Monday, August 01, 2005

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



Blogger Sanketh said...


5:12 pm  
Blogger m. said...

*thwack!* dont rub it in dude :(( ...the silence IS deafening but i firmly refuse to be deterred!
(i must say im amazed though: i was super excited and bursting with ideas when i read this stuff. evidently im back to being 0.0001% of the population sample :p)

3:09 am  
Blogger Sanketh said...

do what i usually do. play to the audience. i'd write about anjelina jolie. so you can pick the male equivalent or something.

a one line post would do:

Anjelina Jolie... woooooooo!


10:55 pm  
Blogger Sriram K said...

That is very interesting. Never have I noticed such fine differences, and more importantly how they signify a societal tendency. An eye opener, indeed.

12:33 am  
Blogger m. said...

@ sanketh: thanks but no thanks! :p :)

@ sriram: yup! a lot of feminist writing is like that. you go "!!!" mentally, and sit up with a jerk and start wondering about sooo many things you didnt bother questioning before :)

8:08 am  

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