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ndegeorge's picture

Thursday's Class

<>In class on Thursday we spent most of our time discussing "The Laugh of the Medusa" by Cixous. The reactions to the text were mixed. Some in the class exclaimed that they loved it, that it was the feminist text they'd been waiting for. Others found its lack of structure frustrating and "un-academic."

<>We discussed Medusa in the context of Freud, who would say that she is the symbol of "dangerous female sexuality," that is potentially castrating to men. Following that, we acknowledged that female sexuality is often hidden away and has become shameful. Cixous wants to turn that all around by telling women to express themselves through writing, which she equates to having sex or masturbating in public. The invitation to expose the unconscious through writing she says will be the "anti-logos weapon." She rejects the patriarchal, academic style of writing as inhibiting to feminists.

However, we found there to be problems in following that lead. Some people said that they would feel uncomfortable exposing so much. And I think we all agreed that writing like Cixous for a typical class at Bryn Mawr would not be acceptable. It also brings up this question again: Is there a place for privacy? Cixous would say no, that we must be generous and share everything.

We also learned the term "subaltern"- a person who is silent and without agency because they lack social status. Cixous wishes to give all such people a voice.

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