To my knowledge, men often ask themselves “What is woman?” “When does a ‘girl’ become a ‘woman’?” At least, they do so in the mode, or in the form that they grant to the questions such as: “What is Being?” “What is technology?” “Are colors more mind-dependent than weights? “What is the relation of language to thought?” etc.
My feeling is that it is not worth the trouble to try to answer such questions, for their findings will have no bearing on practice, and if a debate has no practical significance, then it has no intellectual significance.
What is needed, and what many men are unable to envisage, is a repudiation of the very idea of woman having an intrinsic nature to be expressed or represented. For there is no such a thing as woman. There is therefore no answer to the question “When does a “girl” become a “woman?”
To say that woman is not out there is simply to say that where there are no male discourses there is no woman, that male discourses are element of patriarchy, and patriarchy is men creation. Woman cannot exist independently of man mind. And men never marry to a woman who cannot so exist. As Phyllis Chesler says:
“No, sons do not marry their mothers: older, ‘wiser,’ all-powerful, all familiar women--as once their own mothers were to them. Sons marry wives: ‘little’ mothers, strange mothers, women safely trapped into maternal service…”
As Rorty tells us, the drama of an individual human life, or of a female, is not one in which a preexistent goal is triumphantly reached or tragically not reached. Instead, to see one’s life, or the life of a fellow female, as a dramatic narrative is to see it as a process of Nietzschean self-overcoming.
The paradigm of such a narrative is not the life of the girl who claims that there is woman out there (or in here) to be discovered, but rather the life of the genius female who can say of the relevant portion of the past, “Thus I willed it,” because she has found a way to describe that past which the past never knew, and thereby found a self to be which her mother and grandmothers never knew was possible.
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