, a multitude of women, and so on—in [short], they all refer to some Good as its ground, contrary to Lacan for whom the prohibition of incest is unconditional, since it is radically unaccountable. In it, I give something in exchange for nothing —or (and therein consists its fundamental paradox) in so far as the incestuous object is in itself impossible, I give nothing in exchange for something (the “permitted” non-incestuous object).
Castration is universal. Those who are positioned as men dread the loss of their subjectivity through the loss of its signifier, the Phallus , precisely because it is always already lost—it is exiled into the real. Men are trying to deny the horrible truth. Men experience castration fear not in the literal sense of fearing genital mutilation but in the sense of a morbid dread of confronting the “fact” of their symbolic castration. In other words, men are every bit as castrated as women are, but the masculine strategy is different from the feminine strategy. Men identify with the Name-of-the-Father who bears the Phallus . They try to assert their paternal wholeness by projecting their lack onto Woman as the symbol of lack. They do this by the imaginary identification of the Phallus , which everyone lacks, with the one organ that men have but women lack. In this sense, Woman is the symptom of man.]

Although this formulation makes it sound as if femininity is subordinated to masculinity, one can read it to mean the opposite. Women are in the arguably more successful psychic position in that they are not self-deluded in quite the way that men (always unsuccessfully) try to be. It is not Woman who is a mutilated man, as men claim. Rather, men are failed women — vir is incomplete virgo .

The real is, therefore, not the threat of castration, it is the fact of a castration which has always already occurred. There is a hole, a lie, and a fiction at the heart of subjectivity. The subject is nothing. There are no sexual relations, only failed attempts because all human relations must be mediated and mediation is impossible. This leads to love — the impossible relation of seeing in someone more than she is and in giving back more than one has in order to fill in the hole of subjectivity. Love is seeing the lost kernel of the real in the other.

select notes…

[One should not confuse this with a simple misogynist view of the feminine as dependent on, inferior to, or somehow less authentic than the masculine. In Lacan’s theory, “symptom” does not have the layperson’s meaning. Zizek, explains:

If, however, we conceive the symptom as it was articulated in Lacan’s last writings and seminars . . . namely, as a particular signifying formation which confers on the subject its very ontological consistency, enabling it to structure its basic, constitutive relationship toward jouissance, then the entire relationship between the symptom and the subject is reversed: If the symptom is dissolved, the subject loses ground under his feet, he disintegrates. In this sense, “Woman is a symptom of man” means that Man himself exists only through woman qua his symptom: all his ontological consistency hangs on, is suspended from, is “externalized” in his symptom. In other words, man literally ex-sists: his entire being lies “out there,” in woman. Woman, on the other hand, does not exist, she insists, which is why she does not come to be only through man. Something in her escapes the relation to Man, the reference to the phallic enjoyment; and, as is well known, Lacan endeavored to capture this excess by the notion of a “non-all” feminine jouissance .

Zizek, Tarrying with the Negative, supra note 70, at 188 (footnote omitted).]”

– Schroeder, Jeanne L. The Vestal and the Fasces: Hegel, Lacan, Property, and the Feminine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.


Visit the original for full, super-detailed footnoting, and a really interesting view of property ‘law”/ rights from a feminist perspective that whacks Hegel and all manner of Lacanishness together for fun and insight.

Ok, I dropped in the big block-quote because it is a real fast and neat summary of the whole Freud through Lacan Oedipus thing, with all the others including Slavoj Žižek theory-sh tropes served up in a convenient casserole. If this is your first exposure to such weirdness, don’t worry – they do go on, but it’s all pretty harmless.

The Freud/ Lacan fable is one of primal male fear. (Hiya mistuh Hegel!) Male desire is only present in the shadows lurking at the edge of the stage: Get everything you want, the female, the power to wield the Law (as ideology/ religion/ society) and the absolute right to continue to play out the fantasy narrative (but never to revise the plot).. To become a one dimensional warlord uber-daddy who is only interested in his children as off-spring slaves/ property that will continue his “story” beyond his death. And to willingly pay the price of maintaining this fantasy, he will insert himself into a heirarchial social order where he will consent to subservience to greater power as the price of being able to enjoy power within his little family-empire. Do this in memory of me; lest madness snatch away your soul and your very being.

In the days of my youth, I was told what it means to be a man…

What is truly oppressive about this little fable is how much of human experience is erased in its telling. Aside from the criminal erasure of the female, a powerful amount of male experience is erased by this tale as well. Perhaps it works for bandits, medieval peasant guys and cult leaders but it imposes such a violence upon normal male life, experience and aspiration as to provoke ridicule and disgust even among us supposedly privileged guys. Oh, and it turns half of humanity into an afterthought, a thing, property. Did I mention criminal?

Worse, it commits the unpardonable sin – present too in so many religions and ideologies – of being dead boring stupid. It lacks imagination. As a ripping good yarn, it fails miserably. Perhaps David Mamet could flesh it out with screaming guy characters and a certain breed of tyro actor would glom onto it but the audience would walk away feeling that they were snookered. Guess they had really lousy manga back in Lacan’s day. Space Battleship Yamato has more plotting mojo than the whole Freud/ Lacan/ post-Lacan legend of the fall. Don’t even get me started on “Western” religions.

Even Zizek’s ninjitsu trick with the lacanian symptom does little to salvage the exercise; instead both male and female are left up a creek without a paddle, while some residual “feminine” floats about unable to do anything but represent some ethereal “indivisible remainder” or “devil’s share”. Again, the whole exercise is tainted by a terrible melancholy.

There must be better just-so-stories lurking about:

Second Feature:

Time for a giant pile of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari!

Prepare for brain hurt!

“”When Virginia Woolf was questioned about a specifically women’s writing, she was appalled at the idea of writing “as a woman.” Rather, writing should produce a becoming-woman as atoms of womanhood capable of crossing and impregnating an entire social field, and of contaminating men, of sweeping them up in that becoming. Very soft particles–but also hard and obstinate, irreducible, indomitable. The rise of women in English novel writing has spared no man: even those who pass for the most virile, the most phallocratic, such as Lawrence or Miller, in their turn continually tap into and emit particles that enter the proximity or zone of indiscernability of women. In writing, they become-women. The question is not, or not only, that of the organism, history, and subject of enunciation that oppose masculine and feminine in the great dualism machines. The question is fundamentally that of the body*–the body they steal from us in order to fabricate opposable organisms. This body is first stolen from the girl: Stop behaving like that, you’re not a little girl anymore, you’re not a tomboy, etc. The girl’s becoming is stolen first, in order to impose a history, a prehistory, upon her. The boy’s turn comes next, but it is by using the girl as an example, by pointing to the girl as the object of his desire, that an opposed organism, a dominant history is fabricated for him too. The girl is the first victim, but she must also serve as an example and a trap. That is why, conversely, the reconstruction of the Body without Organs, the anorganism* of the body, is inseparable from a becoming-woman, or the production of molecular woman. Doubtless, the girl becomes a woman in the molar or organic sense. But conversely, becoming-woman or the molecular woman is the girl itself.

The girl is certainly not defined by virginity; she is defined by a relation of movement and rest, speed and slowness, by a combination of atoms, an emission of particles, a haecceity. She never ceases to roam upon a body without organs. She is an abstract line, or a line of flight. Thus girls do not belong to an age group, sex, order, or kingdom: they slip in everywhere, between orders, acts, ages, sexes; they produce n molecular sexes on the line of flight in relation to the dualism machines they cross right through. The only way to get outside the dualisms is to be-between, to pass between, the intermezzo–that is what Virginia Woolf lived with all her energies, in all of her work, never ceasing to become.”
– A Thousand Plateaus: 276-77

In other words

“”That which was enunciated as birth-machine has to become anorganic, so that man does not have to situate and cannot be situated against woman enunciated as a threatening “w/hole.” Becoming-woman, then, is not to become woman, but to become molecular, polysemic, non-organic, or better, not defined by organs and their functions. Hence, Deleuze’s flow is directed against the monolithic, against the historically masculine, especially against the phallus as the primary signifier that translates everything, but not against man, and definitely not against man as defined by his organs and its functions. Any representation of a subject assigned, also “the feminine,” risks the stopping of flows. Only the deterritorialization of representation, and hence, of any binary opposition, can effect a subversive infiltration of power structures.””

– With or Without Lacan? Becoming-Woman between the Language of Organs and the Anorganism of Language – Stevie Schmiedel In theory@buffalo issue 8: deleuze and feminism [2003] Barish Ali and Alla Ivanchikova, eds.
Get the whole issue-‎

Tilted on its side, what we have here is a curious analogue to notions of the post-human and the Singularity thing that have been floating around western futurism for the last 30-40 years, but with added philosophy-babble. in other words, we have started creeping around on Haraway‘s turf.  This ( serves as a good round-up, but misses Metropolis’ grandma:

On the internet, no one knows …  whatever…

Somebody out there has criticized this as “technological determinism” (duh? you reading this on clay tablets?)

Note as well, that this is not quite the “great ball of warm goo” that the Freud-castrated male subject arrives at when imagining the female. It is an excess and not the former’s lack. Peace upon the troubled shade of Mishima; he could have been so much more, had he not been so afraid.

Until all the hells are empty…

Yo! Dr.Tamaki! Are you paying attention?

More fun and insight from an Anti-Oedipus aproach to Film Theory and “the male gaze”

“Elizabeth Cowie’s interesting ‘Representing the Woman: Cinema and Psychoanalysis’ (1997) treats identification and spectatorship in a way that is very close to Deleuzean psychoanalysis, but still refers to the Freudian staples. First, Cowie asserts that the gender of the character does not necessarily determine the viewer’s identification. Rather, she argues that “there is no single or dominant ‘view’ or look in the cinema (either the male gaze or Christian Metz’s identification with oneself seeing4), but a continual construction of looks, with a constant production of the spectator-position and thus subject”

– The Female Spectator’s Laughter: Anti-Oedipus to Free Female Spectatorship – Ilaria Serra, in T@b8, supra (that’s citation-speak for go back a bit, I already cited the journal that it is in)


“First Step: Ode to Sex Multiplicity:

Deleuze and Guattari legitimate our wish to de-sexualize identification.
They negate the Freudian “bizarre notion that there is finally only one sex, the masculine, in relation to which the woman, the feminine, is defined as lack, an absence”. On the contrary, according to them, “the molecular unconscious . . . knows nothing of castration because partial objects lack nothing and form free multiplicities as such”. The unconscious is partial because it is always forming itself in a multiplicity of shapes by effect of desire; this is what Deleuze and Guattari call “the desiring-machine” that is at the center of our being. The result of desire cannot be established once and forever (what a difference from the Freudian two-fold possibility!). Rather it is everywhere a microscopic transexuality, resulting in the woman containing as many men as the man, and the man as many women, all capable of entering–men with women, women with men–into relations of production of desire that overturn the statistical order of the sexes. Making love is not just becoming as one, or even two, but becoming as a hundred thousand. Desiring-machines or the nonhuman sex: not one or even two sexes, but n sexes. Schizoanalysis is the variable analysis of n sexes in a subject, and with which it represents its own sexuality. The schizoanalytic slogan of the desiring-revolution will be first of all: to each its own sexes.

Deleuze and Guattari thus criticize the tendencies in Freudian psychoanalysis to cage human beings into specific roles and gendered fantasies, such as Oedipal sexuality, heterosexuality, homosexuality, castration: “We deny that these are productions of the unconscious,” they argue. They thus come very close to Constance Penley’s assertion that “sexual difference, one’s unconscious sexual position, is constructed through the unconscious, but the unconscious is not itself sexually differentiated” (Camera Obscura, 21-22: 256). They directly touch some feminist issues when they pickaxe other staples of Freudian criticism:

”We have not finished chanting the litany of the ignorances of the unconscious; it knows nothing of castration or Oedipus, just as it knows nothing of parents, gods, the law, lack. The Women’s Liberation movements are correct in saying: We are not castrated, so you get fucked. . . . It should be recognized that Women’s Liberation movements contain, in a more or less ambiguous state, what belongs to all requirements of liberation: the force of the unconscious itself, the investment by desire of the social field, the disinvestment of repressive structures. Nor are we going to say that the question is not that of knowing if women are castrated, but only if the unconscious “believes it,” since all ambiguities lie there.”

-ibid Serra: 109-10

Now for a bit of pyrotechnics:

“Second Step: a New Desire, and a New Pleasure:

For Deleuze, the schizophrenic unconscious is the “desiring-machines or the nonhuman sex,” that in the case of cinematic spectatorship, is formed by n sexes, it is formed by the production of desire and it rejoices in the pleasure of this production. Desire and pleasure have new meanings for Deleuze and Guattari. For them, desire is not desire for something we lack. We cannot be forced “to choose between production
and acquisition. From the moment we place desire on the side of the acquisition, we make desire an idealistic (dialectical, nihilistic) conception, which causes us to look upon it as primarily a lack: a lack of an object, a lack of a real object”. Instead, desire is the cause of production, and is itself production.

This is the turning point in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy, though it is difficult to grasp because it upsets the state of things and our common (Freudian) thinking. Desire is not a production of the subject who lacks something and it is not the search “to establish the primary feeling of satisfaction” (Laplanche: 121). It is instead an autonomous force. Desire is the productive force itself. For Deleuze, the entire universe can be thought as being the result of a desire. Desire is the center of creation. It is the drive for creation. We do not create desire, since desire creates us. This creative/desiring drive is “the desire machine,” and the autonomous “productive and reproductive desire machines” are at the center of our personality. Our volatile subjectivity turns around it. Desire produces what we are. Desire makes us everything.” -Serra: 110-11

Then one becomes monster:

“Third Step: A New Identification:

“There is no fixed subject unless there is repression”, writes Deleuze. Therefore, outside repression, in the free space of fantasy (or in the movie theater) our subject is free to desire and to produce thousands of new identities. “Identification” means “becoming” thousands of new identities. Deleuze and Guattari speak of “identification” in a Nietzschean sense, as the “subject who passes through a series of states, and who identifies these states with the names of history: ‘every name in history is I . . . .’ The subjects spread itself out along the entire circumference of the circle, the center of which has been abandoned by the ego. At the center there is the desiring-machine”
They do not believe in the ego, but in the subject, and that this subject is never the center of our being, but rather an ever-changing creation of the desiring-machine that is at our center. In the act of watching a movie (always for Guattari and Deleuze) there is no “ego.” “The ego is like daddy-mummy: the schizo has long since ceased to believe in it”. So, don’t ask the female viewer to identify with the woman on the screen. And don’t ask the man to identify with the man on the screen. Don’t ask them to identify with the Freudian journey of the story. “Why try to bring him [and her] back to what he [and she] has escaped from, why set him [her] back amid problems that are no longer problems to him [and her]”?. Here lies the opposition between Freud–with his “narrow and limited conception of the ego” imprisoned in “his own tripartite formula–the Oedipal, neurotic one: daddy-mummy-me” –and the spectator/schizo. We–as spectators/schizos–resist.

We don’t want to be reduced to one impoverishing “ego” (that is why Freud doesn’t like us: “Freud doesn’t like schizophrenics. He doesn’t like their resistance to being oedipalized, and tends to treat them more or less as animals. -Serra: 112


“The comparison between the schizo and the filmmaker is drawn out by Gilles Deleuze in his more sober book, Cinema 2, where he defines the filmmaker who “becomes another, in so far as he takes real characters as intercessors and replaces his fiction by their own story-telling”. Deleuze here quotes the poet Rimbaud: “I is another” (Je est un autre); “the film-maker . . . ‘white just like Rimbaud, himself exclaims that I is another,’ that is me a black. When Rimbaud exclaims, ‘I am of inferior race for all eternity . . . I am a beast, a Negro . . .’ it is in the course of passing through a whole series of forgers”. The true schizos are the artists for Deleuze and Guattari, because they are able to produce a thousand new identities around them. Their models are Friedric Nietzsche, who says “Every name of history is I”; Antonin Artaud, who asserts “I, Antonin Artaud, am my son, my father, my mother, and myself” (Here Lies, quoted in Anti-Oedipus: 15); and Vaslav Nijinsky, who is able to state, “I am God I was not God I am a clown of God; I am Apis. I am an Egyptian. I am a red Indian. I am a Negro. I am a Chinaman. I am a Japanese. I am a foreigner, a stranger. . . . I am husband and wife in one. I love my wife. I love my husband” (Diary, qtd. Anti-Oedipus: 77).

The feminist filmmaker is conscious of her own schizoid dimension,
as Julie Dash demonstrates by opening her Daughters of the Dust with this proud admission of schizophrenia. The voice over exclaims in fact: “I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the barren one and many are my daughters. I am the silence that you can not understand. I am the utterance of my name” –ibid Serra: 116

More variations on D&G abound on the net: visit and/or grab for a denser take on the mess. Another summary article:  has a good roundup of feminist theory responses to the D&G “becoming woman” thing. I note that film theory folks in particular seem to have a real strong taste for this stuff. The multiple shifting points of view in film lend themselves to the fracture/ expansion of subjectivities. T.S.Elliot hit on this in The Wasteland, but his solution was, in the end, melancholic.

For now, lets tell a different just-so story:

The precocious girl-child at the onset of awareness of sexual difference realizes that the boy’s just-so story is riddled with contradictions; a nonsensical hoch-potch of fabulation that still leads to very real limits on her subject-hood and agency. She is also aware that the stupid stories seem to weave a powerful spell over males, and even over some of the girls and women around her.

But what of her desires? (3)


Whatever they may be, she has learned of the power of fantasy to create realities and to destroy them, to contain and to shatter them.

Perhaps the boy is looking on as she makes this realization – it will take him a while to clue into what she has just discovered.

“If the writer is a sorcerer, it is because writing is a becoming, writing is traversed by strange becomings that are not becomings-writer, but becomings-rat, becomings-insect, becomings-wolf, etc.” – A Thousand Plateaus: 240

More likely, the boy will play with the weakened version of this magic, and will seek to throw fences around the chaos of the real with “rules” He will play games. Games are safe. Games will not turn you into a monster. Why would the boy, who has the privilege of the tale- of- the- law- of- the- father  care to go any further than this? Why indeed? (2)

The girl already knows where rules lead. She has a better idea: She will re-write the the players, the spectators, playing field, the whole town, and beyond.

Murasaki-iro no Qualia - Wanted the next chapter so badly I bought Vol3, but can't read it! Duh!

She will re-write the whole fucking world.

And so she reaches to grasp the mantle of the High Priestess.

…The muse has always been female.

Random Endnotes:

(1)  No, really! per Lacan.

(2) Read more D&G for the shocking suggested answer!!! But once again, the female and/or the feminine is posited in some extreme, essentiallized- taken- to- great- lengths- form. Viz:

“Men, as privileged adult and male subjects, must, then, invoke a becoming-woman, a becoming-child, and even a becoming-animal as ways of bringing into play the multiplicity of forces hitherto suppressed under the great dominations. But what this means for women remains disturbingly unclear”. Elizabeth Grosz, Volatile Bodies

These guy philosophe types can really go off on a tangent! They think about women and they make up sci-fi aliens. They need more women friends in their lives.

(3) “Or rather the yaoi-bishie exists, but as a “symptom of woman” created to surpass a boring ontological consistency” – Slavoj Žižek, (after he discovers fujoshi praxis)


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