What is Julia Kristeva’s idea of the abject and the nature of women?
Kristeva has emphasized the rejection of mothers by both male and female children due to male-dominated cultural patterns that render the mother herself abject, which is to say, totally other, disgusting, and monstrous. Kristeva thinks that the solution to this problem requires a rediscovery and healing of narcissism in women’s psyches and an acceptance of adult love between women. However, Kristeva rejects the label “woman” as a universal term, and has refused to define women. She apparently believes that every woman is fundamentally different in how she is a woman or what being a woman means. As she wrote:
It is there, in the analysis of her difficult relation to her mother and to her own difference from everybody else, men and women, that a woman encounters the enigma of the “feminine.” I favour an understanding of femininity that would have as many “feminines” as there are women.
Kristeva’s main theoretical writings are: About Chinese Women (1977), Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art (1980), Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (1982), Revolution in Poetic Language (1984), and New Maladies of the Soul (1995).