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She published her first novel, L'Opoponaxin In she moved to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. In she published her first novel, L'Opoponax which won her immediate attention in France. After the novel was translated into English, Wittig achieved international recognition.
Its publication is also considered to be the founding event of French feminism. Inshe was a founding member of the Gouines rouges "Red dykes "the first lesbian group in Paris.
Material for a Dictionarywhich her partner, Sande Zeigcoauthored. In Wittig and Zeig moved to the United States where Wittig focused on producing work of gender theory.
Her works, ranging from the philosophical essay The Straight Mind to parables such as Les Tchiches et les Tchouches, explored the interconnectedness and intersection of lesbianism, feminism, and literary form. With various editorial positions both in France and in the United States, Wittig's works became internationally recognized and were commonly published in both French and English.
She continued to work as a visiting professor in various universities across the nation, including the University of California, BerkeleyVassar College and the University of Arizona in Tucson. She taught a course in Materialist Thought through Women's Studies programs, wherein her students were immersed in the process of correcting the American translation of The Lesbian Body.
She died of a heart attack on January 3, She also demonstrated a very critical theoretical approach evident in her essay, "One Is Not Born a Woman". Her ties to de Beauvoir and Sarraute are, however, equally significant, and position her work within a double history of feminism and avant-garde literature of the last half of the twentieth century.
Like Duras and Cixous, she develops her work to a rethinking of women's experience in writing, while her staunch opposition to a notion of "difference" that would be based on sexuality or biology aligns her more with de Beauvoir and Sarraute.
Monique Wittig called herself a " Radical lesbian.
In literature, I do not separate women and men. One is a writer, or one is not. This is a mental space where sex is not determining. One has to have some space for freedom. This is about building an idea of the neutral which could escape sexuality.
Moreover, for Wittig, the category "woman" exists only through its relation to the category "man," and the "women" without relation to "men" would cease to exist. She advocated a strong Universalist position, saying that the expression of one's identity and the liberation of desire require the abolition of gender categories.
Wittig identified herself as a Radical lesbian. In her work The Straight Mindshe argued that lesbians are not women because to be a lesbian is to step outside of the heterosexual norm of women, as defined by men for men's ends.
Lesbians are not women Wittig also developed a critical view of Marxism which obstructed feminist struggle, but also of feminism itself which does not question the heterosexual dogma. A theorist of material feminismshe stigmatised the myth of "the woman", called heterosexuality a political regime, and outlined the basis for a social contract which lesbians refuse.
Theoretical views Wittig's essays call into question some of the basic premises of contemporary feminist theory. Wittig was one of the first feminist theorists to interrogate heterosexuality as not just sexuality, but as a political regime. Defining herself as a radical lesbian, she and other lesbians during the early s in France and Quebec reached a consensus that " radical lesbianism " posits heterosexuality as a political regime that must be overthrown.
Wittig criticized contemporary feminism for not questioning this heterosexual political regime and believed that contemporary feminism proposed to rearrange rather than eliminate the system.
While a critique of heterosexuality as a "political institution" had been laid by certain lesbian separatists in the United States, American lesbian separatism did not posit heterosexuality as a regime to be overthrown.
Rather, the aim was to develop within an essentialist framework new lesbian values within lesbian communities. She believed that it is the historical task of feminists to define oppression in materialist terms. It is necessary to make clear that women are a class, and to recognize the category of "woman" as well as the category of "man" as political and economic categories.
Wittig acknowledges that these two social classes exist because of the social relationship between men and women. However, women as a class will disappear when man as a class disappears. Just as there are no slaves without masters, there are no women without men.Straight Mind and Other Essays.
by Wittig, Monique. by Wittig, Monique. Recommend this! Marketplace Prices. 3 New from $; 7 Used from $; Used $ New $ Rethinking sex and gender Talcott ParsonsEssays in sociological theory. Free Press, Illinois () Rubin, Gayle RubinThe traffic in women: Notes on the political economy of sex.
Wittig, Monique WittigThe straight mind and other essays. Beacon Press/Hemel Hempstead, Boston (). Monique wittig the straight mind and other essays online.
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