Sunday, May 31, 2009

hatstuck snarls comments on Mina Loys 'mary-festo'

Mina Loy sitting on the lap of Djuana Barnes.

Hatstuck Snarls has a great long article about Mina Loy and her mary-festo (manifesto)
quote a bit here, but its very worth a read... "This lack of an “I” is an important feature of the “Feminist Manifesto.” Current scholarship surrounding the manifesto takes the presence of the manifesto’s narrator for granted, without discussing the absence of an “I” (or a “we”) or without attempting to discuss the position of the narrator herself. This is perhaps understandable in light of the narrator’s forceful tone, which itself seems to mark the speaker as a figure of authority, but, it remains important to note that the authority of this speaker comes into being simultaneously with the utterance of her many demands. This factor might be rooted in part in the fact that Loy’s narrator does not appear to be creating a social movement and thereby has no scaffolding or context, or other persons, backing her. But even this point is debatable, as the last lines of the manifesto reference the possibility of “an incalculable & wider social regeneration,” thus marking the manifesto as a revolutionary discourse meant to bring about social change through the reformation of consciousness. But just as this notion of regeneration marks the potential of reformulating consciousness as the narrator outlines, the limits of the narrator’s claims, which could also be read as evidence of their seeming visionary status, are reflected by the last lines of the manifesto, in which Loy orders women to detach themselves from the assumed impurity of sex, “Another great illusion that woman must use all her introspective clear-sightedness & unbiased bravery to destroy—for the sake of her self respect is the impurity of sex[.]” But after making this command, Loy’s narrator once again rejects her audience by rejecting their ability to follow through on her demands, “the realization in defiance of superstition that there is nothing impure in sex—except the mental attitude to it—will constitute an incalculable & wider social regeneration than it is possible for our generation to acquire” (Lost 156). While presumably Loy’s narrator turns her back on the audience once again because has managed to grasp the notion that “there is nothing impure in sex,” this sense of the narrator’s superiority is not able to maintain a stable presence throughout the manifesto.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis, as will be further discussed, examines the “Feminist Manifesto,” in relation to Loy’s Love Songs, in order to argue that “feminine consciousness is a specter haunting the poem” (“Seismic” 52)."

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