Where Is She?


  • Carol Brewer


Aware of the tradition of horizontal violence that divides women from each other and cognisant also of the dearth of female notions of divinity, majesty or even identity that exist within the Judaeo/christian tradition, which has had such a penetrating effect on social, cultural and religious 'truth-imperatives', I was curious about the statue that had effected such a profound impression on Luce Irigaray. I had searched, to no avail, within the Anglican traditions of both Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand for such a symbol. Consequently, in this paper I intend to explore the construction of the Virgin as she is re/presented by the Anglican Church. Using the deconstructive and reconstructive strategies of Helene Cixous I will analyse a fourteenth century altar piece of the Annunciation painted by Simone Martini, and then suggest how Mary can be used to affirm, rather than deny and oppress, the multiplicity of differences between women.