New French Feminisms: An Anthology

By Elaine Marks; Isabelle De Courtivron | Go to book overview

Annie Leclerc

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).

-79-

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New French Feminisms: An Anthology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Why This Book? ix
  • Introductions 1
  • Annie Leclerc 79
  • Claudine Herrmann 87
  • Hélène Cixous 90
  • Luce Irigaray 99
  • Warnings 115
  • Antoinette Fouque 117
  • Denise Le Dantec 119
  • Maria-Antonietta Macciocchi 120
  • Arlette Laguiller 121
  • Madeleine Vincent 125
  • Catherine Clément 130
  • Julia Kristeva 137
  • Simone De Beauvoir 142
  • Creations 159
  • Xavière Gauthier 161
  • Julia Kristeva 165
  • Claudine Herrmann 168
  • Marguerite Duras 174
  • Chantal Chawaf 177
  • Madeleine Gagnon 179
  • Viviane Forrester 181
  • Christiane Rochefort 183
  • Research on Women 211
  • Variations on Common Themes 212
  • Utopias 231
  • Simone De Beauvoir 233
  • Françoise Parturier 234
  • Françoise D'Eaubonne 236
  • Annie Leclerc 237
  • Marguerite Duras 238
  • Maria-Antonietta Macciocchi 239
  • Julia Kristeva 240
  • Julia Kristeva 241
  • Monique Wittig 242
  • Suzanne Horer Jeanne Socquet 243
  • Hélène Cixous 245
  • Index 271
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