27 jun. 2011

From an Old Review

Here is an example from a review I wrote of John Wilcox's book on Spanish women's poetry. John is a friend of mine, and the review was positive, but I found a problem:
When Wilcox affirms that "In their early work Champourcin and Méndez express desire in a way that is distinct from a Guillén or a Lorca" (95), or that "Champourcin's expression of sensuality is distinct from that of her male counterparts" (96), he gives me the momentary impression that he believes that all male writers belong to a monolithic "androcentric" tradition. Without
a more nuanced view of the mainstream tradition, it is difficult to delineate the specificity of women's writing.

Obviously, Guillén and Lorca do not express desire in the same way, and not merely because Guillén is heterosexual. Do Concha Méndez and Ernestina Champourcin express desire differently from Lorca? (yes) From Guillén (yes). Do they express desire and sensuality differently from each other? Quite possibly yes. Wouldn't be also be likely to find the same ample spectrum of attitudes among women poets as we do among male? If men are not the same as other men, they cannot be the same as women either. But women cannot be the same as women either. So called "difference feminism" creates two monoliths at odds with each other, rather that two overlapping groups with great internal variety.

3 comentarios:

Clarissa dijo...

Gender essentialism has triumphantly reconquered feminist criticism somewhere in the early nineties. Until feminist theory turns away from its current "men are rational, women are animalistic" slogans, it will only serve the goals of reaffirming the patriarchal gender binaries.

Shedding Khawatir dijo...

"So called "difference feminism" creates two monoliths at odds with each other, rather that two overlapping groups with great internal variety."

This would also be a great quote if you substituted "difference feminism" with any number of other identities people like to assume are binary, such as "East-West differences" or "conservative-liberal differences".

Jonathan dijo...

You're right. It would do multiple duty.