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So...let's talk about Genderists?

So this is a really interesting speech and I love that it's about *words.* And Joss supplies "genderist" as an analog to "racist" to contextualize, to acknowledge this whole history up until "we realized it was wrong"--and, here's the thing, HISTORY ISN'T LIKE THAT.

Lemme back up a sec.

The more and more reading I do the more I realize that history is utterly constructed. (This is me saying the obvious. Imma gonna do that a lot.) Twentieth century narratives were constructed in reaction to the nineteenth century (look how much we've improved!) which were constructed in reaction to the eighteenth century (REVOLUTIONDEATHANARCHYSEXOHMYGOD) which was constructed in reaction to the seventeenth century (....REVOLUTIONDEATHANARCHYSEXOHMYGOD!!!!!), etc. etc. But within each and everyone of those centuries you also have women who are fighting the status quo and there are men championing them too and then you have something like a dam opening up and then teabaggers making more laws. It's basically like BSG on repeat, constantly.

And right now, I know so many good guys who are feminists and who are smart, and who also total enable the problem. (Seriously, the older I get the more I totally think that separating the sexes is just the best off for sanity.) And they don't see themselves as enabling the problem at all. (I'm not sure if Joss is one or not. That'll require more time and reflection than I have today.)

Anyways, I wanted to think and rant. There you go.


( 6 comments — Add your .02 )
Nov. 7th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
I am making note of your wise comments, and considering if I feel like expending emotional energy on watching the video.
Nov. 7th, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC)
The video/speech itself is as entertaining as it is thought-provoking, for what it's worth. Jezebel also has a partial transcription here".
Nov. 7th, 2013 08:48 pm (UTC)
My biggest problem as a medievalist is that we don't acknowledge that what is feminism in the 20th/21st century doesn't map to what is feminism in the 14th/15th/16th. And that sometimes women who are writing then about their concerns as women aren't doing it for 20th/21st century feminist reasons, because the centuries of intervening re-evaluation and construction and whatever hasn't happened yet. And then you get random people in your classes that want to ignore the more interesting discussion of gender to push it as a "feminist foremother text" or something.

Except for Christine de Pisan. I will totally and unabashedly call her a feminist in the modern sense. That woman was badass.

Edited at 2013-11-07 08:48 pm (UTC)
Nov. 7th, 2013 09:19 pm (UTC)
I'll add to this that I am troubled when women writing in the feminist mode of their day (particularly women during the Renaissance or even more recently like Mary Wollstonecraft) are identified by feminists now as "proto-feminists" -- which implies, to me, a linear approach to feminist theory that kind of erases the ongoing issues in current feminism (the resistance to intersectionality being a huge one right off the top of my head) or even sometimes legitimizes them.
Nov. 7th, 2013 09:44 pm (UTC)
I also think the blanket issue is one of applying theory to a text, rather than taking the individual texts and modes into account.

(Sideways, I'm starting to think of a lot of literary theory as the Equation Model of Scholarship: "Apply Theory A to Text B for the Creation of Reading C.")

I also think that, historically, we tend to be taught a history of linear progression that doesn't always quite work. For instance, women's reading always seems to be discovered, then forgotten, then rescued, then forgotten again, then restored.. I don't think you can make a genuine case, for instance, that today's history of women's writing is necessarily better than that of 20 years ago, despite a plethora of wonderful books and such, simply because it remains outside of the canon/common area of discourse. In short, some histories are kind of like loop-de-loops, with ebbs and flows.

I hope all that makes sense...I started off in one place and ended up in another...
Nov. 7th, 2013 10:01 pm (UTC)
It makes sense! And I think maybe it's a tool (un)consciously used to actually keep women (and other non-white-male) voices out of the canon -- because the argument is always that longevity + merit is what creates the canon but if we keep having to "re"discover works by women or anyone else, then, well, those works lack longevity, right? We don't have to take them SERIOUSLY because they couldn't possibly be INFLUENTIAL.

Oh, man, all of my class and gender and queer theory rage just came to a pinhead in that last sentence!
( 6 comments — Add your .02 )

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