How do we describe "female" in the absence of patriarchy's constructed "femininity"?
Wittgenstein said : “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”
Sara Lennox writes in her Cemetery for the Murdered Daughters: "Ingeborg Bachmann’s Malina is about the absence of a female voice; in some respects it reads like an illustration of the feminist theory which has evolved since its publication to explain why, within Western discourse, women are permitted no voice and subjectivity of their own. It may be that feminism is the collective struggle of women to constitute that voice, but that battle has barely begun. In what voice, then, does a female scholar write about the absence of a female voice? I have realized that my struggle with Malina, Bachmann’s struggle to write it, and the struggle she describes in it are all part of the larger war in which we women (against our will and often without our conscious knowledge) are combatants—and which may have killed Bachmann".
"The dilemma that Bachmann confronts and represents in Malina involves women’s place in the symbolic order. How can it be possible for her, a woman, to write about women when exactly what she wishes to assert makes her own position as woman wielding the pen impossible? This awareness of oneself as a contradiction in terms traces its way through Malina in recurrent phrases which express both extraordinary pain and perseverance: “Those who have to live a Why can endure almost any How,” and, most poignantly, in view of Bachmann’s own death by fire, “Avec ma main brulée, j’écris sur la nature du feu” (with my burned hand, I write of the nature of fire). Damaged herself, she will insist on overcoming her injuries to write of their causes".
Janet Frame says at the end of her novel The Edge of the Alphabet that those who live at that Edge are like: "those yellow birds that are kept apart from their kind —you see their
cages hanging in windows, in the sun—because otherwise they would never
learn the language of their captors".
A voice without language exist only as a scream, unfortunately the collective voice of females sans language, beneath patriarchy, exists as a silent scream. I asked what should have been a simple question the other day, describe female. There have been no concrete answers, most replies didnt even make the attempt. I do not believe that those who responded didnt try, but that those who responded had little or nothing to try with.
Under patriarchal structures, like Frame's yellow caged birds, females are "kept apart" because we cannot communicate with each other given that the only available language is the language of our "captors"! Since men created language, it has been use to hold women down, keep women in horrific relationships, sexualize females from infant to elderly, buy and sell females, legally blame us for our own rapes and trounce our bodies till we learn to do it ourselves with even greater precision ad infinitum.
If as Wittgenstein said, that the limits of language means a substantial limit to the world, females are like infants, pre-verbal. How can females fight for equality when the very thing we must use to fight with, is absent? It is through this absence of a female language that Butch Invisibility has manifested. This is why any female who exist outside of how males have defined "female" is often labeled "masculine", "manly" or "mannish".
Language informs how we see each other, it also informs how we feel about ourselves. Which is why when we cannot see ourselves in the male defined female that we feel alien or "not female" or do not "feel female". The absence of a female language alienates us from our very selves, body and soul! And when there are only two primary positions to take, that of female or male? If we do not "feel" female, we leap to what seems to be the only logical conclusion. That somehow, through some cosmic joke or mistake we must surely then be male!
Until the female sex can put herself into female, female must be stripped of all male desires, definitions, decrees and delineations. We may not be able to describe her right now, but lets at least stop her from being described as what she isnt. Monique Wittig warned us decades ago: "There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that. You walked
alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied. You say you have lost
all recollection of it, remember . . . You say there are no words to
describe this time, you say it does not exist. But remember. Make an
effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent."
The next part in our forensic postmortem of the mockumentary The Lost Women of NXIVM will consist of dissecting the major proponents surrou...
This was a recent comment/question from a trans female who clearly found out too late how testosterone poisoning can negatively affec...
The TRUTH about Testosterone effects on Transmen/FTM (a series) Due to underwhelming and overwhelming information on testosterone dange...
This blog receives daily searches from assorted trans females struggling with the unhappy truths of what testosterone/ transition DID NOT a...
On a recent post someone left comments/links regarding Trans Trending gal Aydian Dowling's pursuit to gain a cover shot on the men'...
Thanks to whoever emailed me these. Due to dealing with family matters I do not have time to write a full post to go with these pics, howeve...