Becoming woman that does not exist
By merging two of the most misunderstood and yet influential concepts of (feminist) theory production of the 1960ies and 1970ies we are going to explore what could be theoretically at stake in this weeks "Feminism Now!?" project. At the same time the two presentations will reconnect to the last sessions work on the concept of immanence and elaborate further on it.
"Becoming-woman, as Deleuze and Guattari use it, is not biologically, hormonally, or chromosomally defined. Nor is it a gender theory; gender is a term whose field is composed by specific trajectories in the formation of socio-political and cultural spaces, which may or may not be attached to biological femaleness, which itself is not a transparent or determinate concept. For Deleuze and Guattari, becoming-woman is not a necessary condition of the possibility of biocultural concepts of femaleness or the feminine, but rather an immanent condition of becomings, and a positive element in an economics of desire, rather than in its socialization through codes and blockages. They refer to it as ‘le premier quantum, ou segment moléculaire (the first quantum, or molecular segment)’  of becomings, and the key to a smooth itinerant line whose motion can be described neither in terms of convergence or rectilinearity, but through the smallest intervals, demon leaps effecting communication between the two orders of force, attraction and repulsion, in a patois which belongs to neither." (Diane J. Beddoes)
"Like many of his infamous one-liners, Lacan's "la femme n'existe pas" is deliberately provocative. For various strains of feminism, it further testifies to the inherent male chauvinism of psychoanalysis, the origins of which supposedly lie, for instance, in Freud's pronouncements about the masculine nature of libido. However, the provocative effects of Lacan's denial of the Woman's existence shouldn't obscure his carefully considered reasons for saying this. In Lacanian discussions of feminine sexuality, what feminism takes to be yet another "masculine bias" continually resurfaces: an emphasis on the fundamental status of the phallus in determining the gender identities of both male and female subjects." (Adrian Johnston)