Throwing Like a Girl and Other Essays in Feminist Philosophy and Social Theory 评价人数不足
读书笔记 Throwing Like a Girl

Some preliminary remarks:

1. Erwin Straus (Phenomenological Psychology)

"the remarkable difference in the manner of throwing of the two sexes"......"the manifestation of a biological, not an acquired, difference
"feminine attitude" in relation to the world and to biologically based, but he denies that it is specifically anatomical
......he is forced back onto a mysterious feminine essence in order to explain it

2. The Subject Matter: difference

If there are indeed typically "feminine" styles of body comportment and movement, then this should generate for the existential phenomenologist a concern to specify such a differentiation of the modalities of the lived body

3. de Beauvoir: not essence, but situation, but does not discuss bodily movements as situated

The feminist denial that the real differences in behavior and psychology between men and women can be attributed to some natural and eternal "feminine essence"......Every human existence is defined by its situation.......
.......ignoring the situatedness of the woman's actual bodily movement and orientation to its surroundings and its world......tends to create the impression that it is woman's anatomy and physiology as such which are at least in part determinative of her unfree status

4.Objective: fill a gap

......traces in a provisional way some of the basic modalities of feminine body comportment, manner of moving, and relation in space

5. Disclaimers

1). non-universality

......women situated in contemporary advanced industrial, urban, and commercial society

2). not all bodily existence and movement

movement in which the body aims at the accomplishment of a definite purpose or is the ordinary purposive orientation of the body as a whole toward things and its environment which initially defines the relation of a subject to its world......may be particularly revelatory of the structures of feminine existence

6. Femininity as situated

a set of structures and conditions which delimit the typical situation of being a woman in a particular society, as well as the typical way in which this situation is lived by the women themselves



the theory of the lived body......Merleau-Ponty......the situation of women as developed by de Beauvoir......woman's existence in patriarchal society as defined by a basic tension between immanence and Other.......(as) a subjectivity
a contradiction: as human she is a free subject who participates in transcendence, but her situation as a woman denies her that subjectivity and transcendence
......the modalities of feminine bodily comportment, motility, and spatiality exihibit this same tension between trancendence and immanence, between subjectivity and being a mere object

8. Structure

I. Specific observations

II. a general phenomenological account

III. develops these modalities in terms of the spatiality generated by them

IV. the oppression of women, further questions



some excerpts

a failure to make full use of the body's spatial and lateral potentialities......not as open with their bodies as men
......real physical differences between men and women in the kind and limit of their physical strength......not to put their whole bodies......tend to concentrate our effort on those parts of the body most immediately connected to the task
first......the whole body is not put into fliud and directed motion......the women's motion tends not to reach, extend, lean, stretch, and follow through in the direction of her intention
Women tend to wait for and then react to its approach rather than going forth to meet it......approach a physical engagement with things with timidity, uncertainty, and hesitancy......a fear of getting hurt
We feel as though we must have our attention directed upon our body to make sure it is doing what we wish it to do, rather than paying attention to what we want to do through our bodies
......incapacity, frustration, and self-consciousness......underestimate the level of achievement they have reached


There is no inherent, mysterious connection between these sorts of typical comportments and being a female person......a general feminine style of body comportment and movement



Three modalities:

feminine movement exhibits an ambiguous transcendence, an inhibited intentionality, and a discontinuous unity with its surroundings


the bodily self-reference of feminine comportment, which derives from the woman's experience of her body as a thing at the same time that she experiences it as a capacity



Merleau-Ponty: the primordial structures of existence and body

locating subjectivity not in mind or consciousness, but in the body......constitutes the initial meaning giving act......the first locus of intentionality

Ambiguous transcendence

......a transcendence which is at the same time laden with immanence......Rather than simply beginning in immanence, feminine bodily existence remains in immanence, or better is overlaid with immanence, even as it moves out toward the world in motions of grasping, manipulating, and so on


Only a part of the body, that is, moves out toward a task while the rest remains rooted in immanence......often lives her body as a burden, which must be dragged and prodded along, and at the same time protected



Merleau-Ponty: locating intentionality in motility

the possibilities which are opened up in the world depend on the mode and limits of the bodily "I can"

Inhibited intentionality

Typically, the feminine body underuses its real capacity......simultaneously reaches toward a projected end with an "I can" and withholds its full bodily commitment to that end in a self-imposed "I cannot"
Feminine motion often severs this mutually conditioning relation between aim and enactment. ......feminine hesitancy



Merleau-Ponty: the unifying and synthesizing function of the body in transcendental subjectivity

“I do not bring together one by one the parts of my body; this translation and this unification are performed once and for all within me: they are my body itself

Discontinuous Unity

......locate their motion in a part of the body only, leaving the rest of the body relatively immobile......the undirectedness and wasted motion......inhibited intentionality......itself produces this discontinuous unity


Sum: Women's bodily existence as an object/a thing


As subject, the body is referred not onto itself, but onto the world's possibilities.

Women's bodily existence

The three contradictory modalities......root......the fact that for feminine existence the body frequently is both subject and object for itself at the same time and in reference to the same is referred onto itself as well as onto possibilities in the world



Merleau-Ponty: distinction

1). lived/phenomenal space:

motility and lived relations of space......the capacities of the body's motion and the intentional relations which that motion constitutes

2). objective space

===> feminine SPATIALITY

Feminine existence lives space as enclosed or confining, as have a dual structure and the feminine existent experiences herself as positioned in space


Erik Erikson: inner space (preferred by females) and outer space (males)

==> a non-psychoanalytic explanation: a reflection of the way each sex lives and moves their bodies in space

Three modalities of feminine spatiality

1). limitation of possibility

Feminine existence appears to posit an existential enclosure between herself and the space surrounding her, in such a way that the space which belongs to her and is available to her grasp and manipulation is constricted, and the space beyond is not available to her movement,
The timidity, immobility, and uncertainty which frequently characterize feminine movement project a limited space for the feminine "I can."

2). detachment to outer space (isolation)

In feminine existence, however, the projection of an enclosed space severs the continuity between a "here" and a "yonder." ......a double spatiality......the discontinuity between aim and capacity to realize the aim

3). positioned

feminine existence experiences itself as positioned in both spatially constituted and a constituting spatial the extent that feminine motility is laden with immanence and inhibited, the body's space is lived as constituted though we are the object of the motion which issues from an alien intention, rather than taking ourselves as subject of motion......feminine spatial existence is positioned by a system of coordinates which does not have its origin in her own intentional capacities


modalities of visual space

visual space will have its own modalities as well......numerous psychological studies which have reported differences between the sexes in the character of spatial perception
females are more often "field independent"......greater tendency to regard figures as embedded within and fixed by their surroundings
rooted and enclosed......visual space for feminine existence also has its closures of immobility and fixity. The objects in visual space......have their own places and are anchored in their immanence



they have their source in the particular situation of women as conditioned by their sexist oppression in contemporary society
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