They all were highly influenced by theories of post-structuralism and psychoanalysis. These French feminists like Cixous both used and critiqued the ideas of such theories to question and challenge the male hegemony. The ideas of Derrida was used to critique the notion of binaries and the very nature of language, meaning and the way language plays a heavy role in the subordination of women, as majority of the concepts and ideas are prejudiced against women and are socially and culturally constructed by male hegemony to keep women under perpetual state of subordination. Cixous seminal work was titled as The laugh of Medusa and Sorties both of which were published in In this work The laugh of Medusa, Cixous uses psychoanalysis, inspired by the work of Lacan as mentioned above, to interpret the Greek mythology in a manner that challenges the patriarchal hegemony. Through this work, Cixous is urging women to write extensively, as this is the platform that can change the history, oppose the male hegemony that has suppressed them and kept them away from such art.

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Shelves: favorites As a feminist essay, The Laugh of the Medusa is written specifically to women imploring them to write. In all aspects, her writing is concise, navigable and powerfully sturring. At the very beginning, Cixous states, woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven as violently as from their bodies.

Through this As a feminist essay, The Laugh of the Medusa is written specifically to women imploring them to write. For man has his own right to say where his own masculinity and femininity are at and to see themselves clearly—just as women have that same right. Cixous calls for a move from the Old woman to the New woman by knowing her and by inscribing her femininity.

The first is the woman individually. She must write her self and reclaim the body that has been taken from her. Use her body to reclaim the whole self and cease being the shadow of man.

This reclamation is done through writing and is only accomplished through her self-realization for her self-realization. Women must utilize this power that is both innate and permeating in order to create her new history. Man has always reduced writing to his own definitions and laws, trying to set a distinction between masculine and feminine writing.

Yet, it is women who must reclaim the feared Medusa and fortify the thought that woman is not a castrated man—she holds her own sexuality and her own representation. Women must revolt from this suppression with explosion through language and through writing. A new history must be created out of a new relationship. All old concepts must be lifted away from the phallocentric to a new hierarchal exchange with the opposition [man].

Women must write to accomplish this. To write is to give without measurement, without the assurance of something in return. Writing is a birth and a transformation, unhindered by the Old history that came before. Translation: this essay is brilliant!!


Hélène Cixous

Her main focus, at this time, was English literature and the works of James Joyce. She published Voiles Veils with Jacques Derrida and her work is often considered deconstructive. In introducing her Wellek Lecture, subsequently published as Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing, Derrida referred to her as the greatest living writer in his language French. Her reading of Derrida finds additional layers of meaning at a phonemic rather than strictly lexical level. Along with Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva , Cixous is considered one of the mothers of poststructuralist feminist theory. Like other poststructuralist feminist theorists, Cixous believes that our sexuality is directly tied to how we communicate in society. Eve Cixous became a midwife following his death, "until her expulsion with the last French doctors and midwives in


Helene Cixous

In the essay, Cixous issues an ultimatum: that women can either read and choose to stay trapped in their own bodies by a language that does not allow them to express themselves, or they can use the body as a way to communicate. This text is situated in a history of feminist conversations that separated women in terms of their gender and women in terms of authorship. Cixous uses the term the "Logic of Antilove" to describe her understanding of the systematic oppression of women by patriarchal figures. She defines the Logic of Antilove as the self-hatred women have, "they have made for women an antinarcissism! The essay includes the argument that writing is a tool women must use to advocate for themselves in order to acquire the freedom women have historically been denied.

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