Given that each woman has her own story to tell, Cixous believes women can most accurately tell their story by writing through their bodies. All through history women have been defined by and contained within their own bodies as a result of repressive male activity. Cixous suggests that women who have been defined by the male gaze can do one of two things. The first option is that they can remained trapped inside themselves thereby perpetuating the passive role determined for them by the male. The second alternative women have, and the option Cixous supports, is that they can use their bodies as a tool. By using their bodies as a medium of communication, women are able to speak with the very thing that they have been confined within. Through accessing a method through which their story can be told, Cixous says women gain the ability to "fly." This ability to "fly" is considered to be a woman's gesture concerning her ability to glide independently, being propelled through the air by the sheer force of her own will. Cixous' use of the term "fly," "voler" in French, is ironic because in the French language it can also mean "steal." By using this double-sided word Cixous relays the message that if women are to ever "fly" and sore on their own, they must first "steal" back from men their right to speak.

Cixous speaks positively and optimistically about women's ability to reclaim their right to speak and write in a feminine style. She explains that to be effective, this style must take on an unconventional form, "sweeping away syntax, breaking from the famous thread which acts for men as a surrogate umbilical cord." By abandoning the linear and orderly characteristics associated with traditional masculine style, Cixous uses the phallocentric language to her advantage. She acknowledges phallocentrism and then, through contradictions, she uncovers the inherent shortcomings. This inadequacy is based upon the realization that Cixous is not able to say exactly what she would like using a masculine discourse. Because Cixous does not have the option of speaking though a feminine discourse, she is forced to use alternative techniques in order to relay a direct and accurate meaning with a masculine language.

In her writing Cixous deviates from the accepted masculine style and writes in an obvious circuitous and contradictory manner. By speaking in contradictions she deliberately calls attention to the fact that she can not express her true thoughts as she feel them, thereby exposing the inadequacy of the current language. Since the immediate creation of a new language is not a feasible option, women are left with the option of only revealing the flaws that exist. Exposing these flaws is the only way women will be able to overcome the obstacles that are constructed by a patriarchal society.

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

Back to "Medusa's Orgasm" Main Page

Back to Helene Cixous' Research Page