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John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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Irigaray's l'ecriture feminine  

2010-04-08 00:40:40|  分类: 女性主义 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Zhang, John Zaixin. Notes on Luce Irigaray’s l’ecriture feminine.

Critics have suggested different alternatives to phallocentric discourse. In answer to the question raised by Gilbert and Gubar, ‘If the pen is a metaphorical penis, with what organ can females generate texts?’, Mitchell (98) proposes the paintbrush (for spatial dimensions characterized as the female domain, geographical and/or corporeal). Women can also use a twig and blood in substitution of a pen and ink: twig (clitoris) for pen (penis) and blood (menstruation) for ink (sperm) (See Lloyd-Smith 91). Perhaps the most provocative of all is Irigaray’s “lips” theory (“This Sex Which Is Not One” “When Our Lips Speak Together”) which builds on both female bi-sexuality (the masculine clitoris/“little penis” and the feminine vertical lips) and women’s discursive strategy (women’s horizontal lips) to speak (rather than remaining silenced by phallocentric discourse) (See Berg 64-5).

Irigaray’s theory can be explained with an analogy of the computer keyboard (at an Internet terminal). Unlike the paintbrush or the twig still in close resemblance to the pen, no matter how different the function of each is in the construction of a feminist discourse, the keyboard is more like the female body (for Irigaray, ‘woman has sex organs more or less everywhere’) where the different keys (marked by basic units of “cultural inscriptions” on the “body”: letters, punctuation marks, etc) welcome constant touching in order to produce writing (feminist writing or l’ecriture feminine). Although the markings on the keys are traditional (working within the phallic discourse), the logic to encode and decode these markings is of limitless combinations of purely computational and “bisexual” 1’s and 0’s (“bisexual” as in Irigaray’s sense of the term). It is a “SHe” logic [yes, a big S and a big H, pronounced the same as “she” in speaking but appearing (doubly) different only in writing] where the “He” is enveloped and engulfed by the bisexual “She.” When feminist writing thus produced is disseminated, on the Internet, it could travel indefinitely (back and forth, and back and forth all over again…) to different nodes and terminals of the net, without boarders and boundaries, which, in turn, can be re-vitalized again and again in multiple “ecstasies” by touching keyboards again (including self and other: one’s own keyboard and/or other keyboards). Such writing is both productive and reproductive.

Rather than residing outside the discursive field, such feminist writing works within (phallic) discourse (before and after the encoding/decoding processes), but l’ecriture feminine has a logic of its own (a logic which is not “one”) and dissemination paths of its own (paths of multiplicity and uncertainty). Moreover, its input/output strategy incorporates both the female tactile (touch on the keyboard/in female sexuality, as in Irigaray) and the male visual (writing on the computer screen/sight in male sexuality, as in Freud).

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