AN INCONVENIENT LIE by Louise Gouëffic


Secrets in Language
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A passionate, logically jagged, linguistic-based argument of man’s subdual and suppression of women.

There is a lie being told, passed around not merely from person to person, but from generation to generation, and its destructive powers are great. Such is the force with which Gouëffic attacks symbol-makers and users, with scarcely anyone safe from her criticisms. Starting with Manu in 2400 B.C., the author weaves her polemic against man’s creation of words aimed at separating off, rising above and distinguishing themselves as the idealized part of our species. It’s not merely the use of the term “man” to refer to our species as a whole that distorts the truth. The other half—the feme—is subjugated by man to a mere add-on, to wo-man. Words such as “human,” “mankind” and “woman” built from “man,” or having “ver” (man), “wor” (man), “fir” (tree/phallic) or “sem” (semen) in “universe,” “world,” “firmament” or “seminal” respectively, has man placing himself over and above all, projecting himself outward, making himself the alpha male, the godhead. But, according to Gouëffic, there is a solution—the Rofemtic movement, “the movement to reestablish true-to-reality symbols and truths”; its heart is the idea that we establish man not as man, but as male, and fem as fem. Gouëffic’s writing has passion and fire to it, but it might take too much effort for the reader to attempt the task of absorbing the information. With an incessant use of slashed words (H/he, F/father, etc.), long Hegelian-type prose, overly repetitive arguments and loose informal reasoning, the book reads more like propaganda in search of a philosophical soapbox.

An essay that was pushed beyond its means; what could have been an engaging look at historical and social etymology is rendered difficult and distant.


Pub Date: June 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0969027720
Page count: 262pp
Publisher: Sapien
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2011