The aim of my paper is to delve intersectionality in Adriene Rich’s Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence, Barbara Smith’s Toward a Black Feminist Criticism and Helene Cixous’ The Laugh of Medusa. It will focus mainly on the theoretical approaches made by these theorists and their basic agreement and disagreement to Intersectionality, Race, and Gender. The critical approach of this paper would demand the history of feminism and sexuality to take into account. Therefore, this paper will deal with the necessary context of gender, race and sexual discrimination as presented in the writing of these theorists.
Initially, my paper will deal with the basic common aspects and theoretical approaches of these theorists, their responses to psychoanalysis, and their common agreement towards the feminist movement. Then how these theorists differ in their approaches and in their arguments on gender, sexuality and race will be the central focus of my paper.
For instance, Helene Cixous, in her writing mainly focus on feminist writing rather than focusing on intersectionality. She urges woman should write with their body, should break the ‘divine composure’. Her response to Lacan and Foucault and their theory of ‘castration’ will also be one of the central focuses of my paper to show her argument on gender and sexuality.
On the other hand, Adrienne Rich, in her writing mainly focuses on intersectionality. Unlike Cixous, her focus is not only on binary of male and female but on the queer theory. Her concern is on the rights on Lesbian woman. She also talks about the destruction of ‘divine composure’ of heterosexuality but my paper will show how her approach is different from Cixous’ approach. Both of them discuss about the social and economic forces as a cause to keep woman in a boundary. But they differ in their basic argument of the ‘body’ of woman. The institutional forces are presented in a completely different way in their writing.
Barbara Smith in her Toward a Black Feminist Criticism also focuses on the intersectionality. However, her approaches are quite different from Cixous’ as her main concern is on the binary opposition of Black and White woman literature. Though she talks about the lesbian literature, and the implied lesbian representation in the writing of Tony Morrison, she comes back to the identity markers which mainly focus on the conflict between black-white woman literature. Her approach to the attitude of the erasure of lesbian existence and literature is somewhat different from Rich’s approaches in Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence. She sounds to some extent similar to Rich’s argument on lesbianism but her argument of interdependency of women could be explained in a different way from Rich’s argument. She suggests that Black woman’s writing can provide integrated consideration of the roles played by race, gender, class, and sexuality in literature. On the other hand, Cixous argues for woman writing and literature irrespective of race and sexuality.
These three theorists differ in their theoretical approaches though all of them speaks under the umbrella of feminism.
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