featherxquill: (McG Brightestwitchofherage)
I've just had a very interesting week in 'Theories of Writing' class. This week's 'ism' was feminism, a movement/ideology I've always identified myself with. Today's discussion was particularly interesting. The reading was a chapter on Helene Cixous from 'Sexual/Textual Politics' by Toril Moi, among other things. In class we looked at the last two pages of 'The Taming of the Shrew' and then a passage from Erica Jong's 'Fear of Flying'.

Cixous' main argument is about the patriarchal construction of a language based on binary opposites - where one word is only able to be understood in relation to another, and one is always constructed as being dominant to or better than the other. Male/female, mind/body, good/evil, culture/nature, reason/emotion etc. Cixous believes that binaries are always patriarchal - that male is associated with mind, reason, culture etc while woman is associated with the opposite side of the binary: body, emotion, nature, etc, and through the very use of the hierarchy of binary, constructed as the bad or lesser half of the pair. She thinks, then - if language is humanities access to understanding, with everything having to pass through language in order to be understood, that it is impossible for women to ever truly escape patriarchal systems of meaning, except through 'imaginary utopias' in which patriarchal language plays no part.

Cut to spare your flists. Feminist meta ahead )

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featherxquill

January 2012

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