Phallocratic and Gynarchic Regimes of Sexual Difference

In a first-order contrast, masculine and feminine are defined in opposition to one another, where the presence of one is predicated on the absence of the other. The masculine is characterized as independent, orderly, intellectual, while the feminine is characterized as dependent, chaotic, emotional. They can only come together on the basis of a hierarchical relationship where one is subordinated to the other, because as mutually exclusive domains or modes of existence they cannot occupy the same space coterminously.

Through the advance of reason, when we analyze each term and come to see that it is not possible to establish one without presupposing and establishing the other, then it becomes clear that neither term logically or empirically comes before the other; they mutually presuppose one another. If neither one is established before the other one is, and both require the other to be established before establishing themselves, then both terms are essentially open-empty: without inherent existence and thus fundamentally non-arisen. So in spite of appearances to the contrary, these supposedly opposed and mutually exclusive terms actually share a common, hypostatized essence.

Once we establish the open-emptiness of both masculine and feminine, it is possible to articulate a second, higher-order contrast between the two otherwise hypostatic terms. In this higher-order contrast, the masculine (or what we can now call the “phallocratic”) designates a regime or framework in which masculine and feminine terms are opposed to one another, while the feminine (or what we can now call the “gynarchic”) designates a regime or framework in which masculine and feminine terms are complimentary yet abstract isolates of the same concrete individual continuum. The gynarchic regime consists of an inclusive transcendence of both masculine and feminine terms in their phallocratic guises, including them as part of its own internal constitution yet transcending their individual limitations, thereby maximizing the use of their respective qualities and powers. Rather than being separated and unequally distributed between individuals on the basis of their membership in a hierarchical class order, these qualities and powers are common to all individuals.

Under phallocratic regimes, power is distributed unequally between the class of men and the class of women (which are classes by which ideal differences between bodies are sorted and classified, rather than classes which are constituted by actual differences in bodies), with the latter subordinated to the former through a systematic exploitation of their reproductive labor (reproductive in the broadest sense), diminished of their capacity to shape and govern the order of society, and ideologically characterized as a lesser form of human being. Differences between the classes of men and women are highlighted and exacerbated through the regular separation of bodies into distinct spheres of life, where men rule the public polis while women take care of the private domus.

Under gynarchic regimes, power cannot be said to be distributed because distribution presupposes an existing separation between power and the exerciser of power, such that power can be said to be accumulated and distributed. Rather power is immanently tied to the whole nexus of social relations that constitute bodies and their lives, and can be said to “flow” freely to every node in the social network that needs it; rather than existing outside of a network, power is a network effect. In such a regime where power is shared throughout the network rather than unequally accumulated and distributed, the basis of class divisions between different kinds of bodies is absent, hence there is no basis for exploitation of one class by the other, and no basis for separation of bodies into distinct spheres of life.

Since masculine and feminine are open-empty and without an inherent existence of their own, they are necessarily abstract conceptual isolates of an original, pre/non-conceptual concrete continuum of embodied experience from which they have been derived and upon which they are mentally imputed. Since it is only the gynarchic regime of difference that points back to this original pre/non-conceptual basis, it can be said to be more true and real relative to the phallocratic regime, which is relatively false and unreal. The gynarchic regime is independent of the phallocratic regime, while the phallocratic regime is dependent upon the gynarchic regime. The gynarchic regime is primordially free from being affected by the adventitious historical and cultural emergence of phallocratic social orders, since such orders can only exist through a parasitic dependence upon an original gynarchic basis. And though this gynarchic basis is primordially free because of its independence from phallocratic orders, this freedom is not fully expressed without an actual elimination of the conditions of phallocracy functioning as obscurations and obstructions to the free flourishing of the gynarchic basis. The consummate result of a final elimination of the conditions of phallocracy is the complete disclosure of this original basis in the fullness of its resplendent glory.

Until that resplendent glory comes to arrive, we are trapped in a phallocratic regime of hierarchically organized differences between bodies. In order to escape this trap, the pre/non-conceptual concrete embodied experience prior to its fracturing into abstract conceptual classes must be recognized, developed, and brought to full fruition. Part of this recognition includes the recognition that, paradoxically speaking, the existence of the different classes does not signify an actual absence of the gynarchic basis — only of its partial and temporary obscuration, which is bound to be removed with the rising development and final fruition of this primordial basis. The emergence and negation of phallocracy is just a momentary part of the play of gynarchy, through which it skillfully comes to realize its own self-exceeding perfection.

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