27 Jan 2010

Women: inherently irrational?

Halt, lady readers, don't book your hostels in Cambridge just yet, as the Valentines launch has been postponed. This time, it's not because I tried to kill myself, but due to publishing technicalities. I'm not bitter, but I do wish I had a bloody boyfriend. Oh the world of a lady writer! Speaking of Lady Writers, in 1925, Scottish Lady writer Willa Muir penned Women, An Enquiry, in which she frustratingly linked the Freudian unconscious with the female gender, and the rational, decisive consciousness with, you guessed it, men. Now, far be it from me to support gender essentialism: I've met plenty of Transfolk and I tell you, it's definitely not as simple as all that. Some mornings I don't feel anything like putting on a bra, and my formidable skills at Scrabble alert me to the fact that frequently I am able to be perfectly rational and on top of things, unlike poor Willa Muir who thought that women were given an important 'creative outlet' in motherhood to match all the fun inventions and science the boys got to do. Silly bitch. The irrational, spontaneous and emotional outbursts of the unconscious/women could, Muir claimed, be channelled creatively and supply society with valuable growth, vitality and humanism, something which starchy men, trapped in their mechanical functionalism, were unable to supply for themselves (for some reason).

Generally, I disapprove, but when it comes to publishing schedules, perhaps Muir was right about women's inherent inability to meet deadlines. Now, one publication which definitely did get off the ground successful was Issue 2 of the Cambridge Literary Review which launched last night in (you'll win a pair of my knickers if you guess it successfully ...) yes that's right, Cambridge! I was trapped in familial pow-wows last night with Aunt Lily over what to do with vast chunks of the family 'fund' which were invested somewhere truly ghastly which might not exist anymore (further proof of our gendered inability to cope with masculine rational constructions, I'll thank you Helene Cixous). The outcome of this was that I missed the launch, which promised to be a good one, with readings from tender Valkyrie Marianne Morris and Tony Robinson from Time Team! I was very glad to have a poem I composed in honour of fleur du mal, Tom Chivers included, and to be able to represent the gritty London scene in the formidable, ivory cloisters of Cambridge, like a female Jude the Obscure, although of course I still use my cantab.net address occasionally.
Do please check it out. Finally, many apologies to those who turned out to see me at the Edinburgh Student Fringe Festival's feminist poetry event, Shout Out! on the 18th Jan, where I had intended to read. After walking around an intimidating student union, full of 'young people' and scores of the sort of idiotic girls who are produced like Sea Monkeys every time a new 'mega-trend' takes off, this time wearing fake fur jackets and palpable Topshop irono-novelty brogues, I chanced upon a sign which made me realise the reading had in fact taken place the day before. Proof, if proof is necessary in your gendered framework of fixed texts and unambiguous language, that women are subject to what Julia Kristeva calls feminine time, which is circular, reproductive, and eternal, in contrast to masculinity's linear, teleological time and its association with culturally valued 'progress'. I contend that if the poetry reading had been feminist, it would still be going on now.


(or is it? another feminist question)

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