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“Justice requires that we respect the characteristics or the merits of both sexes equally, and the evolution of our civilization is moving in that direction. However, direct, or even indirect perception gives way to the calculation of real or virtual interactions, within or between possible or presumed entities ... to increase knowledge about them, and above all to facilitate exploitation.”—Luce Irigaray


 The efficacy of A|X marketing imagery suggests that feminized men, unlike masculinized women, are readily portrayed as passive objects for the spectator’s (surplus, recreational) sexual enjoyment. But who is allowed to spectate—under what conditions? Manifest asymmetries lend credence to Irigaray’s critique of Western visual culture—that it privileges the male gaze, or secures ‘the gaze itself’ as an inherently possessive, patriarchal instrument. Never mind the jargon, how does it actually work? Despite our symmetrical manifestations surveyed in figs.4­-9, the A|X representations clearly exclude the masculine woman. Between categorial term sets and image sets, why is this fourth category displaced, but not the third?

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 Fig.33 (above) is a ‘textbook’ commonplace. Like our fig.8, it ignores common parlance in favor of symmetry—however, it lacks internal consistency. The initial motivation is correct—to differentiate the contrary—but from what? As the formal contradiction is replaced by the self­-negating positive, the X and Y metaterms are forced to fit against logic: mannish and effeminate do not ‘add up’ to neuter. On the other hand, if we ignore the metaterms, the A and B axes suggest that each may cross the Y­-axis as if to negate the ‘cultural’ condition of gender, but without necessarily negating the ‘biological’ condition of sex. But does this line of reasoning follow out? The A|X imagery says no. Does the vanishing fourth figure imply (or suggest, or even categorically demand) that images of women with masculine attributes are unsexy, unfashionable, undesirable? Helmut Newton, for one, would have begged to differ. While the legendary Vogue photographer’s portraits may portray a Sigourney­ Weaver or Paloma Picasso as masculine, they hardly suggest the derogation of ‘mannish’ often used as shorthand to evoke Women’s Lib, unshaved armpits, Hillary­ Clinton’s pantsuits and the like.

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