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张在新

John Zaixin Zhang

 
 
 

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Irigaray’s l’ecriture feminine (update)  

2011-05-19 15:20:35|  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.

We’ll discuss this spatial/feminist writing next week (after the presentations on Jameson and Harvey on postmodern space).

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).

I would argue that 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—the clitoris as the 1, and the vagina as the 0). 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, both homogeneous (when you are writing a blog for yourself and others) and heterogeneous (when different bloggers are responding to your writing instantaneously and/or in deferral), both homosexual and heterosexual, both spatial and temporal...

Just picture the erotic thrust of such writing: your fingers dance on the keyboard, producing the heartfelt sensations of fingering, flicking, even pinching, as well as the usual caressing, rubbing, stroking, poking, cupping … The organs are virtually everywhere, and you can specifically name/attend to them with your fingers skipping across the keys: n-e-c-k, s-h-o-u-l-d-e-r-s, b-e-l-l-y, u-n-m-e-n-t-i-o-n-a-b-l-e-s (all over the keyboard/body), and you could imagine the signifiers referring to the head and face (the monitor of the computer) too with e-y-e-s, n-o-s-e, c-h-e-e-k-s, l-i-p-s… The body parts define the gender of the cyber-person in front of you. Of course, the “ideal” (female) body here is disabled (with no limbs), even more so than that of the Venus de Milo (Lennard Davis), but you (male or female) provide your legs (comfortably tucked underneath the keyboard/body) and arms, hands, and fingers (tapping the keyboard/body or otherwise resting on it). After all, the hallucinating psyche of the “normal body” would like to project a wholeness for the “disabled body” with the “phantom limbs," a Lacanian mirror image to “retouch” the primordial fragmented body. The fusion of the two "disabled bodies" sharing the same limbs completes the subjectivity/objectivity of the cyber-person both of you are touching.

Not only the tactile maneuvering, but also the visual and acoustic associations—you maintain your (homosexual/heterosexual) stare at the screen/face of the woman/man, while knowing all the tapping and stroking on the keyboard/body are achieving their goals, and whatever you desire is written all over the woman/man’s face in front of you (not under you, nor on top of you). The minute you make your yearning known, she/he darts a responsive glance into the deep recesses of your soul, then your quivering, twitching, moaning, and screaming soon match hers/his. The writing of such spatiality can be both instantaneous and deferred when you have a multiplicity of bloggers participating in this group activity.

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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