«If the pen is a metaphorical penis, with what organ can females generate texts?»
– Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, “The Madwoman in the Attic”.
Let’s answer to this question that starts by a conditional “if”. The condition is to suppose that the metaphor exists. Look closer. Take a pen. A typical pen looks like it has the glans, the part of the pen that seems morphologically the penis glans, on the opposite side of the writing flux. You push it up and down to write or to stop writing. So, if ink, metaphorically speaking, could be considered an ejaculation, it would be like an inverted ejaculation, not that one that comes out of the glans, but one that would expand from the basis of the penis (and, maybe, it would expand till consist in what Kafka calls a «mind ejaculation»). Consequently, pen would be, metaphorically, not a penis, but an inverted penis. Being such, it wouldn’t imitate or be identified with the exclusive attribute of the male gender. Physicians have already noted that female internal reproductive system looks like the inversion of male external reproductive system. Women have inside an inverted penis, as men have outside an inverted vagina. Male and female attributes are fixed one in relation to the other. An inside vagina and an outside penis are oriented in opposite directions: the ovary pair remains above vagina, but the testicle pair hangs below the penis (at least, when it is erected, the most valued position from men point of view, since relaxed they may appear above, depending on penis unstretched size). Though, we think that it is not the organic inversion what pen reproduces, because both male and female organisms ejaculate near the small hill that the male penis glans or the female clitoris represents. So, organically and metaphorically speaking, male and female would both write with an inverted pen. That is not a real pen. A real pen creates a distance between the glans hill and ejaculation, which comes out from the opposite side (from the double side, marked in the organs by the pair of ovaries or testicles). But, you say, the pen has not ovaries or testicles. You’re right, it hasn’t, but, remember, we have said that the pen doesn’t reproduce the organic reproductive system, neither male nor female. In turn, the pen has two positions of the ink extremity: outside or inside, on or off. It is an ambivalent extremity, with two valencies. We are sure that, if you are about to write – condition – your pen can’t be a metaphor of the organical reproductive system. That is not to write, it is to fuck or to reproduce. Two different valencies. Or you write, or you fuck. You can not fuck and, at same time, practice Chinese or Arabic calligraphy. Even if you write on a naked body, as in Peter Greenaway’s “Pillowbook” or in Maori tattoos, fuck and write are not the same. And, if, once upon a time, they happen at the same time, you can’t any longer mantain their established names, because you won’t recognise any ordinary thing. It will be like a fusion, a flux, a ejaculation of the thought. Returning to our initial question, the answer to the first part is: the pen is not a metaphorical penis. No metaphors are needed, not even to write. In relation to the second part of the question – «with what organ can women generate texts?» – it is now easier to answer: no organ at all. And if you are stubborn to the point of not giving up of metaphors, at least, use the maximum metaphor: or she writes with all the organs she has in whole her body (even those she doesn’t know she has), or she writes with none. Her writing is «tracing a delicate and subtle curve», the curves of her body, because «her being exists only under the form of an act effectuated by the Other». That act is writing. Oneself writes, not as a male or female organicized subject (subject to one’s organic order), but as a «body without organs». When oneself writes, oneself is written by a “stilus”, a “qalam“, “um lápis” (Latin “lapis”, stone, as in “lapis-lazuli” or “lápide”), like the Officer written by the machine in “The Penal Colony”.
Aren’t you, feminists, that put yourselves in the worst side of an organic dialectics? Your pen is biodegradable.
Words of the same etymological family (from Greek “poiné”, Latin “poena”, Sanskrit “punia”): pena (“pain”), pénis, penar, penal, penalidade, penoso, pensar, pensamento, punição (“ir ao castigo”), punho, punhado, punhal, punhalada, punheta, pugna, impugnar, repugnar, repugnante. Pensar é uma punhalada penosa e repugnante? Provérbio sufi: «O tempo é um sabre. Se não cortas com ele, ele corta-te».