Cassandra has a great post working through the gendered language I’ve used in relation to ‘work’ and ‘text’. About time there was talking back.
Some things to keep in mind here. The quote marks around ‘paternal’ and ‘maternal’ are there to help signal that they are not the same as male and female, but like the coloured hats roles that are performed by whoever happens to perform them. This is what I meant when I used the example of romantic comedies having a ‘work’ and a ‘text’ character. That was a smart idea that arrived while I was saying it, and it made lots of sense to me, but of course no one else. I did not mean that literally (ie a character who has a job and one who doesn’t, or similar), but one will be, well, severe, stern, strict, bit hung up about something. The other will be, well, free, liberating, casual. In some films one of these terms will be positive, the other negative. But it changes. In some films the wild one is just too wild, and so the film will have the ‘work’ character as providing that solidness that the character is thought to need. This film over there will have the ‘work’ character as just not able to see life, and the ‘text’ character will be the one that shows them how to smell the roses. But there is nothing in there about which gender these will be.
As Cassandra notes, there is not a negative attitude towards women, but I do have to stress that any simplification is an artefact of the lectures and not Barthes. The sort of stuff that floats under this, for me, is the theoretical work of women like Kirsteva, Irigary, and Wittig. (See for example Cavallaro’s French Feminist Theory an Introduction, particularly Chapter Three). Finally, bleeding. Well, some of the writers I mentioned do make this explicit in terms of a ‘feminine écriture‘ which I think has very strong affinities to Barthes’ notion of the text.
To close of this post, temporarily, Stella recognises (in a post that I think lays out the problem very elegantly) that:
The theory of the text can coincide only with the process of writing, and now I understand.
I write to understand, to make sense, to question, to convince. Writing is free space, is uncontrolled and developing, ceasing only when you stop. The text is that which you can not write down, but when you begin to try you understand. It is not tangible, can not be pinned down, or defined, but I can see it now, it is the thoughts that connect, that cut across one another, that question what came before.
This could also be an outline for a K-film, for what a K-film is, or should/could be.