In Irigaray's work, she makes an EXTREMELY detailed comparison between Plato's cave and the vagina. Step by step, she takes her readers through the 'cave', making absolutist claims that certain parts of the cave represent certain parts of the vagina. Irigaray goes into depth about the 'invisible' curtain in the cave that separates man's reflection from himself as the hymen. She does actually speak of mimesis occurring here with the reflection description, which seemed for an instant like a breath of fresh air away from her heavy comparisons. Of course, she seemed to make up for her absence from the vagina/cave comparison by then speaking of (what she considered to be) crystal-clear phallic symbols within the straight lines of the cave. Personally, I don't instantly think "penis" when I see a straight line. I also believe that, at one point in her work, Irigaray claims to have had some epiphany that the cave is not, in fact, a vagina, but is an inverted penis! Hopefully, I just suffered from a bit of confusion and did not follow her point there.
She also speaks of the cave/vagina as a place of light, of spectacular theatre, and a place of origin. I can, of course, see how the cave serves as a sort of "womb" for the child-like, innocent men inside it. These men have never seen the outside world, and they must be "born" into the light, in order to find knowledge. I'm not sure that Irigaray's ideas surrounding why the men are chained with the faces and genitals facing the front/back of the cave/vagina is dead-on, however. I thought she definitely became murky in her logic here.
Overall, I don't believe she makes any huge claim or fascinating theory. She compares Plato's cave to the vagina as if Plato himself OBVIOUSLY meant for his cave to represent the vagina. She is quite certain about about this, and leaves the reader with no room to disagree.
2 years ago