I’m a Doofus

Actual conversation at my house:

“Hey, I’m not trying to air condition the whole outside. The door needs to stay shut.”

“You left it open when you took the dog out.”

“Was I born in a barn?”

l’ecriture feminine

Back in the old days, when we were stupid, we sat in college class after college class listening to professors as they tried to explain the tenets of French feminism. Basically, all I took from it was that these French philosophers thought/think that women and men are intrinsically different and that women, when freed from or indeed in order to be freed from patriarchal oppression, would learn to write in specific womanly ways.

What these ways were was and is the source of continual argument and, though I believe that there are fundamental differences between men and women, I don’t know how one can say for certain which differences between people are based on sex, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, religion, education, etc. (The Shill and I heard Michael Bertrand from TSU say “I don’t know how to separate a discussion of gender from one of race and class.” I’m going to write about that, soon. I just haven’t yet. But I think it’s a wise admission to make.)

But anyway, listen to Helene Cixous, from her essay “The Laugh of the Medusa”:

I shall speak about women’s writing: about what it will do. Woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies — for the same reasons, by the same law, with the same fatal goal. Women must put herself into the text — as into the world and into history — by her own movement.

There’s been a lot of discussion about whether this kind of writing, here in cyberspace, linked to other writers, commented on and come back to, is l’ecriture feminine realized.

I don’t know, since I barely know what l’ecriture feminine means.

But I think I get what Cixous is up to in this paragraph, what she hopes for from women’s writing, that it will value our experiences and make space for others to join us. And she also is not waiting around for permission or validation from hierarchies already in place.

You can see why blogging brings Cixous to my mind.

Anyway, this post is actually about abortion, I think. I’ve only rarely posted on abortion, though I think it’s obvious that I’m rabidly pro-choice.

Today, I was reading Bitch. Ph.D. which led me here to Nyarlathotep’s post about her abortion. That made me think again about l’ecriture feminine, about what it’s like when women write themselves into history, and what it means that the best, most thoughtful writing about women’s experiences isn’t being done at colleges and universities, at least not sanctioned by those colleges and universities, but hidden (in the sense that it’s anonymous and that it hasn’t occurred to most of the “right” people to look here) in plain sight on the internet.

All our bravest writing…

When we were in college, when I was less rabidly pro-choice (still, pro-choice, but less inclined to have to stab you in the eye if you disagreed with me), I used to say that I could live with any legal status of abortion if that legal status were decided by women, if we all got together, heard each other out, and took a vote.

I even imagined something like this:

But with less smirking, since we’d be well-aware of the gravity of our decision, and more actual women present. I should stop being bitter about this picture, but I’m just not able.

Anyway, I think I’m trying to juggle too many things that are very closely linked in my mind, and so this post is wandering and making me bitter. For those of you who made it this far but can’t figure out what the hell I’m trying to get at, here are the main points: 1. The traditional intellectual structures still can’t figure out (or be bothered with trying to figure out) how to incorporate the wise and insightful female thinkers in their midsts, and so 1a. these wise and insightful female thinkers take their training from these traditional structures and head out here on the web to do their own things, which 1b. are brilliant and more meaningful than traditionally recognized forms of scholarship, even though this writing 1c. has a solid theoretical base in French feminism and l’ecriture feminine and 1d. should be in the classroom and in the discourse. 2. It still, years later, grosses me out that a bunch of men stood around smirking while they signed a law that will never directly affect them and 2a. I can’t even articulate it because it makes me 2b. so angry I start to feel violent and it makes me 2c. feel very alienated from my country and so, 2d. I should just leave it alone.

Driving Out 70

So, one beautiful summer’s day, back when gas was less expensive, the Butcher and I were driving east on 70 (though it may have been 70S, I can’t remember) and we were going farther east than we’d ever been on that stretch of road, out past 840, out past that town that seems to be in a perpetual state of yard sale, out, out, out until there was nothing but us, some hills, some chickens sitting by the side of the road, and some scattered houses.

And, clear out there, we saw a weird thing.

In front of one of the houses, on the north side of the road, was what appeared to be a large fiberglass birthday cake and I’m talking a “four strippers could fit in that thing” large birthday cake with three tiers.

Written on it in pseudo-icing was “Happy Birthday Jesus.”

Since then, we occasionally fight about the meaning of this cake.

The Butcher insists that it probably was exactly what it looked like: a large cake that naked women might emerge from in honor of a man of Hispanic descent whose birthday is in the middle of the summer. And the Butcher still thinks that cake was evidence of some kick-ass party that we were either too early for or too late.

But I insist that it was probably exactly what it looked like: some forlorn Christmas prop that couldn’t fit in the storage closet at the tiny church it belonged to and so was parked in this front yard most of the year, its wayward message serving as a beacon to those in search of a church home.

Sadly, though we’ve been out both 70 and 70S many times since then, we’ve never seen the giant cake again.