: Between Men's and Women's Topics, between the Public and the Private<
ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7 Blesok no. 60 | volume XI | May-June, 2008
Blesok no. 60,
Between Men's and Women's Topics, between the Public and the Private<
(or: Does women's writing exist?)
During our domestic discussions on literature (which we have somewhere between our everyday conversations and agreements on supplies and repairs, and the emotional political comments), some time ago my husband told me that my poetry was too womanly. Honestly, I could not understand this syntagm, and for some inexplicable reasons I even felt it as an attack to my creative ego. When I asked him to explain what he meant by womanly poetry, he said: “It's too personal, you expose yourself too much.” Thus, unconsciously, with only several words, the essential, basic core of the term women's writing appeared in our intimate everyday life, as if popping our from a broken nut shell.
When the feminist movements left the streets and the institutions and moved into the area of philosophy and theory, they largely dealt with one, for them, key issue: are men and women in their nature equal (same) or different? The analysis of this question led to a division of the answers, and one stream of feminist thought (somehow approximating Marxism), claimed that the differences between the sexes are socially imposed. In the Bible of feminist thought, The Second Sex (1953), Simone de Beauvoir clearly said that we are not born as women, but we become ones. In this way, the term gender was established as opposed to the term sex, to clearly differentiate the meaning of biological conditionality versus social imposition. Following a similar line of thinking, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, Michel Foucault, also said that body and sexuality and cultural constructs rather than natural phenomena.
Unlike this line of thinking, some feminist theorists promoted the theory according to which men and women are inherently, naturally, by their birth different, and even essentially opposed. This theory had its broadly popular, vulgarized version in one of the most famous books of the contemporary instant psychology, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. However, at a deeper level, this line of thought did become the basis of the feminist literary theory which deals with the issue of the so-called women's writing and its distinctiveness (as opposed to the so-called men's writing).
Although the term women writing is very easily and quite often simplified and generalized to everything that is literature written by women, the French theorist Hélène Cixous says that “it is impossible to define a feminine practice of writing, and this is an impossibility
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