OOF - Behar

Object Oriented Feminism – Objects and Subjects

philosophy

About 10 years ago Object Oriented Ontology and Speculative Realism exploded on to the philosophy scene. At a high level this thought machine is about removing the anthropocentric bias in post kantian philosophy (perhaps all philosophy) and treating all things as objects. Then there are a bunch of questions like how do objects relate to one another, how do objects learn about other objects and so forth.

Behar responded to this with Object Oriented Feminism, a queering of this mode of thought. When I think about subjects and objects and feminism I think of Simone de Beauvoir, and the idea that historically woman is defined in relation to man. Man is normative and everything not man, including woman is not normative. Man is the subject and woman is the object.

Men are, and have always been subjects in the kantian/post-kantian (and prior) thought. Women are objects. Perhaps it is radical for a man to say that he is an object like everyone else, but that is not the same for a woman. To be an object is a degradation in this context let’s all be subjects! A subject oriented ontology, or subject oriented feminism. Perhaps it is not catchy enough.

There is a portion of Behar’s introduction of OOF that responds to the stylistic quality of OOF.   This is the picture at the top of the blog post. And indeed SR and OOO has a style -theory fiction, the blog-o-sphere, and urbanomic.  There is a marketing or designed aspect to OOO and OOF.  Aesthetics matter – they are a consideration of how to connect with a possible audience.

Is Behar making fun of the white maleness behind OOO, she says no, but perhaps the design says yes. Would it be so bad to do? OOF is a reaction to OOO. Like oof- I cant believe you did that. The presentation problem of OOO is from one perspective the homogeneity of its proponents. But from another perspective it is about the rejection of the political dimension. 

OOO is the philosophy of people who have the luxury of metaphysical speculation. Objects do not have that luxury. They first need to become subjects, or as OOF wold say everything should be considered as an object. The F in OOF is a political dimension. It notices that there is a power displacement or reorganization in making all things equal (objects or subjects). We could call it OOP (object oriented politics) or perhaps OOE (object oriented ethics).

But OOF is not just political, it is also gendered and embodied. Perhaps we could call this aesthetic, that objects have bodies and that bodies have genders. Behar references Sarah Ahmed and Queer Phenomenology.  Objects have orientations,  that is the embodied part – we can only call something left or right if we are isomorphic.  Is ontology primary to bodies? Does beings come before bodies?  OOF puts action and physicality at the center of orientation rather than pure beings. Objects just dont exist – they exist as political objects in reaching for power to become other than objects – perhaps subjects. 

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