vol 20 - 1994

How do women get the authority to speak when, to repeat Susan Gubar's deployment of Cora Kaplan's brilliant formulation, "All feminisms give some ideological hostage to femininities and are constructed through the gender sexuality of their day as well as standing in opposition to them"? This issue of Feminist Studies comes together around themes of voice, identity, and historical moment. Four articles explore these themes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, adding rich new perspectives about these pivotal eras which continue to set the terms for many current debates. Others bring the tensions within feminism and among women into more contemporary contexts.

We take a certain delight in noting the "political incorrectness" of Susan Gubar's, "Feminist Misogyny: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Paradox of 'It Takes One to Know One,'" which offers a revisionistic reading of Mary Wollstonecraft as a feminist misogynist. Feminists, after all, have always gotten into difficulty for being politically troublesome. What Gubar underlines is a tension within feminist practice. Because the category of woman has been constructed by a patriarchal social discourse, feminists almost by definition resist, attack, and deny this social construction of "femininity." Gubar's piece picks at this "ideological hostage" knot and illuminates the problem that still needs resolution today: How can feminists critique the gender ideology of their society without standing in opposition to "women" and "femininities"?


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Susan Gubar
Feminist Misogyny: Mary Wollstonecraft
and the Paradox of "It Takes One to
Know One"

Lenard R. Berlanstein
Women and Power in Eighteenth-Century France:
Actresses at the Comédie-Française

Jane E. Kromm
The Feminization of Madness in
Visual Representation

Amy Robinson
Authority and the Public Display of
Wonderful Adventures of
Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands

Opal Palmer Adisa
Bathroom Graffiti Series (Poetry)
Listen to streaming audio

Julie Kane
Letter from Laura Cereta: Brescia, 1488 (Poetry)

Sylvia Bowerbank and Dolores Nawagesic Wawia
Literature and Criticism by Native and
Métis Women in Canada
(Review Essay)

Rosemarie Garland Thomson
Redrawing the Boundaries of Feminist
Disability Studies
(Review Essay)

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