Friday, 18 May 2012

10 days to go...Derrida's Hymen

Derrida’s specific use of the word hymen had underlying meaning. In Greek and Latin mythology the word "hymen" referred to the God of matrimony and the union of a man and woman in wedlock. In medical terms, the hymen is a membrane which partially closes the opening of the vagina acting as a protective screen. This invisible veil does not only stand in-between the inside and outside of a woman's vagina, but also a man’s desire. Two contradictory characteristics which imply both communion and obstruction, however, Derrida’s use of the word suggests neither fusion nor separation, but something between the two.

My initial objectives in my practice began to transform under Derrida’s influence. Not only did I questioned what was in-between a binary of appearances, but how it affected their relationship. I used this metaphor of the membrane, which remained in-between, as stimulus to explore its properties as an obstructor, mediator or translator between appearances side of their dichotomy.


  1. There's a cool article on the (real) hymen and the fetishisation of virginity on the Feminista blog - do you think Derrida was guilty of such a fetishisation?

  2. Hey Joe,
    Thank you for your comment, and apologies for my slow reply. That's an interesting thought. I suppose the perspective Derrida sees from is that of male penetration. This hymen becomes reduced to an object, and the woman's pleasure/ perspective is ignored. Emphasis is placed upon the heterosexual man's pleasure and this hymen stands inbetween HIS desire (externally), and HIS fulfillment (internally). So to answer your question I do think Derrida was guilty of such fetishisation. What do you think?