Sherri Irvin is an Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. She specializes in aesthetics and the philosophy of art while also having a strong interest in ethics, particularly the relevance of aesthetic considerations to moral agency. In aesthetics, she has written mainly on matters related to contemporary art and on aesthetic experience in everyday life. She is working on a book, tentatively titled Challenging Objects: A Philosophy of Contemporary Art and is the Aesthetics section editor for Philosophy Compass.
Sex Objects and Sexy Subjects: A Critique of Sexiness (co-authored with Sheila Lintott of Bucknell University)
Wednesday 16 May 2012
16:00-18:00 at Senate House, Room 264
Sponsored by the British Society of Aesthetics
Feminists have sometimes been inclined to abandon the notion of sexiness because of the way it is entwined with sexual objectification of women. We argue that because the sexual gaze is an important form of interpersonal recognition and validation with both individual and political implications, sexiness should be not abandoned but reshaped into an ethically adequate form. Our revisionist notion of sexiness has two tenets: (1) the ethical sexual gaze should seek out not conventionally attractive bodies, but a wide range of bodies in all of their rich particularity, and (2) attributions of sexiness should be directed not to bodies alone, but to embodied persons, with specific attention to their sexual subjectivity.