Feminism

Barry asks, “If normative language can be seen as in some way male-orientated, the question arises of whether there might be a form of language which is free from this bias, or even in some way orientated towards the female.”

Perhaps a difference can be seen in examining the stereotypes of how men and women use language. For example, men are seen as using language with a specific goal in mind, the stereotype being men try to fix their partner’s problems with “why don’t you just tell your boss X or Y?”. Conversely, the stereotypical female use of language is to use language as a way of expressing emotion, such as “I’m really frustrated with my boss.”

These of course are stereotypes and tropes in our society since men do express their emotions to their partners and women do explain to people how to perform tasks. And the same can be seen in art, such as the character Ripley in the Alien films who performs both stereotypically male and female roles, often at the very same time (protecting a child in her arms while firing a flamethrower).

So what then would be a non-masculine language? Marks and Courtivron seem to be saying that a whole new language – written through their (women’s) bodies – must be invented. Even “pronouncing the word ‘silence’” would be done away with since that would impose a syntax, or a male-dominated control over the language. What this language would be I could image as a form of dance, a physical expression of want and desire and feeling, sort of like bees using their bodies to tell the hive where the pollen is located. Of course this presents the problem of their still would be a language with a rigid syntax that has been imposed on the culture.