Necrophilia is a word with many layers of meaning.  Necrophilia (n. from Greek nekro meaning corpse; -philia meaning love) means morbid and erotic attraction to death or corpses. Necrophilia implies sexual assault on an inert female body, illustrated by the classical narrative of the battle of Troy in which Achilles kills Penthesilea, queen of the Amazon warriors, and then violently rapes her corpse.

Mary Daly defines necrophilia, not in theight_swordse sense of love for actual corpses, but of love for those victimized into a state of living death.

Grace M. Jantzen views necrophilia as obsession with death, where obsession means a state of disordered thinking in which death is confused as love – the perversion of eros and thanatos – a perversion that robs death of dignity.

The use of the date-rape drug is necrophilic in that it not only silences the victim; it robs sexuality of dignity by erasing the opportunity for consent and participation and erases memory, thus interferes with justice that calls for resistance and outrage.

I deconstruct necrophilia in Western culture by exposing 8 ways it valorizes death.

  1. Death of nature
  2. Matricide
  3. Domination
  4. Death of God and the loss of cosmology
  5. Silencing the Other
  6. Monoculture
  7. Choking democracy
  8. Passive Citizenry

It is as though necrophilia is boomeranging in unexpected and unintended ways.  Western culture is facing self-inflicted death by anthropogenic climate change. By deconstructing necrophilia, we begin to imagine a pro-Life paradigm.

The full article on Deconstructing Necrophilia is published in Canadian Woman Studies Journal (CWS/cf) Vol.31, #1 & 2 – a special issue on Women and Environmental Justice.

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