I thought I should explain the origins of my name, and direct y’all to some of my favourite feminist reads.

First off is The Laugh of the Medusa by Helene Cixous. Cixous advocates that women find their own voice in writing and not try to mimic that of men, especially when talking about womanhood. She called this ‘ecriture feminine’ which, although the literal translation is feminine writing, in fact means a style that expresses the neglected aspects of the human experience. Virginia Woolf is an example; James Joyce another. Ecriture feminine does not have to be written by women – it is a rejection of masculine libidinous language, not a rejection of men. On a side note, I think this is a large part of the hostility feminists face: too many people think that feminists are ‘anti-men’, that we want to cut off their penises, burn bras, force everyone into communes and all the other stereotypes. It simply isn’t true. What I want, as a feminist, is to have my voice recognised as equal to a man’s – and Cixous offers a way in which to strive for this. Why ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ as a title? Medusa represents the threatening female, the creation of masculine fears: Cixous’ Medusa laughs in the face of these masculine insecurities and the way in which she has been painted.

In terms of why I chose roflingmedusa as a screen name, someone already has the name laughingmedusa, so I thought I’d go with rofling, as it sounds so amusingly pleasing.

OKAY. More:

Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble is a thorough examination of the gender and its construction: brilliantly written, incredibly insightful and damn inspiring.

Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex is another must-read: this is one of the most influential late first – early second-wave feminist texts ever written.

Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is a gentler read than the above, which are more in the vein of literary theory. A Room of One’s Own is based on lecture notes and essays written by Woolf over a number of years. The sections on androgyny are of particular interest, especially read in light of Butler.

The Madwoman in the Attic by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar looks at the woman writer in the nineteenth century, examining the ‘madness’ that women appeared to suffer from, owing to the repression of the female in a male-centred world.

Finally, for now, Monique Wittig’s One is not Born a Woman is in the same vein as de Beauvoir and Butler, focusing on sexuality to a greater extent.


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