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On Feminist Writing May 3, 2011

Posted by FCM in books!, meta, pop culture, prostitution.
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i was inspired to write another “creativity” post after finishing joanna russ’s classic “how to suppress womens writing.”  i have been avoiding actually doing it though, because i am kinda sick of scanning pages out of books…but what do i know really?  i just work here.  and unfortunately, for anyone who hasnt heard, ms. russ died last week.  boo!  its just horrifying to me that so many elder feminists are dying recently…but thats probably another post.
 
anyway…joanna russ was a (relatively?) well-known feminist science fiction writer.  as a perfect (perfect!) example of that, heres the prologue to “how to suppress womens writing” in its entirety:

hello!  that first part is priceless isnt it?  russ apparently wrote this book, which is nearly pocket-sized although not exactly an effortless read, during a seven-month convalescence, and her intent was to “define patterns” that have persisted over a century or more, in mens minimizing, mischaracterizing, appropriating, ridiculing and erasing womens written work.  she identifies 9 general strategies by which this is accomplished, and gives examples of each.  now, i am not really that interested in literature, you know, which may have quite a lot to do with the fact that almost all of it has been written by misogynist dudes (though not all of it, as russ notes: it has been a common tactic of women writers to use male-sounding pen-names for example…producing profound works which were initially praised, then instantly downgraded and recategorized once the literary critics realized that women had written them.  wuthering heights being a prime example).

no, i am not interested in that kind of writing, not really.  what i am interested in is radical feminist commentary, addressing any and all subject matter, utilizing any and all media (currently, i am utilizing short essays and graphics, and am particularly fond of the silly-graphic, but serious ones are good too).  and what struck me when i was reading russ’s book is not only how women, as a sexual class, are not supposed to be writing at all, but that the subject matter long considered worthy of both writing and reading about has been pretty exclusively the sick empornulated fantasies (and realities) of misogynist men.  obviously, its not just who is doing the writing, its what they are writing about: in particular, “blood and guts and fucking whores and puking in the streets.”  fucking.  whores.  see?  a decidedly male point of view, on decidedly manly pursuits: mens first-, second-, and third-person accounts of actively destroying women.  this is the history (and the criteria) women writers are up against, when they put the pen to the paper, to write.

so russ enumerates the obstacles women writers stare down daily, and in the chapter describing the lack of female role models in academia and literature, largely due to the erasure of womens work (or minimizing and exceptionalizing it, for example, bookstores carrying only one title from a female author when she has actually written many) she describes her own experience as a writing student in college:

GAH!  how did she ever make it through school as an aspiring writer?  anyway, it occurs to me that, as radical feminist writers, not only are we women, and women-identified women writing from our perspective as women-identified women (this is who we are) we are also, too, in addition, creating and expounding on feminist subject matter that absolutely crucifies BOTH empornulated men, and empornulation-as-art.  and writing, specifically, was never meant to do this.  stringing words together was never meant to describe womens reality, and shine a bright light on the ways men actively annihilate us, what that looks like, and to insist that it matters.  never.  and producing written material for other peoples consumption was never supposed to trigger…womens recognition of a shared plight.  the revelation of mens lies.  descriptions and evocations of the ways men constantly, constantly harass, threaten, obliterate and annihilate women, and lists and pictures and tips and compassion and…humor.  we are laughing at them.  oh yes we are.

i almost think this has gotten away from them…could this be possible?  of course, as soon as putting the pen to paper to create strings of words meant to be consumed by other people starts to work for us, they will certainly shift the goalposts, and say that writing was never that great of a medium anyway, and video games are where its at!!!111!  you know, or something.  but look.  what is consistently ranked among the top 10–if not the number-one–inventions of all time?  everyone knows its the printing press.  its quite possibly the (the!) most important invention.  of all time.  men have been saying this for centuries, and the reason we know they think this (or at the very least we know they say it) is because its written down.  in print.  they cant deny it now.

so whats the deal?  did men not anticipate that womens reality is real?  that its real, and it can be described, using words?  and being that this is the case…women are now laughing and describing and evoking and calling shit on sick empornulated misogynist men, utilizing the written word.  this was not supposed to happen, i dont think.  but it is happening.

it is.

Comments

1. FAB Libber - May 4, 2011

Ah yes, she got the strategies right: ignoring, condemning, belittling [artistic] works.

The condemnation and belitting (etc) is the tactic used to try and counter radfem blogs. I have always maintained, that if ‘we’ are as crazy and wrong as we are, then why all the attention – why go to all the trouble of belittling radfem ideas? The only conclusion one can reach is that we are revealing the truth, a truth they want hidden. After all, truly ‘unsane’ cwazy ramblings would just be totally ignored, there is no need to counter them in any way. But for some reason, it is IMPORTANT that they try to discredit us, to shout us down.

That is the thing that keeps me going. That is the thing that lets me know we are on the right track.

FCM - May 4, 2011

What keeps me going is the comments actually. I and everyone else can tell, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what’s being said here makes perfect sense, and its something women want to talk about, and think about, and discuss. For me, the constant background noise and harassment is little more than an annoyance but it is an affirmation of sorts too. One I could probably do without, but it is what it is right?

2. Loretta Kemsley - May 4, 2011

Well said. I would add that not only do they laugh the things you listed, they also laugh at the way women write. There is a distinctive male style we are supposed to follow (think of the dry, non-emotional, just the fact’s ma’am style of journalism and business writing).

We are not supposed to use words in new patterns. For instance, silly is a word that is only to be applied to what women write or think. Using it to describe what men say or think is taboo. (So, of course, I only use it to describe male writing or the writing of patriarchal women).

The taboos are legion and we must break them all. We must use strong wordsthat relate the power of our emotions and the ugly experiences forced upon us. We need to use strong language that describes the vulgarity of what women experience every day. By strong, I don’t mean foul. Foul language is a male way of describing women and their experiences. I won’t use their way. I use words that present the profound nature of our lives, both good and bad.

3. FAB Libber - May 4, 2011

Yes, it is an affirmation (albeit annoying). Without that affirmation, I would probably have self-doubt creeping in, like “am I being too way out there?”. They basically confirm we are on point.

4. cherryblossomlife - May 4, 2011

This is really important. I think the only solution is for women to create our own culture.

Here is an extrac from an article by Bidisha on women’s erasure from cultural life. Not sure what exactly her job is but she writes articles for the Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/22/bidisha

To witness femicide in action, go to the town of Hay this May. At the same time as the annual book festival is an unrelated philosophy festival called How The Light Gets In. There are 25 debates covering broad themes such as evolution, the urban space, creativity, violence and privacy. All but two of these events are male-dominated. Eight are men-only, opening with “Being Human in the 21st century.” Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Four white men are going to discuss all the facets of the human experience.
—-
Somehow, a decision is being made, probably subconsciously, about what is worthwhile and what is worthless. When I was judging the Orange prize last year we all noticed how major bookshops consistently stacked 10 men’s books to every one woman’s book on its “recommended read” tables – in whatever genre. In one bookshop, fellow judge Martha Lane Fox was told barefacedly by the sales guy that this was because men published 10 times as much fiction as women. But as everyone knows, chaps are heavyweight colossal conceptual geniuses of quite massive greatness and literary ladies are clever little fairies, handstitching our charmingly personal tiny tales out of skirting-board dust and featherweight neuroses.

So what’s the solution? The establishment, patriarchy, the mainstream, whatever you want to call it, just doesn’t find women interesting. It makes sure that women are heavily outnumbered from the very beginning by offering us only a fraction of available opportunities, slots, placements, commissions, trips, panel places, star jobs, reviews. Later, it conveniently uses this to claim that there are not enough women “out there” to make a stronger impression higher up. It talks down women’s work. It is supported by a false mythology about the weakness, inconsistency, subjectivity and inconsequentiality of women’s creation, experience and perspective.

I can no longer give my time and attention – and implicitly, my support – to any event, such as the debates at How The Light Gets In, that gives space to five times as many men as women. I’d rather use my power to fight for women’s voices to be heard, our talent to be celebrated, our participation in the world represented accurately, our intellect respected and our expertise honoured. It does not matter what sexist men or apolitical women think about this. The solution to discrimination is female solidarity and the deliberate concentration of women’s power. But first I need some Pepto-Bismol.”

5. Loretta Kemsley - May 4, 2011

To edit, means to change what is written or approve it, but I doubt that’s what they are using the term for. Word press has several levels: editor, contributor, author, etc. Each has its own privileges. For instance, an editor can usually edit other people’s posts but a contributor cannot.

Take a look at your control panel for privileges enabled for each level. That will give you a better idea of what you can do and can’t do at each level. Of course, that can be changed by the owner of the blog.

Editors may also be expected to recruit and supervise other writers, depending upon the owner of the blog.

So if you’re interested or think you might be, then write to the owner and ask exactly what they would expect from you.

6. rhondda - May 4, 2011

You know here is the thing for me. I read Russ’ book and she mentioned Literary Women by Ellen Moers. I though oh my goddess, I have that book, and so I started reading it again.
I am at the chapter where she talks about Jane Austen and how women were looking for the man who could support them. It dawned on me that Austin was on to something, but it is was not about men whose earning a living was the central idea in that day and age and getting a husband, but women who can earn a living without men and what that means in this patriarchal state we are in now. This is something that Virginia Woolf also was very concerned about with her ‘adultery of the brain’ and what women should be concerned with: As in the career woman who conveniently ignores how she is exploiting other women, so as to have her ‘own’ little queendom.
I do have to laugh in my despair. I know so many women who rationalize their exploitation of other women and live in that bad faith. I do not despise them as that is what is required to survive in the male work place, yet I do wish that the would not deny to themselves what they are doing. Then we could have meeting of the mind and perhaps make a change.

7. cherryblossomlife - May 5, 2011

It’s done on purpose. Can’t remember which male author recently won an award and was highly praised for his “original style”, when on closer glance it was a straight copy of the style women tend to favour (or indeed invented?) especially in chick lit.

8. Miska - May 5, 2011

I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing a lot, recently. I read through the long thread at Cath Elliot’s about the misogynist abuse directed at female writers online. Women’s writing is and has been suppressed via all sorts of means, and the wonderful thing about the internet is that it’s supposed to be an ‘open platform’, for all. But when women write as women online, we are made to pay for it. It’s just another type of suppression.

FCM - May 5, 2011

Yes, you are correct. That’s exactly what it is. I don’t suppose it means anything to the fucking trans and trans politickers, either, that their threats and intimidation against radical feminist WRITERS is just more of the same old shit. I have even heard tell that the threats and general insanity of the responses from trans against radical feminists online are even more vehement and violent than most of what occurs from trans persons irl. Ie. Supposedly, real life trans are just normal people, trying to live their lives. This is also indicative, isn’t it, that what they are doing is attempting to suppress womens WRITING, specifically. And that they see this as a particularly important target. It’s really pretty clear isn’t it?

FCM - May 5, 2011

Re online writing though, and specifically blogging, the good thing about it for radical feminists (and all women really) is that we DON’T have to have our platforms be complete open. Men have always used their “free speech” ideals to abuse women, and suppress women’s speech, but we can just delete their comments and the convo is so much better and richer without them! That’s what I love about blogging. They can scream into the void of my spam folder until they go hoarse, and their comments are never read by human eyes. I know they absolutely hate that. It’s hilarious how much they hate it, and how little they can do about it. I feel badly for women writers who are still buying men’s free speech bullshit, as if that will ever benefit women. It won’t. They let men comment in feminist space, but men destroy feminist space. Daly talks about this. The “background” only happens when women are present without men. As soon as a man notices it, it becomes the foreground. I love that concept, because it describes something that’s demonstrably true, but has never had a name. Cherryblossom has a post up about this.

9. Miska - May 5, 2011

Yes, I agree that we are free to set our own rules in our own spaces, online. I was really referring more to Cath Elliots situation in particular, where she writes at the guardian’s CiF, and cops tremendous abuse for it. The guardian is a “neutral” space (in fact, it’s supposed to be a progressive-leaning publication), yet women’s writing is still suppressed there. “Neutral” actually means “hostile to women”, whether it be online or off.

The only answer, of course, is to create our own culture as cherryblossom mentions. An important part of the second wave involved women starting publishing companies and ensuring women’s writing was available. The idea that women have to actively ensure women’s writing gets out there seems to have fallen out of favor over the last couple of decades, but I think it needs a revival.

10. Loretta Kemsley - May 5, 2011

I was one of the first women to log onto the Internet. I joined some writer’s groups and soon found that women were not wanted at all on the Net. I was told by men to log off and never log on again — as if the Net belonged to them.

I remember one guy who was vicious in his attacks on the few women who were present — and how those same women accepted his viciousness. I didn’t. I talked back. I was polite, but I held my ground.

He went into a snit and threatened to leave the group because of me. The other women wrote to me offlist, begging me to apologize so he would stay. They fully admitted he was the attacker. He wasvicious. I hadn’t said anything to apologize for — and yet, I should apologize. For what? Well, for being direct and stating the truth. They felt it would be fine if I just wasn’t so outspoken. In other words, accept being silenced.

And because he was a “valuable” member of the group. How could any woman believe an abuser was “valuable”?

I didn’t apologize. And he didn’t leave. But the women’s collaboration with this abuser never left my mind. They were so conditioned to psychological violence, they actually were frightened by a woman who could not be silenced.

FCM - May 5, 2011

Miska, completely agree about the writers at the guardian. I wrote at newsvine for a year and the same shit happened to me, but on a smaller scale of course. And in that forum, there was nothing I could do about it except as loretta says, respond politely yet strongly. Eventually the politeness became too much. It was so clear that I was being silenced, and that I couldn’t go to the end of my thoughts there. The shit these women are subjected to at the guardian is fucking horrible.

11. Loretta Kemsley - May 5, 2011

The Los Angelese Times is another so-called liberal paper that won’t give women a forum on their op-ed pages. I know more than one prominent, well-published feminist who submitted work and didn’t even get a reply, let alone have their excellent essays published.

Book publishing houses have been the same. Either a woman wrote what was expected via their limited formulas of “what women are interested in” or they didn’t get published.

They always assumed that men wouldn’t be interested in anything a woman wrote, so that automatically limited what genres a woman was “allowed” to write in.

The Internet age is a blessing for women. The gatekeepers can’t shut us out anymore. We can publish blogs, books, whatever and can’t be silenced. We have cheap ways of using the Net for publicity, sales generation and the like.

It’s finally an age when the playing field is leveled. Now we just need to get adept at using its best features.

12. Miska - May 5, 2011

I really wish there were a few big sites a la newsvine, CiF, Salon etc for women. So far we have small blogs, and I love them, but it would be great to have larger alternatives too. The only big women’s site I can think of is Jezebel. That’s it. Every other big site is neutral, which means it’s really a men’s site anyway.

13. Miska - May 5, 2011

Also, I went and found cherryblossom’s post on the background. It’s such a great concept.

And it’s so true that the mere presence of men changes the background to the foreground. When I started blogging I honestly couldnt understand the fuss about whether men should be allowed to comment on radfem blogs or not. I really thought “what difference does it make?” But it makes all the difference in the world. Futhermore, this difference is only apparent when you’ve experienced women-only discussions. It is literally impossible to discuss things properly if men participate, because as you mention, FCM, we are unable to get to the end of our thoughts. I mean, just the participation of men in women’s online spaces suppresses women’s writing.

FCM - May 5, 2011

It’s funny how I came to this realization too, that FAAB-only is the only way to go. Because initially I didn’t see what the big deal was either. In the beginning, I allowed comments from pretty much anyone, but very shortly I changed my comments policy to be essentially that comments must add to the discussion. “Take us all to a higher place, or stfu.” And that’s all it took! LOL. I wasn’t expecting this to be the case, but in fact, this is an extremely high bar for MAABs, male identified women, and antifeminists. They couldnt do it. Once I spammed everything that bored me to death or asked endless disingenuous questions (instead of providing analysis) what was left was FAAB. Radical FAAB too. It was awesome, and definitely a wake up call for me. No wonder men never let women experience this, if they can help it. Men are irrelevant to every discussion about everything, and all they do is obfuscate the issues, shut down the energy, and refocus everyones attention onto themselves.

FCM - May 5, 2011

Realizing this has also made me less interested in interacting with men irl, and more aware of it when I find myself instinctively (it seems) vying for male attention. I can’t even believe I still do this, but apparently I do! Mostly it feels like “rejection” or something like it, when they will schmooze with you one day and ignore you the next for example. Or when a mentor is inconsistent or moody. I can very easily dismiss the feeling now, and before I wasn’t even aware of any of it! Yay socialization to desire male approval!

And I’m definitely more interested in interacting with women too, and the mini background moments others have mentioned. Women just have so much more to offer in every way.

14. Loretta Kemsley - May 5, 2011

There will come a day when you realize, “I’m all done with this.” It will be a liberating day. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have a relationship with a man again, but it does mean the prospect won’t control your life. He either fits or he doesn’t. No big deal either way.

The energy you save from disengaging there will find its way into your work with a clearer emphasis on women. Right now, you still spend quite a bit of time focusing on men and their reactions to your blog. But it is lessening, as you’ve noted. One day, you won’t even find the worth remarking upon except as part of the pattern that oppresses women.

That stage confuses the hell out of them. I’ve been there for years. They are so used to being the center of attention (which is why they consume the energy and oxygen in any discussion they are allowed to participate in) that they cannot get their minds around being totally irrelevant to the discussion. The more irrlevant they feel, the harder they fight to get everyone’s focus back on them. That’s why the menz and eunuchs are so desperate to insult feminists who are not paying attention to their initial offerings. Their tantrums are attention getting and aren’t supposed to have a point beyond that.

15. Miska - May 5, 2011

Yes, FCM – I have noticed the same thing – thanks to radfem blogging I am now less interested in interacting with men offline too. The friendships I have with men are eroding, and it’s a relief. I just cant be bothered listening to them talk, and pretending to be interested in their catastrophic personal lives, or in the script they’re working on, or the business they’re starting up. And responding to all this with exactly what they want to hear. Reassurance, ego-stroking, lots of sympathetic “mmm’s”. Male/female interactions, of any sort, are always so one-sided and it’s exhausting.

I love ignoring men. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders. It really is.

16. FemmeForever - May 5, 2011

“I just cant be bothered listening to them talk ”

I have been deep into this phase for a long time. I was invited to attend a bible study that I liked a lot, run by a woman I met in the community whom I liked a lot. One of the bible study regulars was a man in his fifties or sixties who worked as a night security guard at a local apartment complex. This man took over every answer to every question that was posed or being discussed. And he did so with thoroughly fake intellectualism, complete with a fake intellectualized accent. He had no particular knowledge of the bible or of anything else but he had to dominate every discussion with looong, boring, stupid male brain ooze designed to elevate his importance. I gritted my teeth and tolerated it for a while. And then the bible study took a hiatus for the fall. When I got the call to re-up. I could not bring myself to do so. I just couldn’t put myself back in a room again with that idiot. By the way everyone else in the room knows he’s an idiot too but they choose to view him with humor and a pat on the head, meanwhile allowing his self-serving, meandering, verbal diarrhea to totally dominate and derail the discussion. I am still pursued to return. I had to tell my friend – who is close friends with this man’s bread-winning wife – that I wasn’t returning because there was a fly in the ointment of the bible study. She read between the lines. So I was forced to discontinue a social activity which I really enjoyed and needed because of the contamination of a man. I really have lost all tolerance for listening to them. I even fall asleep in assembly-style meetings because most meetings have absolutely no substance or point to them except to male-glorify. Same problem at church. Zonksville.

“I love ignoring men. ”

Me too but I really, really need to get some zingers to put men in their place – and I mean scorched earth zingers – for those situations where men are always inserting themselves uninvited into women’s conversation to assert their supremacy. The most recent one was when I was in the market shopping for Easter dinner and I asked some ladies in the aisle if it was OK to combine cloves with a honey and brown sugar ham glaze? Mr. buddinzski-iam-the-center-of-all-intelligence-who-likely-has-never-cooked-a-ham-in-his-life was standing outside my view and piped in with advice to consult google. This was at once silencing and humiliating, exactly what it was intended to be.

17. thebewilderness - May 5, 2011

I remember those “get off my internet” days. They were immediately followed by the “where are the women bloggers” days. Promptly followed by the “OMG Digby, or whoever, is a gurl” days.
At the time I mostly commented on political blogs. I did not realize how much grief I had spared myself simply by choosing my user name. But it didn’t take long to figure it out.

FCM - May 5, 2011

I too chose a username that did not reveal anything about my sex. Amazingly, many people at newsvine apparently didn’t realize I was female, or couldn’t tell, until I became relatively radical and obviously cared very deeply about women’s issues. Quote unquote. Heh. Then it was totally obv, since men couldn’t possibly care less about women’s issues, let alone actually know something about them. By then though, I had found my voice. I really don’t think I would’ve made it if I had started out with a female sounding name.

18. Loretta Kemsley - May 5, 2011

I first logged on as Scorpio. I felt it was fair warning to those as to who I am. LOL. Also, I’d heard about stalkers, etc. Later one, I decided to use my real name because I wanted to publicize my writing. Both have served me well.

But yes, it is an advantage to have a unisex moniker in some ways. If nothing else, it gives us a chance to morph into the person we’d like to become without pressure to conform because of preconceived ideas about gender.

In variably, when people realized I was female, they acted as if I’d deceived them in some horrific way — as if the same ideas springing from a female mind were evil when they were great coming from a male mind.

At one time, I did an experiment. I created two characters — one male, one female — and had them argue with each other in the same forum. The subject was medical. Both claimed knowledge of the subject via their work.

Without exception, the people sided with the male and told the female how stupid she was to argue with him — even when I totally switched their arguments so the male was then arguing what the female had been arguing and vice versa. No one caught the switch.

Since the facts hadn’t changed, the obvious reason was misogyny. What other reason could there be?

Of course, they were angry when I revealed the experiment. It wasn’t their prejudice that was wrong. It was me for “tricking” them.

19. cherryblossomlife - May 6, 2011

not to blow my own trumpet🙂 but the idea that the background changes when men appear *may* have been a cherryblossom original

on the other hand it could have been a straight steal, I have no way of knowing untill I re-read Gyn/Ecology. If anyone knows please *do* let me know

20. cherryblossomlife - May 6, 2011

subconsciously, my hyper feminine cherryblossom may have been a double-double unthink to confuse the trans activists, who tend to have hyper-feminine names themselves, or it even sounds like a porn name.
Also, feminine usually equals polite and passive, so I like to juxstapose raving radical feminist thought with a pretty feminine flower to confuse the gender essentialists

FCM - May 6, 2011

HAHA! good ones loretta and cherryblossom!

i let my avatar confuse everyone. it looks refreshing. LOL only women report feel refreshed when they read here though. thats intentional.

FCM - May 6, 2011

also, sorry if that was your idea cherry! i havent even read gyn/ecology yet. i have it on the shelf. i thought you were crediting her.

FCM - May 6, 2011

heres the link to cherrys “background” post. i have to say, whomever named this phenomenon was absolutely, completely right on. men cannot see the background. when they are here, it changes. this is just demonstrably true.

http://cherryblossomlife.com/2011/04/28/the-background/

21. cherryblossomlife - May 6, 2011

hi, sorry Mary DAly totally created the concept of the Background. that is all her work. I’m just hanging on her coat-tails by trying to take my thoughts to the end by adding on the idea that men are not privy to the background. I don’t think she mentioned that

FCM - May 6, 2011

yes, i know what you meant! if you made that leap, it was a good one. an excellent one in fact.

22. KatieS - May 6, 2011

Reading this post is something akin to experiencing love. Seriously.

Here’s one thing it brought to mind. I recently took an Oral Interpretation of Literature class. Oral Interpretation of Lit consists of dramatic readings/presentations of various types of literature, chosen by the performer, combined, edited, crafted to carry a message.

There were mostly males in the class. I felt absolutely steamrollered by the raw intensity of the hatred of and violence toward women expressed by many of the men in their performances. The fact that it was drama seemed to give permission for these kinds of presentations, for the males present to choose misogynist works.

One of the conclusions I drew is that these presentations reveal men as emotionally barren predators. The primary ways to be dramatic that they could conjure up were:

1. to caricature women in stereotypical ways that were supposed to be humorous, but was just vacant of any real content (vapid put-down humor)
2. to recount the damage done to them by women (victim drama), like the women who didn’t want to date them in high school
3. to express violence toward women–presenting it as an unfocused but also unfettered rage of some sort, with little real motivation to justify that level of intensity
4. to present other males as violent toward each other (duh!)
5. to present some emotionally sappy stuff about sports teams/heroes, some trite hero-worship deal

Although there were a few sensitive performances by some of the less testosterone-challenged males, there was not one by a male that portrayed a woman in an emotionally-rich, nuanced way as a complex, intelligent being in her own right. Yet, in my experience women are far more complex, intelligent, nuanced, and emotionally-rich than males, who, at best, mimic these things.

It was clear that this set up a hostile environment for those few women in the class when it came to performing. To our credit, and to a woman, each of us did a fine job despite this.

However, I believe that the hostile environment had something to do with the literature the women chose to perform. I think that we were wont to hold back in ways that we likely would not have if this were not a hostile environment. It wasn’t obvious “shuffling” but that element was there.

Despite the hostility expressed toward us as women, we were still able to present complex, nuanced, emotionally varied characters and literature, both female and male.

If a being from another planet were to view this, they could but shake their head in wonder at how MAAB’s were so stunted/stoopid/silly.

I recently bought the Joanna Russ book and am eager to read it.

23. FCM - May 7, 2011

katie, i am sorry your comment got lost in the shuffle! things are busy around here today with the new blog etc. but i wanted to tell you how much i appreciated this:

Reading this post is something akin to experiencing love. Seriously.

amazing. thank you! i hope you enjoy the book!

24. Creating women’s culture | Radfem Hub - June 16, 2011

[…] by two posts, On Feminist Writing, and I’m tired of Being the Token Woman, I’ve been thinking about what it would take […]


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