A Knowing Re-Presentation of a Patriarchal Form

The Feminist screen that speaks the language of patriarchy is something that both Angela Carter and Teresa de Lauretis advocate.

In the case of Carter, when she wrote about Fairytales and Pornography in The Sadeian Woman and the Ideology of Pornography which was published in 1978, she commented on the affinity of these two forms because their basic common characteristic was their reductio ad absurdum nature. She argued that when stripped of all the extraneous flourishes that accompany a more complex narrative form, what is left in the fairytale and the pornographic text is the bare-bones ideology of a society. And in both these narrative forms what is most apparent is their patriarchal colors – their views on women, how they should be treated, how they should be seen, how they should act, what roles they can take on, etc.

So Carter’s view was to take these reductio ad absurdum narrative forms, combine them, and in so doing, defamiliarize them so that they can be reclaimed for women. Hence the claim in the essay of a “knowing representation” being a subversive one because it makes ready the grounds for deconstruction of the Oedipal narrative.


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