New French Feminisms: An Anthology

New French Feminisms: An Anthology

New French Feminisms: An Anthology

New French Feminisms: An Anthology

Excerpt

Men have principles, and they insist upon them.

And at the heart of these principles, engraved, in the cold splendor of an eternal and almost super-human law, the value of woman and the value of man:

Woman is valuable in so far as she permits man to fulfill his being as man.

But man is valuable in and of himself.

For out of him cometh forth all value, as the sperm out of his penis.

If like him I were able to say: the highest, the best, is man-directed and he alone is able to aspire to it, then, yes, if I were able to say that, I would willingly attune my value to his.

But there's the rub, I cannot say it. That which he imposes upon my judgment as humanity's supreme subtlety seems to me twisted with weakness and misery.

Therefore I say (nothing will stop me): man's value has no value. My best proof: the laughter that takes hold of me when I observe him in those very areas where he wishes to be distinguished. And that is also my best weapon.

One must not wage war on man. That is his way of attaining value. Deny in order to affirm. Kill to love. One must simply deflate his values with the needle of ridicule.

For years I rebelled against men because of their demands and their contempt, because of the monopoly on their glory. But I have noticed that men happily accepted women's rebellion and delicately savored their bites: they perceived in our anger the expression of a supreme and sad devotion to those values of theirs to which we could never accede.

It was then that I started to question their right to demand and despise, their source of self-glorification. And I encountered their values inscribed in the firmament of greatness and human dignity.

From Parole de femme [Woman's word] (Grasset, 1974).

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