Hélène Cixous was born June 5th 1937 in Oran, French Algeria. She produced several pieces of literature through out her life but her piece titled “The Laugh of the Medusa” was her most influential piece. It was translated to English and released in 1976. The text focused on the embodiment of women. Cixous wrote,
“And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven’t written. (And why I didn’t write before the age of twenty-seven.) Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it’s reserved for the great-that is, for “great men”; and it’s silly”
Here she is challenging women to not be afraid to write. Telling them to go against what there past says; which is that men were the only great writers, and write. Do not stay hidden in the shadows simply because you do not see your self-adequate.
This essay is full of how women were oppressed and how Cixous, in a way, is trying to build them up. Give them courage to fight for there womanhood. An example of this is,“We the precocious, we the repressed of culture, our lovely mouths gagged with pollen…we are black and we are beautiful.”
Also a large part of this essay is talking about a woman’s body. Cixous repeats the phrase “write for your body” a few times. She says that men are more or less “coaxed” into being successful or adequate, by societies standards, but it is the women who are seen as the “body” or the one to birth babies. Women were supposed to take care of the home and the family; not write. So Cixous is saying, write the story that has not been told; let your body speak.
“Those who have turned their tongues 10,000 times seven times before not speaking are either dead form it or more familiar with their tongues and their mouths than anyone else. Now, I-women am going to blow up the Law: an explosion henceforth possible and ineluctable; let it be done, right now, in language.”
Interview with Hélène Cixous about intellectual women.