What are the ways in which Hélène Cixous’ "The Laugh of the Medusa" argues for representation?

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In "The Laugh of the Medusa," published in 1976, Cixous forcefully calls for women to express and represent themselves through writing. She argues that written discourse has been for too long been dominated by male writers and by what she calls phallocentricism or the privileging of penile penetration.

Cixous doesn't want women to write in imitation of male norms or within constraints men have set up for them but to truly represent the female experience—especially female sexual and masturbatory experience as it is experienced by a woman who is willing to be honest about her emotions and drives.

Women have been defined by male representations to the point they hardly know who they are, so the writing Cixous calls for is a form of discovery. She saws women must be bold and write their secrets for other women, stating that she:

wished that that woman would write and proclaim this unique empire so that other women, other unacknowledged sovereigns, might exclaim: I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs.

She states that women must not be ashamed or afraid of telling of these experiences. These experiences fall outside of male categories of representing the woman as either weak or murderous and thus cry out to be articulated. This is a new kind of love that is not based on anxiety or a need to establish gender hierarchies of superior and inferior. It moves beyond this and beyond the hate and dominance that has often been a chief characteristic or male/female relationships:

she scorns at an Eros dynamic that would be fed by hatred. Hatred: a heritage, again, a remainder, a duping subservience to the phallus. To love, to watch-think-seek the other in the other, to despecularize, to unhoard.

Women, as the above quote suggests, can represent themselves in such a way that they describe and open up a new concept of love, one that is political in that it is not based on the old economies of exchange of one object for another or of hoarding but is an outpouring of giving.

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