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Écriture Féminine, Láadan and Nüshu A Reassessment of the Postmodern Feminist Visions of a Female Language


“The question of gender is a question of language.” Barbara Johnson’s perceptive formulation of the relationship between gender and language succinctly characterizes the approach of a group of feminists who draw upon the discourses of postmodernism. Yet what distinguishes them from their feminist predecessors and postmodern counterparts is the proposal of écriture féminine—feminine writing—as a path towards the most fundamental liberation of all: freedom from oppressive thought. This paper, therefore, centers on the idea of feminine writing in “The Laugh of the Medusa”, written by Hélène Cixous in 1976, and explores its experimental literalization, Láadan in Native Tongue, and its actual realization, nüshu in China. The project, I hope, can eventually shed some light on our understanding of the opaque postmodern feminist theories of female language.

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