In addition to the eponymous quote, Luce Irigaray, a Belgian radical feminist, psycholinguist and philosopher, also said "Sexual difference is probably the issue in our time which could be our 'salvation' if we thought it through." This is possibly a more suitable quote to encapsulate the aim of radical feminism to reassess and redefine subordinating societal structures. To paraphrase Irigaray, I will attempt to chart the complex paths that different women have taken in ‘thinking it through.’
Irigaray and her peers can be viewed more successfully through the gaze of Saussure, Lacan, and Freud. Saussure’s claim that language is a system arbitrary to the world it describes, that there is actually no intrinsic relationship between the world and words, has close links to the work of Irigaray and Cixous, specifically their thoughts on Sexual difference. The acquisition of meaning through language is a base upon which society’s notion of the named sexes is built, and radical feminists see these constructs of the masculine and the feminine as very unstable.
Jacques Lacan’s most relevant work, “The meaning of the phallus’’ although often esoteric and obscure, are key in establishing the starting point for much of Irigaray’s work and what kind of intellectual climate the radical feminists were dealing with. Lacan revisited much of Freud’s seminal theories of psychoanalysis, most popular (in terms of actual medical practice) in France and South America. What Lacan took from Freud was the notion of the split subjectivity, that a part of the subject’s conscious is completely unknowable, known as ‘the navel of the dream,’ a blind spot, a black hole. He attempted to bring... [continues]
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(2012, 08). How Have Women Writers and Theorists Negotiated the Problem of Female Subjectivity Under Patriarchy?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 08, 2012, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/How-Have-Women-Writers-And-Theorists-1060446.html
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