Sunday 21 February 2010

The LGBT History Series (21) - Monique Wittig

Monique Wittig (1935-2003) was a French radical lesbian, an author and a feminist theorist.

She was one of the founders of the Mouvement de Liberation des Femmes in 1970; the action of a group of women laying wreaths at the Arc de Triomphe was seen to be the founding event of French Feminism.

Wittig achieved her PhD in Social Sciences, and was a prolific speaker in French institutions and radical feminist and lesbian groups until in 1976, she taught in numerous US colleges, on courses such as 'Women's Studies' where her students were immersed in the correcting the American translation of the Lesbian Body.

Quotes from Wittig's books include: '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...This is about building an idea of the neutral which could escape sexuality.'
'woman' has meaning only in heterosexual systems of thought and heterosexual economic systems. Lesbians are not women.'

Wittig was an advocate of universalism, claiming that the rise of the individual and the liberation of desire require the abolition of gender categories.

If any of this yanks your chain, the university library has 5 or 6 of her publications, but you'll have to wait until I've finished with them first :P.