nothing to do with sexuality. No friend of Freud's, Foucault says only that the psychologist was masterly in re-charging the historical movement to deaden sexual pleasure. Freud was "wonderfully effective . . . in giving a new impetus to the secular injunction to study sex and transform it into discourse" (159). Surely, if feminism is seen as an ongoing effort to disrupt the relations of power which historically not only favor males but keep women alienated from power and from their own sexuality and selves, then Foucault is a strong ally of feminists.
What we now perceive as the chronicle of a censorship and the difficult struggle to remove it will be seen rather as the centuries-long rise of a complex deployment for compelling sex to speak, for fastening our attention and concern upon sex, for getting us to believe in the sovereignty of its law when in fact we were moved by the power mechanisms of sexuality (158).
Foucault's book is meant to be a wake-up call to any individual who would believe that the deployment of or discourse about sex has anything to do with sexual or any other variety of "liberation" (159). At length at the end of the book, he imagines a future generation looking back at the present generation and "wondering" what it was thinking as it boasted about having been the first generation truly liberated from sexual repression. Foucault's entire argument seems to be that the relationship between power (social, political, economic), the drive to acquire knowledge about what sex is, and sexuality itself is one which conspires to drive the life out of the actual body and its actual pleasures. What is so ironic to Foucault is that the people see this obsessive discourse as liberating when in fact it is enslaving and alienating. In that respect, he can be seen as issuing a challenge to feminists who imagine that they have won more than they have in the realm of sexual liberation. Obsessively talking about overcoming sexual repression, in other w