Subjectivity, Body and Sexual Difference in the Feminist Philosophical Debate
Keywords:Sexual difference, Feminism, Gender theory, Personal identity, Phenomenology of the sexual body, Philosophical anthropology
Reflecting on subjectivity is one of the fundamental questions of modern thinking. In the second half of the twentieth century this reflection is mainly focused on two keys: the knowledge of sex and the knowledge of gender. What symbolic and ethical importance does the sexual body have? How to consider the sexual difference? Which role does the perception of gender play in the establishment of the identity? Finally, which type of relation does exist between sexuality and political power? These are questions which are faced for the first time by philosophy in a large and systematic way, thanks also to the reflection of thinkers, men and women, who are more or less close to the area of diversified feminism. Among the many voices of this debate there are of particular interest the ones who, on the basis of a phenomenology of the sexual body, intend to refuse the neutral conception of identity and emphasize the insuppressible character of the difference between man and woman. Nevertheless, affirming that sexual difference is something ontologically original and absolute does evoke further questions which require a more solid metaphysical and anthropological perspective.