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The position of a woman in a patriarchal society has been discussed in numerous literary works. Historically, women had specific place within the society, which was meant to maintain the status quo fronted by men of the patriarchal society. In her work The Laugh of the Medusa, Helene Cixous observes that women have been placed in the position of the ‘dark’- a place where people have tried to make them aware and accept as part of their natural position (Cixous 876). However, they have defied this odd position and positioned themselves into a powerful uniqueness, which is characterized by their individual components. Put differently, no one can talk of women in a common code as individual woman’s imagination cannot be exhausted just like music, painting or writing (Cixous 876). Kathleen Rowe, in Gender and the Genres of Laughter, emphasizes this position on the transformation and rebellious nature of a woman towards male patriarchy (Rowe 2). Their reaction in the contemporary society shakes the patriarchal position taken by the establishments. These latest developments do not augur well with the patriarchy; however, does the contemporary woman care much? It is an affirmative “no”, according to both authors.

The contemporary woman has realized her potential. She laughs at the naivety of the contemporary man, who is scared of her latest position. She expresses herself in the way she wants without watching at the ‘boundary’ imposed by patriarchal man. According to Rowe, this woman is not ordinary as perceived by the patriarchy (2). These women can commit a crime with impunity, as their crime, silence, and finally laughter color them with demonic or grotesque. In other words, the long-held perception of a woman as a victim of circumstances, especially in media and art presentations such as in television series and movies, no longer exists.

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A woman represents something totally different from the generally traditional view and perception heaped on her existence. The women in question can laugh, disrupt, express anger, resist and be in solidarity with each other when there is a need. One of the major strategies a woman has used to hide her real self as well as masquerade is presenting herself as pure. In this package, women use laughter, withdrawal, radical negation, and pretence to conceal their dangerous ability to destabilize the establishments. While this purity package may be deceiving, it is a dangerous nature. Moreover, the use of femininity in their actions presented through their patience to wait, suffer, and sacrifice in the face of adversity portrays a different picture many people have been made to believe in. The easy laughter highlights the masquerade, an equally dangerous aspect that is used to conceal the true nature of woman’s potentially explosive nature. The laughter can sometimes be concealing anger, another weapon that a woman can use to express her displeasure of a societal injustice. For example, she does not respond to unpleasant joke or transgression with an equal amount of resistance to such sexist advances.

In the world of films or comics, various sexists’ jokes have been employed in an attempt to express a woman’s vulnerability in a society that does not take women seriously. There is a common joke that goes; “What do women who suffer domestic violence have in common? They all didn’t know when and how to shut the fuck up!” The joke, while presenting the notion that physical punishment is the only best way to communicate to a woman, is likely to leave a bad taste on the value of communication. In other words, a woman should not speak, and if she does, a punch will shut her better. However, the joke indicates some important aspects discussed by Rowe and Cixou, in their respective articles.

First, while a woman’s silence may be viewed by many as a sign of weakness, no one knows what is brewing behind such silence. For example, Rowe (7) intimates that a woman’s anger may be hidden in her silence – the unspoken anger that may hide the depression and sacrifice. Moreover, the fact that the women facing physical abuse as a “means of communication” cannot “shut the fuck up” shows their desire to express themselves in the face of hostility from male chauvinists. Put differently, the silent woman may only be in the position of silence tentatively, with the possibility for a new face in the event of more oppression. As Rowe puts it, the life draining repression of feelings imposed on women may erupt in a violent manner, as “the woman moves from silent suffering to violence and finally to laughter that momentarily transcends both” (12). The refusal by some women not to speak up may be galvanizing the vocal ones’ anger, presenting a negation which poses a danger to the establishment.

A woman can use the silence demanded by the patriarchs as a strategy for purity. This form of purity, however, may be masquerade – pretence that everything is fine. For those who use silence in this manner, they may “shut the fuck up” but to only take it as a brilliant gesture of revolt. Women are not spectators anymore as they are able to victimize as well as make other shed tears in equal measure. Moreover, they have become resistant to the challenges paused by the stereotypical society of the patriarchs. They even masquerade in the face of anger with eerie smiles confusing their male intimidators that they have taken their ‘rightful’ position given by the society. Instead, they take this laid-back approach to pounce back angrily at the patriarchs.  In doing so, they certainly use strategies that, critically, are dangerous to the establishments power positions.

Code: writers15

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