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ENGC15H3 Lecture Notes - Sext, Phallogocentrism, Logocentrism

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Pouneh Saeedi

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ENGC15 Cixous, Irigaray
Cixous: “The Laugh of the Medusa”
“The Dark Continent”:
o The Heart of Darkness, Africa, continent is mysterious, association with women?
The white male colonized Africa, women being colonized by men
o Portmanteau words:
Sext = sex + text
Illes = ils + elles
Chaosmos= chaos + cosmos
Chaosfemale, boundless
These words have combination of male and female
She says we have to get rid of oppositions, of binaries
o The Gorgons were three sisters; Medusa’s the mortal one
o Perseus, heroic male, decapitates Medusa, the horse Pegasus springs from her body
Shows her fecundity
Lots of versions:
Once very beautiful, object of male desire, raped by Neptune, her hair
was turned into snakes
She turns people to stone with eye contact
Pregnant with Neptune’s child, but because she’s decapitated, her child
metamorphoses into Pegasus
Medusa associated with womanhood because the sight of female genitalia was
like looking into her eyes because the male would be petrified for fear of
According to Freud
Women write in white ink
o How fertile the body is, it’s capable of producing milk, on a level the male body is
o Woman never far from the role of mother, nonname and as source of goods
o Infant: infans, not speaking, not able to speak
Subjectivity in stuff
Three phases of subjectivity:
o Infancy
o The one where the infant is introduced to language
o ___________________
o Feminine way of writing: accessed through rediscovery of the lived female body
o Break down phallogocentrism
Phallogocentrism: phallus (plentitude, divineness, male genitalia) + logocentrism
(realm of law, authority)
The Visual, the signifier, usually associated with the male, because it’s visual
o Signified is the mental, the idea itself
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