False Dichotomies: Grammar and Sexual Polarity

  • Deborah Cameron


Yin and yang; animus and anima; as the epigraphs to this chapter point out, a tendency to classify the universe by an opposition of male and female principles recurs in patriarchal thinking. But is the opposition such a true and fundamental one? A basic insight produced by the feminist theory of this century (we owe it to Simone de Beauvoir1 and it has been developed by Luce Irigaray)2 is that women in patriarchy are constructed as the Other — as whatever men are not. If man is active, woman is passive; if he has the phallus, she simply lacks it. Femininity is masculinity inverted.


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Copyright information

© Deborah Cameron 1985

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  • Deborah Cameron

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