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10 Foucault Quotes That You *Need* To Know

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” ― Oscar Wilde Step out of the way, Oscar. Michel is about to f##k things up...

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1. "Where there is desire, the power relation is already present"

Desire is produced in response to the repressive power keeping one from what they want. Think Leonardo Dicaprio and the Academy Awards. Sure, he wanted the award, but with each year of hope and disappointment, his desire for the award grew and grew.

2. "The principle of power-as-law, namely the fact that there is no escaping from power, that it is always-already present, constituting that very thing which one attempts to counter it with"

Power is ever present, ever in control, and ever uncontestable. To challenge those in power, requires power. To surrender power, requires power, and it is almost like there is a Law of Conservation of Power. Pfinal=Pinitial. It is much like that Craven cockroach; it has power over you when you scream and wail, but ultimately the power shifts to you when you squash it with your shoe!

3. The Negative Relation: "Where sex and pleasure are concerned, power can "do" nothing but say no to them"

Power is the main limiter for sex and pleasure. A negative relationship exists between sex and power. Where sex is freedom, power is control. Where freedom is pleasure, control is a roadblock. For Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, she is liberated through her sexual knowledge and sexual freedom. When she feels controlled by some of the men in her life, her happiness and sexual desire fades. The television show isn't call Repressive Power in the City for a reason...

4. The Insistence of the Rule: "The pure form of power resides in the function of the legislator; and its mode of action with regard to sex is of a juridico-discursive character"

Power is a "juridico-discursive character," meaning that power makes its own law on how sex should be viewed and experienced. Foucault could mean law in the literal and figurative sense: legislation controls sex and the nature of power controls sex. He also claims that the literal is informed by the figurative--legislation comes from power. This relationship is like having Judge Judy yell at you when you do something pleasurable or even yell at you for just thinking about pleasure. Seriously though, is she actually a real judge?!

5. The Cycle of Prohibition: "Power constrains sex only through a taboo that plays on the alternative between two nonexistences"

Power constantly reinforces "thou shalt not" beliefs telling us "Don't do this, don't do that." Even one step further, power claims that violating these "rules" will lead to one's repression. WAKE UP! These rules are the repression! Power creates these false taboos that lead to a decline in sexual pleasure.

6. The Logic of Censorship: "The logic of power exerted on sex is the paradoxical logic of a law that might be expressed as an injunction of nonexistence, nonmanifestation, and silence"

Censorship has the same paradoxical qualities as silence. Once you say it's name, "silence," it disappears. Censorship is all about suppressing the unacceptable parts of something so that society can't be exposed to it. But once you admit that something needs to be censored aren't you bringing it into the public eye even more? And even after that, we all go on to discuss why, how, and when that once "forbidden" subject should be censored. It's kind of like when your parents forbid you from dating a certain someone, that person is now irresistible to you..

7. The Uniformity of the Apparatus: "[Power] operates according to the simple and endlessly reproduced mechanisms of law, taboo, and censorship"

Everyone, from kings to you, experiences this relationship with power. At all level, power, even when used with different devices, acts the same since it governed by the same juridical obedience. Power can subject you and turn you into submissive and obedient being. There is always this relationship between a legislative power on one side, and an obedient subject on the other. But don't worry, everyone's dealing with this.

8. "Power is tolerable only on condition that it mask a substantial part of itself."

In our society, there are so many ways for us feel empowered. We have the power to blast our rude neighbor on Facebook or be passive aggressive to them for months. Sometimes the quiet (passive aggressive) route is seen as the weaker response, but perhaps the most respected form of power is the blunt force of a quiet dignity.

9. "Power as a pure limit set on freedom is, at least in our society, the general form of its acceptability."

The easiest and most accepted way to get power is by taking it from someone or something else. Bullying is a great example of this method. How did Regina George become the queen bee of North Shore? She victimized the other students, like that girl with the ugliest effing skirt. Foucault's point is that we have applied that same construct for power in our sexual relationships.

10. "We must at the same time conceive of sex without the law, and power without the king."

We need to stop associating laws, prohibition, liberty, negative representations of power, and sovereignty when we think about sex. Foucault would say that history would show a very real "technology" of sex, something that is way more complex and positive than using sexual power as a means of prohibition.

This isn't the 16th century anymore. Why are we still being governed by the rules set up in that time? It's time to move on, just like Henry the VIII….

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