Log in

No account? Create an account
"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
A couple of quick links to check your feminist intellectual mileage. 
16th-Jun-2006 09:31 am
I've had to one too many arguments with people who parade their ignorance around like it's enlightenment. Fortunately, ignorance is 100% curable. So, for those of us who care that truth and knowledge are not always merely a matter of opinion--some choice articles and commentary to get started that shouldn't take more than a half-hour to read:

Some Theory: "Homeward Bound" by Linda Hirshman - Why there's something wrong with you if you think there's nothing wrong with women en masse opting out of work and "choosing" to become full-time homemakers.

Some Practice: "Stepping on the Harry Potter Buzz" by Jane Elliot - Why there's something wrong with you if you think there's something wrong with all the people who accuse JK Rowling of cultivating a conservative, patriarchal vision.

A Bonus Link: "Quidditch quaintness" by Richard Adams (yes, THAT Richard Adams) - Because Rowling shafts more minorities in her books than just women.

How long these articles take to digest, well, that depends, as I suggested above, on your intellectual mileage. But what you're seeing here are some impressively unimpeachable arguments, and if you're going to want to debate them effectively, you're going to have to do A LOT more reading. I'll leave that to you; I'm assuming you're at least smart enough to use a library and/or a search engine.
16th-Jun-2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
Mmm, that first article is very interesting on the "choice" of homemakers. I was always baffled by those women who get a wonderful education at some elite institution and then spend their degree...raising children? It always seemed a bit of a waste of so many years of education and money. I grew up with the firm belief that I should be proud of being a working woman and be able to support myself alone; something nags the senses when all the income comes from one person. There's too much dependence there.

Strange that in a country traditionally valuing independence and self-reliance that this isn't true for the majority of the population. I guess it also explains why there are plenty of struggling working mothers, but I never hear of a struggling working father.
16th-Jun-2006 02:26 pm (UTC)
I was always baffled by those women who get a wonderful education at some elite institution and then spend their degree...raising children?

Because you get to *ohohoh* marry a male Ivy League graduate! *rolls eyes* And if they think that's a feminist move, they have another thing coming.

Strange that in a country traditionally valuing independence and self-reliance

Gendered ideals. >_< Male, of course. When we envision the "rugged individualist," we imagine a guy, right?
16th-Jun-2006 02:18 pm (UTC)
What I’ve noticed, related to the first article, is that while all of my sisters work (two full time, one part time), they are also all stuck with the traditional female homemaker work. Their husbands, all of them, stick with the traditional male role >_< It makes me very angry to watch.....
16th-Jun-2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
Because feminism changed how (some) women think, but it did nothing to change how (most) men think. And that's the tragedy.
16th-Jun-2006 02:36 pm (UTC)

It didn’t change those three at all.. And you know, both my parents worked full time, and they largely divided up all the housework..
16th-Jun-2006 03:35 pm (UTC) - Richard Adams on JK Rowling
I only read the third piece, on which I'll comment.

I agree with most, if not all, of the points that Adams makes. That being said, however, I am compelled to point something out. As you know I have my own reasons for being keenly interested in authors and the literary scene at large. I have, in the past two years, become aware of the (rather old) flap between A.S. Byatt and Martin Amis wherein she told the press he was too highly paid, witnessed Anne Rice lambasting her Amazon critics and rather enjoyed the feeding frenzy over the downfall of Laura Albert (aka JT Leroy). I think the common thread between these things is that they're indicative of the HUGE amount of insecurity and professional jealousy in the literary community.

I had a brief e-mail correspondence with "JT Leroy" when I was promoting my book and came away deeply resenting the glib, dismissive tone of his (her) response to my query. Subsequently, I remember being suspicious of Leroy when I first saw a photo of him (her) in SPIN magazine at a promotional party for HAROLD'S END. When I questioned his (her) gender on a Yahoo GLBT reading group I belonged to, I was attacked by the members, merely heightening my resentment over someone I was beginning to suspect was a scam artist. Believe me, I was as overjoyed as the next guy when the whole thing was revealed to be a hoax. But I've since examined my elation and realize the reason I'm delighted about Albert's being exposed is largely because she found a way to get people to read her work and I didn't. And she made a success of it to boot. A HUGE success! I know it's not quite that simple, because I would never resort to those sorts of tactics (even if it was, somehow, logistically possible for me) but, basically, yeah...that's what it was. What it is. And all these other writers, the ones that she "used," like Dennis Cooper, Susie Bright and Mary Gaitskill, they were either part of the hoax (and are now cleverly distancing themselves) or are just pissed off that they were "tricked" into reading something that they otherwise would have had the luxury of blithely ignoring (one of the perks of success - the ego-stroke of the sycophants attempting to ride your coattails to fame).

About three months ago at Borders I said to my sister, as we passed yet another magazine with a scholarly article examining the JT Leroy phenomenon, "You know, the only people who care about JT Leroy's downfall are other, less successful, writers." The upshot is, although I don't disagree with Adams, I am somewhat circumspect when approaching a writer questioning the integrity of another (more successful) writer.
16th-Jun-2006 05:35 pm (UTC) - Re: Richard Adams on JK Rowling
So, in other words, he's absolutely right, but he's only speaking out 'cause he's jealous? In argumentation, I care less about people's motivations for argument and more about whether or not they advance a valid one.

And, besides, I'm not sure I agree with your premise in Adam's case. Richard Adams (of Watership Down) gets read in high school and college classes; he wrote what is legitimately a modern classic, and his gravy train came in long ago.
16th-Jun-2006 05:43 pm (UTC) - Re: Richard Adams on JK Rowling
OOPS...forgot to sign in such was my zeal to continue the discussion.

Adams may be well thought of and financially fixed, but Rowling is hugely, vastly, UNIMAGINABLY successful. It's kinda the same with A.S. Byatt and Martin Amis. They might be considered comparably successful (both Booker Prize winners and all), but despite that fact, it seems she took exception to the size of his paydays to such a degree that she was compelled to castigate him in the press about it.

As far as your first point, I can't really argue with you there. And, for the record, I've not read one HP book nor am I particularly a fan (I will cop to watching all the films on cable, however).
16th-Jun-2006 06:02 pm (UTC) - Re: Richard Adams on JK Rowling
(Arguing just because I can.) On the other hand, there are different definitions of success. Would you rather be a highly-respected writer whose work is roundly applauded by highbrow academia and critics, or do you want to be Dan Brown, rolling in dough but laughingstock of all things serious? That depends on the person. Unfortunately, the two categories seem to be mutually exclusive these days.

And, again on the other hand, what if it were some random person, say oh ME, who wrote that Guardian article? Being a writer of the former "successful" class gives him legitimacy in his argument (which really is, and since you haven't read the books just take my word for it, 100% self-evident--Harry Potter is Star Wars with wands instead of light sabers). The nobody is too easy a fall guy to rabid Harry Potter fans. At least his message of social conscience (and given his other writings, social conscience does seem to be one of his general motivations) has more of a chance of being taken seriously.

(Okay, running out of hands.) I think what REALLY irks the intellectual elite is not her success per se, but that her success is, like JT Leroy but on a more subtle level, false advertising. She claims to be feminist, she's trying to be multicultural, but her writing demonstrates that she doesn't understand the first thing about genuine multiculturalism or feminism. Compare with Stephen King, who gets the general "Well, he has his moments...*eye roll*" from those same people--he is truth in advertising for his writing (a Mainer who sets lots of stories in Maine, for example).
16th-Jun-2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
See my post for my thoughts on the first subject. ^_^ Doing my part, one male at a time!
16th-Jun-2006 05:40 pm (UTC)
*reads post* Heh. You're better than I am. My mother, at least, considers my default mode of existence at biohazard levels. If I were living with someone, either my "other" will be doing the cleaning or we'll be living in clutter. 'Cause I just don't care.

But you work! Why should you have to do the lion's share of the housework as well? (Right. Exactly.)
16th-Jun-2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
Precisely. I'll split the work 50/50, but it's not my job. At all. Especially because of my gender.

I wonder how lesbian couples handle things like that? Just to throw in a completely random mental diversion.
16th-Jun-2006 04:35 pm (UTC)
meep. you sound so scary T^T;;

*snorts* Gender roles are so embedded in our societal and cultural values, anything and everything will be seen through some kind of biased lens. Anyone arguing against those is like trying to say a chicken is like a fish.
16th-Jun-2006 04:39 pm (UTC)
those articles I mean o_O
16th-Jun-2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
meep. you sound so scary T^T;;

I've been stewing over this stuff for a few months now.
This page was loaded Jul 17th 2018, 6:59 pm GMT.