Annals of Ethics
Online ISSN : 2434-4699
Rethinking Adorno’s Heterosexism
Shuichi NYUYA
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2020 Volume 69 Pages 175-189


 This paper examines Adorno’s ideas about sexuality and the body. While this approach is quite unprecedented in Japan, it is a theme that has been discussed frequently in Europe and the United States.  Opinions are divided among modern women philosophers and feminists about Adorno, whose handling is troublesome. This is because he criticized masculinist values, which had led Western rationalism, while also continuing to obsess over the dichotomy of masculine and feminine principles─naturally with reservations ─as one would find in his indifferent stance on homosexuality. In addition, Adorno only made an insufficient compromise on feminine experiences(as he perceived them), be they about Eros or physical pain. This paper attempts to elucidate this contradiction and inconsistency.  This paper considers the contradictions in Adorno’s views on sexual love as something he partly expressed intentionally. He performatively and thoroughly acted as a man, as it were, to reveal its impasse and seize the opportunity for a dialectic self-transformation. Specifically, this approach is observed in Adorno’s disclosure on the weakness of feminine men, who should be oriented toward strength, while showing empathy to determined women who stress their weaknesses and troubles of not being able to entirely become men.  However, Adorno is resistant about completely dismantling his stance as a man. This is probably because he had a premonition that the opportunity of self-destruction, which is promoted by an open female stance, could lure people into a trap of violence. For Adorno, this in itself is nothing other than masochism, which feminine men, who are latent homosexuals, have fallen into.

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© 2020 The Japanese Society for Ethics
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