Thursday, November 02, 2006

Luce Irigaray and Feminism - who are we?

Today's epistle is on Luce Irigaray and feminism and the role and identity of women.
Or, it would be if I knew anything other than what I read on Wikipedia about her; but I think I may need to know a bit more about what she thought.

Today I have been thinking about my identity as a woman or my lack of identity as a woman. I abhor all 'girlie'-ness and somehow feel it is a sign of weakness. Being female is to be weak and vulnerable; it does not comand respect. And so I am not allowed to plan a fantasy wedding or pick out my children's names or look at engagement rings. I am not allowed to wear dresses or make an effort to look pretty. If I wear makeup or dress smartly I feel like I have to put myself down. I hate to cry and be emotional or irrational.

Imagine how this confusion over my female identity has been affected by the loss of my breast.

You must understand that this is in some strange instinctual part of me that I feel this. It is not what I logically believe to be the case and it is not the way I think women ought to feel or what we or I should believe.
I believe in equality. But somewhere underneath I am undermined by myself. And I have no idea where I have learnt this from. Not really. In a roundabout way - I think I've always tried to behave in a non-'girlie' way and somehow that has had the effect of teaching me that to be female therefore must be 'bad'.

Apparently, Luce Irigaray started to say that that women could/should be equal for what they were, which is different to men. But that society did and does not recognise that. I believe that the 'third wave' feminists are the women out there who are saying that feminism is actually about choice - it is about choosing which elements of femininity to embrace. Which, I think, is what some 'mommybloggers' out there are saying - especially SAHMs who counter the arguments that they are undermining the work of feminists gone-by who fought to get women out of the home and into the workplace. That actually, being a feminist is about having the choice - of choosing or being as female as you wish.

But I can't be a woman - I haven't got the right shoes.

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