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"I write woman: woman must write woman" : Phallic Oppression

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Rachel Richardson

on 1 May 2014

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Transcript of "I write woman: woman must write woman" : Phallic Oppression

"I write woman: woman must write woman" : Phallic Oppression and Female Creativity in 'Fingersmith'
The process of writing the female into history
Repression of female creativity
The resultant appropriation of male sexuality to compensate for the loss of female identity
How successful this appropriation of writing for the feminine is
Dualistic portrayal of the phallic finger
Phallocentricism leading to personal experimentation
The success of Maud's writing of woman

Waters explores the tensions between masculine written word and the attempt to "write woman"
feminists contended Freud's focus on the role of the penis and "penis envy"
Fingersmith explores female masturbation and sex between women - writing lesbianism into fiction - interest in female sexuality from the female perspective
Helene Cixous
The act of being psychologically treated - cures herself through her personal form of psychoanalysis
Masculine writing stifling female creativity
Gender difference
Maud's castration
Sigmund Freud
A Freudian Reading
"'You are a man", I answer. 'Men's truths are different from ladies'." (Waters 218)

"They say ladies don't write such things. But, I am not a lady." (Waters 546)
Gender Difference
"'To find you here, all on your own, writing books like that-!'
Again, she looked almost proud. 'Why shouldn't I?' she said.
I did not know. 'It just don't seem right,' I said. 'A girl, like you -'
'Like me? There are no girls like me.'" (546-7)
The Act of "writing woman"
A Freudian Interpretation
Helene Cixous
Cixous, Hélène. "The Laugh of the Medusa." New French Feminisms. Elaine Marks and Isabelle De Courtivron eds. Hertfordshire: The Harvester Press, 1981.
Freud, Sigmund. "Three Essays on Sexuality." The Essentials of Psychoanalysis. London: Penguin. pp.277-375. Print.
Waters, Sarah. Fingersmith. London: Virago Press, 2003. Print.
Works cited
A Personal Interpretation
"The development of the inhibitions of sexuality (shame, disgust, pity, etc) takes place in little girls earlier and in the face of less resistance than in boys, the tendency to sexual repression seems in general to be greater; and [...] they prefer the passive form." (Sexuality 355)
"The room was changed. The paint had all been scraped from the windows, the finger of brass prised from the floor." (Waters 541)
"I write this as a woman, toward women. When I say "woman", I'm speaking of woman in her inevitable struggle against conventional man; and of a universal woman subject who must bring women to their senses and to their meaning in history." (Cixous 245)

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