“A Lesbian is Not a Woman”

The following is selected thoughts pulled from a collection of essays

by French feminist

Monique Wittig

Wittig began writing after falling in love with another girl at the age of twelve.

“The straight mind cannot conceive of a culture, a society where heterosexuality would not order not only all human relationships but also its very production of concepts and all the processes which escape consciousness, as well. (140)

“There cannot any longer be women and men, and as classes and categories of thought or language they have to disappear, politically, economically, ideologically. If we, as lesbians and gay men, continue to speak as ourselves as women and as men, we are instrumental in maintaining heterosexuality. I am sure that as an economic and political transformation will not dedramatize these categories of language. Can we redeem slave? Can we redeem nigger, negress? How is woman different?” (141)

“What is woman? Panic, general alarm for an active offense. Frankly, it is a general concern that the lesbians do not have because of a change of perspective, and it would be incorrect to say that lesbians associate, make love, live with women, for “woman” has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. Lesbians are not women.” (143) The Straight Mind

“Western philosophy concerns only a small fringe of people: white men, proprietors of the means of production, along with the philosophers who theorized their point of view as the only and exclusively possible one. This is the reason why when we consider abstractly from a philosophical point of view, the potentiality and virtuality of humaness, we need to do it, to see it clearly, from an oblique point of view. Thus, being a lesbian, standing at the outposts of the human (of humankind) represents historically and paradoxically the most human point of view.” 144 Homo Sum

French Feminism Reader 2000. pgs 1-313 Edited by Kelly Oliver

Roman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

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