Virgina Woolf Vs.Helene Cixious Compare Helene Cixouss position on womens writing with that of Virginia Woolf in A Room of Ones Own. Do you think they would agree with each other? Why or why not – which aspects seem similar, which ones different, and which ones may perhaps be seen as complimentary to each other in some way? Lets do a hypothetical situation here. Imagine Virginia Woolf and Helene Cixous in a room, alone, discussing womens writing, and position in society. This is something I would like to see. I think that the conversation would be a highly animated one, filled with anger, disagreement, and heartfelt unity.
Take Cixouss position on women, saying that only through understanding ones body, and the refusal to reject it, can a woman truly write. Saying that only at the end of patriarchy and the end of the Phallocentric culture we live in today can a woman write something that has meaning. Without repression womans imaginary is inexhaustible, like music, painting, writing, Their stream of phantasm is incredible (Laugh p.246) Woolf claims that women can write under this system of repression, as long as she has a space of her own. Where she is uninterrupted by life outside that room. Both Cixous and Woolf discuss the lack of womens writing in history. Woolf talks about the lack of mothers (women writers from the past).
She believes that this silence of her foremothers is a serious detriment to womens style of writing today. Cixous does not directly mention this but, some of the things she wrote leads one to believe that she agrees with Woolf on this point. Just on the point of being discoveredmillennial ground to breakI refuse to strengthen them by repeating them. (Laugh p.245) . Women must put herself into the text – as into the world and into history. Here I think she is saying that womens writing is a ground yet uncovered and her refusal to strengthen the silence.
I know why you havent written, because writing is at once too high, too great for you, Its reserved for the great that is for great men. (p. 246) Both Woolf and Cixous write about the oppression by men, and how this affects womens writing. While this is Cixouss main point in Laugh of the Medusa, Woolf only mentions this a few times. Mainly in the universities, where women are not allowed to walk on the lawn, or enter the libraries without being accompanied by a male scholar, How there is a world of knowledge closed from women.
Cixous states Im speaking of woman in her inevitable struggle against conventional man. Both encourage other women to write. Woolf claims that it is not only for change that women must write, but also for her own selfish purposes, the simple fact she likes to read. Cixous urges women to gain back themselves and their bodies through writing. Writing is for you, you are for you, your body is yours, take it (p. 246) Both agree that men and women have two different styles of writing, here Woolf doesnt exactly state this, but states It was refreshing to read a mans writing, although there seemed to be an underlying I behind the scene he created (2).
Cixous states I write woman, woman must write woman, and man, man. (p.247) Bibliography Virginia woolf – in search of our mother’s garden Philosophy.