Womens Writing The Powe And Th

2159 words - 9 pages

Women's Writing: The Power and the Passion "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." Janis Joplin In the last thirty years we have seen a real emergence, divergence and development of feminist writing. Like any writing we care to label or group together there are elements that are worthy of further academic enquiry. In this essay I will be examining what constitutes the politics aspects of modern women's writing - in other words what is political about women's writing? Women's choice, equality and expression have been repressed through various positions of power and distribution of ideas, which have been dominated by men. Cultural institutions such as capitalism, the church and government laid down rules and barriers for women, which they have had to battle against. One of the benefits coming out of this ongoing battle for feminists was the expression of ideas through writing. Through ongoing repression (at any, or all levels) winning any rights for women has been political process - formulation and expression of ideas, debating demonstrating, raising public awareness etc. Women have had to an up hill battle to have their writing published due to publishing houses reluctance to take a commercial risk on a new style(s) of writing. Publishers have also had to consider the divergence between academic and literary writing and the fact that "Jill average" on the street may be more interested in popular fiction than groundbreaking women's writing. According to Toril Moi, " 'Feminist criticism', … is a specific kind of political discourse: a critical and theoretical practise committed to the struggle against patriarchy and sexism, not simply a concern for gender in literature…" (Moi, 1989, p117) and goes on to state, "As a political discourse feminist criticism takes its raison d'etre from outside of criticism itself. It is a truism, but it still needs to be said that not all books written by women on women writers exemplify anti-patriarchal commitment." (Ibid, p120). As Moi goes on to point out, a good deal of women's writing does not fit into this definition. The often-cited Mills & Boon is the opposite of what feminist women's writing seeks to address the reader with. Male dominance and females swooning, Mills & Boon offers escapist reading if nothing else. But Mills & Boon books remain political in itself, as it still presents a challenge to feminists in their agenda of eliminating patriarchal dominance within society. Although the American-centric feminist theories call for equal access to society, French feminist philosophy believes that language itself is the area of study most worthy of feminine inquiry. It is the very divisiveness of women's writing - Anglo, French, Radical, Lesbian, Black etc that in itself women's writing at least at a academic level will seem to remain political. People are also often at odds with a feminist theorum of equality and togetherness yet also an exclusiveness that (like any...

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