vol 15 - 1989

This issue of Feminist Studies highlights the complexities facing feminists as both “insiders” and “outsiders.” Those belonging to a particular race or culture are often forced to confront the racism or sexism of U.S. culture, and those who work from without must be keenly aware of the dangers of cultural appropriation. As Alicia Ostriker eloquently testifies in her prose poem, "I am and am not a Jew. I am a Jew in the sense that every drop of blood in my veins is Jewish.... But I'm not a Jew, I can't be a Jew, because Judaism repels me as a woman." Christine St. Peter expresses a different kind of ambivalence in her analysis of a white woman's volume of native American tales. She acknowledges that North American whites have "a long and sorry history of exploiting native lore served up as exotica to gullible searchers after religious experience in a sterile world" but concludes by finding Anne Cameron's mythmaking book 'both defensible and useful."

Feminists are now engaged in examining the assumptions and prejudices we carry with us from the past, which necessarily affect our present and our future—as well as our interpretation of that past. Margaret Soltan examines her academic reification of nineteenth-century prostitutes in contrast to present-day attitudes toward prostitutes; she concludes that women can never be wholly analytic but must participate in "the cruelty of cultural narrative." Susan S. Lanser's careful rereading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's well-known "The Yellow Wallpaper" reveals a racist subtext unnoticed by prior white, middle-class, feminist critics, who have read the story as a triumph for Gilman and a centerpiece in a feminist literary canon. If Lanser demonstrates the pervasiveness of racism in the past and the present, Cheryl Townsend Gilkes reminds us that we have yet to accept the challenge black women in America present to both the "dominant cultural definitions of womanhood and to feminist theory." Yet, as she argues, a willingness to admit our differences and to accept the complexities of our inheritance can be radically invigorating.




Susan S. Lanser
Feminist Criticism, "The Yellow Wallpaper,"
and the Politics of Color
in America

Mary H. Moran
Collective Action and the
"Representation" of African Women:
A Liberian Case Study

Cassandra Laity
H.D. and A.C. Swinburne: Decadence
and Modernist Women's Writing

Julia Emberley and Donna Landry
Coverage of Greenham and Greenham
As "Coverage"

Christine St. Peter
"Woman's Truth" and the Native
Tradition: Anne Cameron's

Daughters of Copper Woman

Saskia Grotenhuis
Women's Studies in The Netherlands:
A Successful Institutionalization?

Alicia Ostriker
Entering the Tents

Linda Nochlin
Zuka's French Revolution: A Woman's
Place Is Public Space
(an Art Essay)

Margaret Soltan
The Lost Narrative of the Lost Woman

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes
Dual Heroisms and Double Burdens:
Interpreting Afro-American Women's
Experience and History
(a Review Essay)

Gay L. Gullickson
Feminists and Suffragists: The British
and French Experiences
(a Review Essay)

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