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Debord , G. ( 1992
Saint-Germain-des-Prés cafés as did
Sagan.42 By ignoring male dominance and traditional gender rules rather
than protesting against them, Sagan anticipated, even as she enacts, the more
theoretically sophisticated critiques of patriarchy and phallocentrism that
would in the early 1970s be promoted by Hélène Cixous and others in
French feminist circles.
Sex between the unmarried in both the younger and older generations
dominates the novel’s narrative, though without explicitness, except for
the famous passage in which Cécile rhapsodizes about her ‘first time’. She
for example the work of Andrea
Dworkin, and in particular Dworkin ( 1981 ) Pornography: Men Possessing Women, New
York, Women’s Press.
This scene is even more revealing when read in the
context of Stam’s discussion of what Ruby Rich has designated ‘Medusan’
feminist films, a term taken from Cixous’s ‘Laugh of the Medusa’ ‘where
dynamic, but it also
suggests a hidden gender essentialism: male as practical and rational, female
as impractical and irrational – or the difference between a straight line and a
spiral (Lundberg and Farnham 1947: 3).
It is not so much the pairing of terms that is problematic, but the implicit
values attached to each term of the pair: one side is preferred, while the other
is denigrated. As Hélène Cixous argues, it is ‘always the same metaphor [. . .].
Thought has always worked through [. . .] dual, hierarchical oppositions.
Superior/Inferior’ (1997: 91). Patriarchy is
shift might be viewed in relation to ‘French Feminism’ of the 1970s
and 1980s. This usually signifies the work of Hélène Cixous, Julie
Kristeva and Luce Irigarary, although there are important differences between these three thinkers. Nevertheless, in general terms,
they all use poststructuralist linguistic and psychoanalytical theory,
mostly drawn from Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan, to perform
a first- and (arguably) second-stage deconstruction of the western,
patriarchal ‘phallologocentric’ symbolic system, that constructs
woman and/or the feminine as the
impropriety might yet challenge their supposed authority.
To theorise the misfit –and experiences of illness, impairment and
disability –in terms of propriety is to invoke a dense field of ordered,
hierarchical meaning. In the work of Hélène Cixous, the domain of the
a political and moral empire that at once includes and excludes, an empire
that is semantic, ontological, and sexual: the proper is property (propriéte),
possession, the self (mon proper, my own), the generally accepted meaning
of a word (le sens proper), that which defines or identifies
included Hélène Cixous and Julia Kristeva. These psychoanalytic
feminists have argued that ‘Masculinity controls even at the level of
the unconscious, and women operate within the confines of masculine unconscious structures and have been turned into misogynists,
despising their own womanhood. To free themselves from this internalised oppression, each woman must, according to Psych et Po, work
to “chase the phallus from her head”’ (Duchen 1986: 20).
The need to be seen through other than patriarchal eyes guides
Amira in her selection of the man she hires to