In Helene Cixous' "The Laugh of the Medusa" Cixous speaks of feminine repression which results from phallocentric structures inherent in our culture's discourse. To illustrate these repressions, Cixous depicts an image of a dark, unexplored room. This room is representative of female language and sexuality, two areas women fear to explore as a result of both male warnings and dominance. She explains that if women will question their fears, if they will turn on a light, they will discover that there is nothing to be frightened or intimidated by. They will discover that all their fears and shortcomings were based on images and standards created by men. Women must understand that the obstacles they perceive as obstructions to their advancement can in fact be conquered. To overcome these obstacles women must allow themselves to speak with and through their bodies. Cixous explains that by using the body as a medium of communication, they can aquire the ability to gain their own voice. However this ability to speak in their own voice faces multiple restrictions, primarily the absence of a feminine discourse. This absence not only forces women to speak within the constraints of a masculine language, it also places limitations on where feminine speech can penetrate the defining walls created by a phallocentric structure. In "The Laugh of the Medusa" Cixous attempts to show the reasons behind female repression, the way in which women can reclaim their own voice, and finally, how they can most effectively penetrate the constraining structures created by a phallocentric discourse.

Similar to Cixous, Ann Koedt uses the idea that women have the ability to dispel male-created myths through the act of discarding their blinders and questioning the validity of the myths. By doing this women expose themselves to the entire picture, a picture that is free from the expectations and fears that have guided them for so long. Koedt's essay "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm," a radical feminist piece written during the 1960's, uses the vaginal orgasm, a male-created myth, to illustrate similar ideas to those depicted by the Medusa in Cixous' essay. Koedt explains that if women would open themselves up to exploration, they would discover the fallacy behind the vaginal orgasm. This fallacy lies in the fact that there is no such thing as a vaginal orgasm, only a clitoral orgasm. Once women are exposed to this fact, they can cease all attempts to achieve the unachievable, thereby freeing themselves from failure. By no longer running themselves into the ground, searching for something that does not exist, women are able to put an end to the inevitable frustration and self-doubt that this perceived failure leads to.

Introduction to the Myths
Why the Myths Were Created
How to Uncover and Conquer the Myths
The Myths and Their Faults
Derrida's Theory of Deconstruction
Applied to Cixous
Obstacles Faced in Conquering the Myths
How the Medusa Became a Monster
and the Woman Became Inadequate
A Critique of Cixous' Use
of Deconstruction
Cixous' Proposed Results and
My Proposed Results

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