Wednesday, August 31, 2005

equality vs liberation.

Someone wrote to me some time back – one of those folks who claim that feminism is an irrational rant, and that men are the ones who are discriminated against. (For any further explanation on that head, sorry – youll have to question this species yourself!) why, they demanded triumphantly, do feminists never fight to be in the army? At the time I was too impatient to say much beyond this:

1. factually incorrect. There are feminist movements demanding that women be allowed into the armed forces.

2. I personally am for peace: violence is always a last option, and even then, it is not a solution. so I wouldn’t ever fight for access to violence – for man or woman.

Lets toss some ideas around shall we….

Lets start with the same army issue. Feminism is often open to a lot of misinterpretation because there is no one spokeswoman, no one definition. In this army issue too, there are different stands amongst the feminists. These are the two main camps-

One group of feminists thinks the right to defend and protect should be a feminist cause. Only first class citizens are allowed to defend their state and protect it. Their contention therefore, is that women should not be denied this privilege and treated as second class citizens simply because of their sex. Another angle is that women should protect women and children, and not allow it to be a male prerogative (breaking the habit of learned helplessness). Which indisputably does make sense.

The other group of feminists thinks that since the army is such a patriarchy stronghold, women cannot survive in the army without trying to play by the system – and when a woman slaps her thigh, mocks ten subordinates with sexual innuendos and helps to beat up a prisoner to show that shes as “ballsy” as any male soldier, she is doing herself and womenkind a lot of harm. The stories of the army’s ill treatment of women, of the kind of humiliation that women suffer in the armed forces are beyond count. So this camps contention is “are we liberated just because we can be as brutal as men?” While we may gain equality that way, liberation is still a far cry.

It is sad that for most of us, the feminine principle is only defined around the masculine: we simply look at the masculine and say yeah, everything that’s not like that is feminine. And so women remain the “other sex”. Unimportant, and not worthy of thought.

Even people who are liberal and progressive, speak of giving women “the same rights of men”. When are we going to stop and look at what women are entitled to in their own right?! This may seem like nitpicking, because when you look at gender neutral stuff like the right to education or religion, then this attitude doesn’t seem to particularly handicap the women, right? But consider something like reproductive health, contraception, birth control, abortion, safe sex, pregnancy and motherhood - all these intrinsically female concerns get ignored.

Patriarchy, while affecting women the most, also has its damaging effects on men. Women have been methodically taught to hate their bodies, that anything natural is ugly. That’s not news. But men are taught this too, and everyday in increasing doses. This morning I saw a tube of fairness cream for men. Ah-a! Welcome to our world. Now they too can spend heaps of money, time and effort to no avail, trying desperately to match up to unrealistic stereotypes. Now were all equal….. and in chains together.

nope. even if it were real, equality is no substitute for liberation.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

arbit blah 4

madras airport has an absolutely hilarious notice :

For personal inconvenience please contact airport manager

can you imagine the conversation?!

Passenger: i wanted to ask you about this "personal inconvenience"....
Airport Manager: of course ma'm, would you like it mid flight or right from now? we even have different nuisances...

i LOVE this city!! :D


the story behind the stories

twice or three times a week, i wake up ridiculously early and go for my class. on the way, i see a heart warming sight - all the newspaper delivery boys gather under the flyover with their sheaves of papers and settle down for a brisk round of work. as the hands fly, inserting advertisement pamphlets and notices into the bundles, there is much cheerful bantering.

most of them are rather young boys, so they look like many gnomes , squatting in the dim light, chattering and deftly working the mornings magic for us unappreciative late risers. the first time i saw these gnomes, it was a dark cloudy dawn, with a brisk wind blowing. each time there was a gust, the older boys would plonk a practised elbow on the bundles near them, while the younger ones went scampering after the newspapers that had swirled away. as they gave chase, the comfortably settled squatters would call out to tease a not-so-adept chaser, or shout excitedly about a bunch of papers that had managed to get quite far. there was so much simple merriment and enjoyment of such an ordinary task - it was a refreshingly cheerful sight!

isnt it nice to know theres such a buzzing happy world even behind our banal papers with their sordid headlines? Calvin was right - there is treasure everywhere!

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Farewell to Miss Pushpa!

I remember in school (before they revised the syllabus) there used to be this poem called Farewell to Miss Pushpa – it was about a lady leaving and how several people wish her well and say bye, but each of em would say something funny. Last night was like that – a potentially sad farewell turned hilarious!

(This is absolutely true. Cross my heart!)

The last of my school buddies left last night to Iowa. We were (naturally) going to spend the night in her house until it was time to go to the airport. B and I got there by 730, and then got a call from S saying she was done with work, so we went to IIT to pick her up.

We agreed to meet at Gajendra circle. Got there at the agreed time, and sure enough, there was S standing with the others from her office. One of her companions was a firang. Mind you, he looked ordinary enough – a mild chap, with glasses gleaming intelligently. In fact as soon as I saw him I was reminded of Rupert Baxter – he gave the impression of being the sort around whom you don’t kid too much or make small talk before.

We drove out of IIT and asked where we could drop the firang off. The man said he would take a rick and get to his hotel. B, being the nice dope he is, insisted on dropping him. So we asked for the name of the hotel….. Believe it or not, the guy didn’t know!

I turned around in my seat and stared at him. “How were you planning to get to the hotel by yourself? dyou know the name of the area?”. Our man (Rupert Baxter the second) looks at me sheepishly and says, “well you know, I know the directions to the place, so I was planning on telling the rick how to get there?” B nodded understandingly and smiled in the rear mirror and said, “so where do I go?”

RB II said. “you know, now that were actually outside the Eye-Eye-Tee, im finding it kinda hard.. im not quite sure…”. I blinked in disbelief. Not only does the man not know what his hotel’s called or where it is, he doesn’t even remember the route he came by! This seemed very promising…

And sure enough, from there started the most bizarre evening ive had in a long time. Every wild idea I got that I thought would help us locate his hotel, I would spin around and ask him questions for. “Dyou remember if it was an Indian name or a western name?” “What was the colour of the name board?” “ Did you get a look at the logo? Are you carrying a tissue or a matchbox from there?” The CBI tactics revealed that

  1. He had paid 80 bucks to get from his hotel to iit. (which was saying nothing cos the auto guy may have well made a sucker of him)
  2. The auto driver told him it was a distance of 5 kms (ditto)
  3. There was a ramp leading to the main road –“kinda steep, you know?” (!!)

We racked our brains. Where the hell could this be! Then ti-ding! The picture of Ramada Inn popped into my head - “A steep ramp? Was there a fountain as well?” And he says yes. We zipped excitedly to Ramada Inn. Five minutes away from there, he added that the accommodation wasn’t very expensive, only around 600 bucks a night. Ahem. For that much, Ramada Inn probably would not let you sleep even in the lobby!… but what better bet did we have? We went there anyway, and he took one look at the place and rejected it. So much for the bright spark. We drove back again, discussing possibilities and tossing ideas.

By this time, I was sort of losing my temper… what sort of a dingbat goes about dumping his stuff in a hotel he doesn’t bother finding out the name, location or address of?! Sheesh. B and S were remarkably calm, with B insisting that we’d find the hotel before going on with our plans. Me, I was torn between irritation and a desire to burst out laughing.

As uncharitable thoughts flitted in my head, we reached Thiruvika bridge. RB II took a look at the Adyar flyover, pointed and exclaimed with great excitement that this was the kind of really steep ramp that hed come by. I looked at B speechlessly “ramp? This dudes from a first world country and he doesn’t know a flyover from a ramp?” B carefully refrained from comment, probably knowing that I was mighty close to voicing my acid thoughts. Teetering on the brink of losing my temper I decided, what the hell, I might as well enjoy myself. I turned around and sweetly told RB II that maybe he should start chain smoking or something, so at least the next time he’d have a matchbox on him. S, sitting behind me gave a small choke as she hastily fudged a laugh into a cough.

Further investigations revealed that the night guards at IIT had recommended the place, and that the mutt had left his passport at the hotel, so he simply had to find the hotel since couldn’t even check into another place for the night without it. B suggested that we just go back and ask the IIT guards. Helpful mood that I was in by then, I flippantly suggested that the shift may have changed (:d)

We sped to IIT. Now, of the four of us, I was the only one who could speak fluent tamil. So I went for a general pow-wow with the guards at the entrance. I don’t blame em one bit – they listened to my story and looked at me like I was an escaped lunatic. I was also starting to giggle during my narration, but I hastily killed all signs of amusement when the security peered at me suspiciously to see if I was drunk or something. When he decided I was in earnest, he started being properly Official. He asked about each of the occupants of the car, our ancestry, our life plans, the greatest mystery of the universe and so on. I finally tore myself away from him to return to a car sprouting 3 hopeful faces asking the same question “Pah you took so long! Did you find out?”

So finally RB II insisted that we carry on and that he’d find his way. We dropped our hero at the exit gate, put him in an auto and burst into conversation. After I had given them my roaring estimate of his intelligence, S meekly said that he was from this really big college (this used to be Feynman land if you please..) – had been working there for the last 5 years. Good grief! The man was infinitely better educated than I was…so much for schooling. (and so much for the deceptive Rupert Baxterish image!)

Anyway. We went to our friends house, chatted, sped to the airport, had a long and hilarious farewell session. And as we passed IIT, each time we’d stop all conversation and peep out of the window looking to spot RB II hunting for his mysterious hotel! He still hasn’t called S today…

Im so sure even after he is gone I shall generally expect to see a black shirted blue jeans-ed figure swooping among the trees looking for the lost hotel! Who knows…. this could become a tourist attraction (pun unintended)! :d

Exasperating as he was last night, I now feel rather grateful to RB II – he provided an absolutely memorable and amusing angle to an evening which could have otherwise been rather depressing!

Ps: were still guessing which hotel it could have been…Our last bet was Woodlands. So what’s your brainwave eh? :)


Sunday, August 14, 2005

mangal pandey

After 4 years I went to a theatre again to see a movie. “Mangal pandey?…. Oh, sepoy revolt? Lets go no!” and after my friends had hitched their jaws back up, we went to see what bollywood had to say about the revolt.

The movie provides a good opportunity for an exercise in deconstruction - here are 5 things that I found extremely interesting. (oh – don’t read this if you don’t want to hear bits of the story! :))

  1. the courtesans story: it was one of those boring certainties in life. Some stereotypes will never change. the main courtesan has to be a bosomy woman wearing a low cut bodice. She has to try to look “easternly exotic” – you look at her role, and its so obvious that shes the embodied fantasy of the westerner. The point of view is unmistakable.

Anyway, the courtesans role starts at a slave market, where she is eventually bought and brought to a brothel. A white man and woman watch the proceedings, the woman is (poor delicate darling) shocked and sickened by what she sees, so she shudders and turns away, doing precisely nothing to help her fellow being. Another stereotype successfully reinforced : women will be sensitive, be moved by the horrors around them, and run home to weep and carry on with their daily routine. Theres no question of reacting and asserting themselves.

As for the courtesan, she carefully lives up to her stereotype: she is a rebellious independent spirit at the slave market who suddenly and bewilderingly undergoes a radical personality change – to the extent that she willingly takes on the lead role in dancing before and sleeping with the clients of the brothel. Another lesson quietly reinforced: accept your fate. Especially if its decided by the men around you.

  1. sathi: theres a tall, fair and pukka sahib character, who despite being british, doesn’t like the east India companys politics and is properly pro- the underdogs. Of course there has to be a scene where he has to rescue a woman whos been asked to sit on the funeral pyre with her husband! What was so boring about it was that the woman was (predictably?) a wilting slender damsel in distress, good looking by current bollywood norms. (no prizes for guessing that the hero gradually comes to fall in love with her) I suppose it would have been taxing the hero too much, and emphasising the concept too strongly to show a fat ordinary looking woman being rescued - but how id cheer to see it! It was also hilarious to note that the hero was to be praised for living in constant danger and braving the blood thirsty villagers because he was harbouring a sathi widow in his house, but that she could all the same run out and join the community naach during holi!
  1. the appearance factor in the whole movie was so strikingly inane. Good looking damsels in distress. The british head who was callous and wanted to kill the Indian sepoys had stick-out teeth and a walrus moustache, while the pukka sahib was a fair, pale galahad. Mangal pandey as the main character was a bulging biceps guy while none of the other soldiers looked quite as muscular. The main courtesan was heavily made up and wearing tons of jewellery even when her colleagues were simply dressed. The list continues….

  1. caste politics: I really didn’t expect to see this botched up so badly. I mean the movie hinges on the caste politics which reject the use of animal fat in the weaponry as being adharmic. Mangal our man bites the cartridge and is then overcome with shame when the sepoys discover that animal fat has been used. He sits alone, fuming and stops another sepoy from touching saying that he, mangal, has become untouchable. The sepoys in a dramatic display of open mindedness take the stance of “what the hell buddy, we all did it too, so its cool right?”. EH?! We are talking a time when casteism was at its peak, thanks very much.

  1. the last scene was the most interesting one in the whole movie. Other than heralding the end of 2 hours of undiluted rubbish, it also made (probably unintentionally) a scathing comment on Indian team spirit and hero worship. Mangal pandey tries to rally the regiment to fight the british, but they all back out. Abandoned by his comrades, mangal doesn’t give up – he kills how many ever brit soliders he can and then is captured. You would think the regiment would be done with mangal after that ditching. But no. they turn out in full force, tears in their eyes that he is about to be hung. They stand around, pushing for a closer view as the man is led to the noose. Mangal pandey has no attention to spare for them. He smiles at the only honourable friend he has had – the pukka sahib. And he dies. And then suddenly from nowhere, his regiment buddies find the courage and spirit to push past the barriers and start rioting. If the mutts had managed that around 3 seconds earlier, they may have even sprung the man and saved his life. but no. they let him die and then weep and make him a martyr.

It was a superbly stinking commentary on our social politics, and about the only intelligent part of the whole story.

The movie was a complete disappointment. Short of the cast turning to the camera and saying “do I look nice?” the movie was totally self conscious that it had to be a hit. It was so contrived and incredibly absurd at times. I also found it insulting that the makers of the movie thought we, the audience, are so stupid that some 2 corny feel good scenes would make us swallow unlimited trash, and stir up patriotic fervour. Do we seem that dumb and gullible?

Its going to be a long, long time before I can muster the enthu to go see a movie again!


Monday, August 01, 2005

and so it goes.

You’d have noticed a most critical work is missing in this write up. Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” written in ……1792! The reason is that im still awed by the feat. The sheer progressiveness of such a book, the kind of resistance the author would have to deal with from the moment of conception of such a work is mind boggling. Hers was the first feminist work – she buried the seed for the movement which was to sprout and grow only a 135 years later. If youre a woman and you're literate: please - write write write!

I have left out huge chunks of this fantastic book (S/T P), because as I said earlier, I was overwhelmed by the scope of information it gave! I do hope you can get your hands on this book to read it some time (not to mention all the other wonderful writing on which this is based).

so that concludes the dash through feminist literature. i gather you folks werent wildly excited readin it, but i must say i was grinning happily whenever i was writing it! talk about awesome ideas for a life time... have a nice weekend all :)

Sexual/Textual Politics

Sexual/Textual Politics - the beginning of feminist writing

Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellman

Images of women

And so it goes


images of women

And so, on to images of women! This is a branch of feminist criticism. It all started with a collection of essays called “Images of Women in Fiction: A Feminist Perspective”, edited by Susan Koppelman Cornillon.

In her introduction to the book explaining the need for such a book, Cornillon says “… books that would study literature as being writings about people. … These essays lead us into fiction and them back out again into reality, into ourselves and our own lives. This book will be a useful tool for raising consciousness…”

Feminist literary studies link literature to life, particularly to the lived experience of the reader. These women introduced a feminist contention that no criticism is “value-free”. All we speak, is from a specific position shaped by cultural, social, political and personal factors. It is authoritarian and manipulative to present this limited perspective as “universal”. That remains one of the fundamental assumptions of any feminist critic to date.

Toril Moi goes on to deal with women’s writing and writing about women in depth. In the late 1970s, there were 3 major studies on women writers, which are seen as part of a specifically female literary tradition or “sub-culture”.

The studies are:

  1. Ellen Moers – “Literary Women” (1976)
  2. Elaine Showalter – “A Literature of Their Own” (1977)
  3. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar – “The Madwoman in the Attic” (1979).

These 3 works represented the coming of age of Anglo American feminist criticism. Moi says of them “For these critics, it is in other words society, not biology, that shapes women’s different literary perception of the world”.

Of the three, I think (I cannot recall with certainty) it was Showalter’s work that was especially significant to feminist literary criticism. She explains women’s literature’s stages as:

“First there is a prolonged phase of irritation of the prevailing modes of the dominant tradition, and internalisation of its standards of art and its views on social roles. Second, there is a phase of protest against these standards and values, and advocacy of minority rights and values, including a demand for autonomy. Finally, there is a phase of self-discovery, a turning inward freed from some of the dependency of opposition, a search for identity. An appropriate terminology for women writers is to call these stages, “Feminine”, “Feminist”, and “Female”

The Feminine period was when male pseudonyms were used – from the 1840s, until George Eliot died in 1880. The Feminist period is from 1880 to 1920, and from thereon, the Female period started. In the 1960s there was a new dimension to women’s literature as it became more significant to the women’s movement. This period continues now.

In “The Madwoman in the Attic”, Gilbert and Gubar spoke of the sudden spate of literature wherein there was a woman who was mad. They declare “To be selfless is not only to be noble, it is to be dead.” (hear hear!). To be able to express themselves and voice their thoughts honestly, the authors had to create a “mad” woman since society wouldn’t countenance such thoughts being those of perfectly sane, intelligent women.

The “mad double” is a common factor in all the 19th century novels studied in this work. The madwoman, like Bertha Mason (Jane Eyre by Bronte) is

“Usually in some sense the author’s double, an image of her anxiety and rage. Indeed, much of the poetry and the fiction written by women conjures up this mad creature so that female authors can come to terms with their own uniquely female feelings of fragmentation, their own sense of the discrepancies between what they are and what they are supposed to be”.

Mary Jacobus criticised Gilbert and Gubar saying that their recognition of only anger as a positive signal of feminist consciousness was also reductionist.

Sexual/Textual Politics

Sexual/Textual Politics - the beginning of feminist writing

Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellman

Images of women

And so it goes


Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellmann

Katherine M Roger’s work was much less talked about, though it was equally important. She explored the history of sexism in literature. She explained the cultural reasons for misogyny as being–

a rejection of or guilt about sex

a reaction against the idealisation with which men have glorified women (eg. as mothers)

patriarchal feeling: the wish to keep women subject to men.

Mary Ellmann’s work “Thinking About Women” followed in 1968. She said “I am interested in women as words.”

Her work was the basic source for the “images of women” criticism (which is brilliant!). She spoke of how Western culture at all levels is permeated by sexual analogy. She said that there is a “tendency to classify all experience by means of sexual analogy”. Ordinarily, not only sexual terms, but also sexual opinions are imposed upon the external world. She drew the 11 major stereotypes of femininity as presented by male writers and critics. (since I can’t resist giving you a sneak preview of that here it is! – formlessness, passivity, instability, confinement, piety, materiality, spirituality, irrationality, compliancy, the Witch, the Shrew)

In Sexual Politics, there’s a nice illustration of how we accord male voices more importance than female voices. Pil Dahlerup was writing about a critic reviewing Cecil Bodker’s poetry, and he used words like “charming” and “sweet” for women’s poetry, and “serious” and “significant” for men’s. (ouch)

Sexual/Textual Politics

Sexual/Textual Politics - the beginning of feminist writing

Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellman

Images of women

And so it goes


Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Moving to 1969 and Kate Millett’s book.

Millett was the first to define and bring focus to the term “sexual politics”. Her work is seen in three parts: sexual politics, its historical background, and the literary reflection of such politics.

Millett’s book paved the way for the 70s’ feminism. She opposed the prevailing critics, and insisted that social and cultural contexts must be studied if literature were to be properly understood. The critics up to then had maintained that the Author was the Authority. (aren’t those two words interesting! their roots are nicely twined) Until Millett’s bold assertion, the author was not questioned or even disagreed with! Doesn’t that really make you sit up and gawp?! The liberty, which we so automatically claim now, was actually only that recently granted.

According to Millett, this conflict between the reader and the author exposes the premises of the author’s work. The prevailing image of the reader until then was of being primarily passive/feminine, since the reader was basically the unquestioning recipient of authoritarian discourse.

She says sexual dominion is the most pervasive ideology of our culture and provides its most fundamental concepts of power. She asserts “The essence of politics is power”. The ruling sex maintains and extends its power over subordinate sex. This process is pervasive throughout cultural life.

She also speaks about love, saying “Both the courtly and the romantic versions of love are “grants”, which the male concedes out of his total power. Both have had the effect of obscuring the patriarchal character of Western culture and in their general tendency to attribute impossible virtues to women, have ended up by confirming them in a narrow and often conscribing sphere of behaviour.”

Millett’s work was certainly a significant milestone in feminist literature, and did much to bridge the gap between the academic struggle and the actual fight in the trenches for women’s rights, but her work was also criticised on several counts.

Later feminists like Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose supported the Freudian theory, saying that sexual identity is not an in-born, biological essence. Freud’s psychoanalysis sees sexual identity as being culturally and socially constructed. (Does that remind you of Ru Paul? “We are all born naked. The rest is just drag”!)

Millett had rejected this premise completely, and ignored the fundamental Freudian insight that unconscious desire has an influence on conscious action.

Some of the important issues raised by Kate Millett and discussed by several later feminists were:

  1. her assumption that women merely have to see through the false ideology of the ruling patriarchy in order to cast it off and be free. She didn’t realise that women may internalise the standards of the oppressors, and may identify gradually with their own persecuters. (this is why it’s so confusing and difficult even now to decondition ourselves: we even think like our oppressors in so many things)
  1. she expected feminism to be fully conscious, morally and politically correct – it must know what it wanted. Feminism was however, a fledgling movement. What women wanted was full of contradictions and confusion, and entangled with what patriarchy wanted them to be or wanted for them.
  1. She pointed out male sexual violence against women as displayed in modern literature, and the male degradation of female sexuality. This was something that everyone agreed on.
  1. Millett rejected the romantic discourse in “Villette” (by Bronte) as being a purely conventional device. Later feminist critics (like Mary Jacobus) question such a stern rejection saying that only that allows for some scope in increasing sexuality and femininity of characters.
  1. In upsetting the author-text-reader hierarchy, Millett only recognised the male author! That left a huge unexplored issue as to how to treat women writers. Were readers to listen submissively to women writers, or were women to oppose even women writing? It was very confusing.

Millett ignored the female writer almost totally: by contrast, the feminist critics of the 70s and 80s focussed almost exclusively on women authors. (Which also shows how there was suddenly a profusion of women writers in that era!)

Sexual/Textual Politics

Sexual/Textual Politics - the beginning of feminist writing

Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellman

Images of women

And so it goes


S/T P - The beginning of feminist writing

Sexual/ Textual Politics – This is about the history of feminist literature : what makes it so special, and how it bridged the gap between the learned discourses written by the academia (the textual world) with the growing feminist movement (the world which was actively challenging sexual politics).

Virginia Woolf wrote “A Room of One’s Own” in 1927. That was before any “feminist” movement had started. It makes the mind boggle when we think about the quality of a mind to be able to see through social conditioning to create so timeless a work, in such a repressive era, when there wasn’t even a group of people to support her. There is so much strength we draw now from reading other feminists and knowing that there are others in the world, battling with the same restrictions, the politics, oppression and so on – we lean mentally on our community for support and draw encouragement from it. Imagine doing all that alone

This isolation was not just for a passing time – the next feminist work came only after 20 years. Simone De Beauvoir wrote about “The Second Sex” in 1949. This work was another landmark in feminist history for first voicing the contention that women were (and still are) simply regarded only as “non-male”, with no recognition of their own qualities and abilities. They are merely the other sex.

Then came:

Betty Friedman – “The Feminine Mystique” (1963)
Katherine M Rogers - “The Troublesome Helpmate” (1966)
Mary Ellman – “Thinking About Women” (1968)
Kate Millett – “Sexual Politics” (1969).

That sudden spurt in feminist literary work was because in the 1960s, the next wave of feminism had started. (After the suffragette movement, there was nothing for all those long years).

The founders of the feminist movement were actually fighting another cause. They were fighting for the rights of blacks in America, as well as campaigning against the Vietnam war. What they came to realise bitterly was that whether it was the oppressor in power, or the oppressed blacks, the women were treated like dirt and as second rate citizens by both. The strategies that were used to keep the blacks repressed, were remarkably similar to those men in general used to repress women.

So these activists upped and started the feminist movement.

Sexual/Textual Politics

Sexual/Textual Politics - the beginning of feminist writing

Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellman

Images of women

And so it goes


sexual / textual politics

This is a feminist literary critique by Toril Moi, which I read quite some time back and have been meaning to write about ever since - it is brilliant. Please note that what follows is not a review of the book: it’s simply a sprinkling of scraps.

It was so loaded with things to think about, I am still dazed by ideas this book dealt with - and I know I have only understood only a mere fraction of them! Ideally I should’ve read it over a month, unfortunately, I had to read in around 3 days: so here are simply some landmarks that caught my eye as I sped through its so-vast landscape : ) I was dying to read S/TP, and it’s very difficult to get hold of, so this post is for those of you who sought it too but weren’t as lucky, and for those of you who are generally curious about feminism and what the hell it has to say! :)

I’d also like to add that the book is a super read, but to make sense of it, you’d have to have read several feminist works since references are liberally scattered. The English and American names were ok, but the French ones were totally lost on me!

Ok. Now to brass tacks. I’m going to make this a multi post thing because there’s quite a bit, and I want to give you time to chew over each bit of the book!

So this week, we're doing a daily feature on feminist literature - welcome all!! : D

Sexual/Textual Politics

Sexual/Textual Politics - the beginning of feminist writing

Kate Millett - Sexual Politics

Katherine M Roger, Mary Ellman

Images of women

And so it goes


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