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Pickle Me This

June 28, 2010

Hers is still the second sex

‘It may be that today’s woman writer doesn’t have much to do with the concept of “women’s writing”. Feminism as a cultural and political crisis is seen to have passed. Marriage, motherhood and domesticity are regarded as so many choices, about which there is a limited entitlement to complain. If a woman feels suffocated and grounded and bewildered by her womanhood, she feels these things alone, as an individual: there is currently no public unity among women, because since the peak of feminism the task of woman has been to assimilate herself with man. She is, therefore, occluded, scattered, disguised. Were a woman writer to address her sex, she would not know who or what she was addressing. Superficially this situation resembles equality, except that it occurs within the domination of “masculine values”. What today’s woman has gained in personal freedom she has lost in political caste. Hers is still the second sex, but she has earned the right to dissociate herself from it.’ –Rachel Cusk, “Shakespeare’s Daughters”

One thought on “Hers is still the second sex”

  1. Gillian says:

    “fiction that concerns itself with what is eternal and unvarying, with domesticity and motherhood and family life. The sheer intolerance, in 2009, for these subjects is the unarguable proof that woman is on the verge of surrendering important aspects of her modern identity” from the same article. Thanks for posting this – it articulates so many of the things I’ve been feeling as a writer, a woman, a mother. It’s sort of depressing to have it laid out, but it’s also inspiring. I’ve secretly thought that women who sound like men when they write are the ones who go far, but I’ve recently changed my mind to believe that women who sound like they mean it go far. Also, if we do it in tandem, without turning on one another… not depressing. inspiring.

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