By Teresa de de Lauretis
"There is hardly ever a web page during this selection of hard-thought and brilliantly written essays that doesn't yield a few new insight." ―Hayden White
"... de Lauretis’s writing is brisk and refreshingly lucid." ―International movie Guide
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Extra info for Alice Doesn’t: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema
To perform the terms of the production of woman as text, as image, is to resist identification with that image. It is to have stepped through the looking-glass. As the reader by now has discovered, the title of this essay has little or nothing to do with Lewis Carroll's book or its heroine. It has, however, something to· do with a text not cited directly, but whose presence here, as in much feminist writing, is due to our historical memory: Sheila Rowbotham's Woman's Consciousness, Man's World.
Think again of Letter from an Unknown Woman and its arresting gaze on the illuminated body of Lisa/Joan Fontaine, the film the theatre of that. With the apparatus securing its ground, the narrative plays, that is, on castration known and denied, a movement of difference in the symbolic, the lost object, and the conversion of that movement into the terms of a fixed memory, an invulnerable imaginary, the objectand with it the mastery, the unity of the subject-regained. Like fetishism, narrative film is the structure of a memory-spectacle, the perpetual story of a 'one time', a discovery perpetually remade with safe fictions.
Thus, for instance, while the novel, the cinema, and television are all "family machines," they cannot simply be equated with one another. As social technologies aimed at reproducing, among other things, the institution family, they do overlap to a certain degree, but the amount of overlap or redundancy involved is offset, precisely, by their material and semiotic specificity (modes of production, modalities of enunciation, of inscription of the spectator/interlocutor, of address). The family that watches together is really another institution; or better, the subject produced in the family that watches TV is not the same social subject produced in families that only read novels.