Saturday, December 30, 2006

Body and Gender Politics
Kofi Fosu Forson

The body fleshed at birth is the origin of our truest form of vanity.

The body at birth signifies purity. Virginity begets experience. In the coital sense; the body is a libidinal sphere, combustible and orgasmic. Sex, as an act, is what transforms the male and female body. As an ideology, it separates the male and female gender, hence gender politics.

The male and female body is differentiated by the penis and the vulva, respectively. The skin is flesh, pink to spotted, stretch-marked to wrinkled, white to burnt. To all concerned, the flesh is dead!

Pornography is a subtext for life. It is not sex. But in keeping with the idea of gender and body politics, one must realize that in pornography, the human body is continuously politicized. It is the facet that runs governments, builds families, runs corporations and inspires couples at night. In pornography, the body is useless. There is no true communication. If at all, pleasure is acquired from within, not from a video.

In today’s society, the self resembles a fall-out-shelter. It’s continuously bombarded with propaganda. This begets the headache, the diarrhea, the vices, smoking, drinking, copulating… Tattoos aren’t enough to shield the self from the harangue. What they’ve become is exploitative. At first juvenile, they now mark a crucial statement on one’s personality. This goes hand in hand with shaved pubis and penile piercing.

Gender politics: Power, Control, Sex and Money. I broached the subject of “intellect and sex” with a successful businessman. He in turn spoke of “power and sex”. The common link between the genders at the moment is pornographic.

Besides dealing with the issues involving the male and female genders, gender politics has to do with the body and the language the body chooses to attract the same or opposite gender.

Is the tying up of a woman’s body in exaggerated poses a discipline or something radical? Is it not a language? Does it not purport to a certain kind of communication between men and women?

“He ties her up to a chair. Reads her Beaudelaire.”

This makes for a moment. The body trapped in anxiety. The couples bent on communicating without straining for the everyday sexual performance. Why tie a woman to a chair? How idiosyncratic some would say! What if the world were removed of speech? How would we communicate?

Language is the link between two existences. What if this link were made of sound and or expression only? Is the erect penis entering the woman the only form of communication that defines each man and woman within their respective genders? Isolation, fetish and fashion are all meant to promote a discourse between the genders with or without sex.

In gender politics, the penis is to the male as the body is to the female. The male is driven by his erect penis. In sex as an ideology, the ramifications surrounding gender politics showcases a more disciplined route. It focuses on “sex,” the thing, not the act, rather the thing that revolves around every issue pertaining to the male and female. For the female, the body is an issue. Is it too fat? Is it too thin?

Once again, in pornography, it is not the women who have the gang rape. And yet indeed women are expressing the same libidinal energy with which men have controlled them for centuries. Some of this libido can be translated through business, where women can now be very direct with men, having attained superior titles. Sadomasochism has a correlation to the work place.

The body is but a machine. It doesn’t require adornment. Ultimately, the skin dies. There are no facets of purity. It is given once at birth, lost through the aging process. As men and women we are connected by coitus. The greater picture is to lessen the roles of the genders as animals and to find the common link which binds us as humans.

Kofi Fosu Forson

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