“The sex of women”: the barred and powerful book by Anne Akrich

But what is this book? Nothing is decorous there, everything is awfully atrocious, Anne Akrich whispers confidences that are not said, then swings stand-up valves. His painful confessions burst into fits of laughter, his text fuses, an intimate punishment at the same time as a declaration of war against the men of yesterday and today’s society. Little by little, her extremely personal story turns into a feminist manifesto, her feeling of devastation being part of a collective awareness: the violation of feminine desire, its negation, its instrumentalization. This can’t go on any longer. No jeremiads in these pages, Romain Gary affirmed that laughter is the cold weapon of the disarmed, Anne Akrich is its comic and furious disciple.

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“So it’s the story of a woman driven by rage, who demands reparation for her sex, and tries to save herself. This is the story of a woman who, to stop wanting to die, writes, the only path to life, and undertakes to go back to what she calls her prehistory, the end of her innocence. She was 12 years old in Tahiti when her little sister was raped by one of their uncles, one of those they called uncle with affection and followed without fear for a trip in a canoe. As in all cases of incestuous rape, the family is atomized by shame and silence; everyone is tormented, no one talks about it and Anne grows up in the unspoken. “The Sex of Women” tells the sexual memoirs of a disturbed young girl, plagued by guilt at not having been in her sister’s place, subjected to the desire of men who willingly take theirs for hers, nailed by the dictates of a society that too often teaches women to hate what passes between their legs. In the manner of Barthes, from which she borrows part of her famous title in her subtitle “Fragments of a warlike discourse”, the author declines the words of sex, dissects the inequality of male and female desires, the disparity of pleasures, the revolution of motherhood, makes certain contemporary concepts go all out, in particular this famous “grey zone” which allows the aggressors to laugh back at their abuses: “You necessarily wanted to…” But now voices are rising for protest and finally draw the outlines of new relationships: “Yes, the tolerance threshold of women towards the bullshit of men is drastically lowering. In her library, we will store, next to “King Kong theory” by Virginie Despentes, “Le Sexe des femmes”, a barred and powerful text by a warrior who no longer wants desire to be linked to death.

“THE SEX OF WOMEN, FRAGMENTS OF A BELLIGENT DISCOURSE”, by Anne Akrich (Gallimard, 181 p.).

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