Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

jrizzo's picture

I can certainly identify

I can certainly identify with the uneasiness Mary Clurman felt upon encountering Cixous's mystical leanings.  It seemed to me, at first, that the vague, shadowy style of her writing could only reinforce the "dark continent" misconception she seeks to eradicate.  I was confused, because not only does she seem to be fully concious of writing in this potentially off-putting way, but she even predicts, "you'll splutter that I'm a 'mystic," a statement that suggests an unapologetic pride, in a style that allows her to write of functioning within the discourse of man, "it is time for her to dislocate this 'within,' to explode it, turn it around, and seize it; to make it hers, containing it, taking it in her own mouth, biting that tongue within her very own teeth to invent for herself a language to get inside of."  I'm still working to untangle that metaphor. 

I realized though, that Cixous was most certainly allowing her writing to swirl around like this in order to be the best possible example of her own edict, "Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing."  I was fascinated to notice my own immediately averse reaction to Cixous's "feminine" writing style.  I was disoriented, and the absence of Spivak's masculine, academic style was keenly felt, not because it neccesarily made more sense to me, (both articles were difficult to understand) but because I have grown accustomed to Spivak's brand of academic writing, and am more comfortable grappling with it, when grappling is neccesary.  Once I was able to accept that Cixous's essay could not be read like an ordinary article, I was able to return to it, and found her thoughts immensely helpful.  To finally respond to the original prompt, I found this article infinitely more compelling and/or useful to the current feminist praxis, because if the exploration process Cixous proposes were to take place on a large scale, I believe it would effectively wipe out Spivak's imperialism issue.  As we discussed in class, the problem with imperialism is that it assumes that there exists an inferior, soulless group in need of soul-making.  Free a woman from the fear of her own "dark" unconcious, and she will soon discover her soul.  Once she is secure in this knowledge, she will never again consent to be oppressed. 

Reply

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
15 + 4 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.