Saturday, November 25, 2006

phallogocentrism -- analyzing the compressed strata

We women should be aware that we still live and think against the backdrop of an ancient heritage, marked by a certain structural feature that will have prevailed in the tradition. We’re still bound to it, whether one be a woman or a man, but no doubt in a different manner depending on whether one is a man or a woman, each one otherwise loyal and/or disloyal with regard to said heritage. That is why deconstructive work, patient and responsible, shows itself to be of utmost importance. This contemporary practice of attentive reading and rereading, hence at once loyal and disloyal, that consists in unearthing the strata of our cultural heritage, in disjoining its elements in order to understand how they fit together, allows one to open a space in the heart of this complex, otherwise. To the point of the possibility, or “the impossible”, of an unforeseeable coming of the other, yet to come… perchance.
Thus, if phallogocentrism is a major theme of our deconstruction, which questions and has an impact upon the tradition, this clearly stems from the fact that between a masculine presence and a feminine presence the imbalance is flagrant (within the tradition understood from philosophical, moral, sexual, fantasmatic, political viewpoints, and so forth). One may even go so far as to wonder whether that tradition was not in part constructed upon and beginning with a certain exclusion of the woman and of the feminine. The question remains open — and we’re no longer at that point today. In this sense deconstruction reveals and questions a form of imbalance, it targets an appearance of abnormality.

“Rarely has democracy been determined without confraternity or brotherhood.” MC Jack D.

It follows that in the history of democracy, hence involving political stakes right up to the present day, preference will have been given to the phallocentric model of the brother, native land, and the nation. Jacques Derrida observes that all the great philosophies of friendship — androcentric or androcentered — are intertwined with this political question. Thus, if men living democratically are like brothers, originally brothers of the nation or fatherland, all that seems to remain for women is the possibility of an assimilation into this model (but when?... I mean, since when and from what place does this problem arise? Since the liberation of women? The time of deconstruction, in “the library” and the world? Or else well before all that, as from the very beginning?...): the sister is a case of the brother, a species of the genus brother. Is this andro-centered model suitable and adequate in order to think today about the citizenship of women at the heart of a political system, rigorously speaking?

It is about rethinking entities without any longer excluding. Here and now, it is necessary to invent other names, attempt to carry ourselves beyond these politics, in the hope and the dream that something new might yet come, occur… such as, for instance, “a democracy to come”. In deconstructing traditional discourse, such practice leans heavily upon the analysis of masculine texts naturally bearing the imprint of phallogocentrism. This is the form of deconstruction previously observed: by analyzing the compressed strata locatable in this or that discourse, it is about opening up a space within the vault that might attest a certain concealment of women. Secondly, if taken under a certain angle the tradition tends to exclude women and femininity to the benefit of discourses of male dominance, this is more than likely linked to the fact that, throughout history, it is the men who have written the most. The desert of women in certain books is linked to another desert, that of women who write, talk, invent, and create with their women’s voices and vision.

Today, more than ever, women are occupying positions of influence. However, in the past they have been the exceptions to the rule and were usually obliged to hold on to their power by deforming themselves into honorary men or into magnified archetypes of the female who manipulated men. It still is not clear that women can successfully become part of the established structures without accepting these deformations. John Ralston Saul
Bookmark and Share
posted by u2r2h at 10:46 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home