'Glossing over' feminism?: a general semantics critique.It makes sense that the term feminism would find its way into an array of glossaries, because the function of a glossary, in general, is to define and clarify difficult terms. In our culture the word "feminism" covers enough ideological, intellectual, practical, and sensational territory to stir any number of map-makers into action. A General Semantics gen·er·al semantics
n. (used with a sing. verb)
A discipline developed by Alfred Korzybski that proposes to improve human behavioral responses through a more critical use of words and symbols. glossary, with its tools of analysis (e.g., et cetera ET CETERA. A Latin phrase, which has been adopted into English; it signifies. "and the others, and so of the rest," it is commonly abbreviated, &c.
2. Formerly the pleader was required to be very particular in making his defence. (q.v. , dating, and indexing) would appear to be an excellent forum to explore the diverse philosophic systems that make up the territory of "feminisms."
In Robert Pula's first Installment of his "A General Semantics Glossary," he states, "I affirm that a pedagogical ped·a·gog·ic also ped·a·gog·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner. device designed to ameliorate the agony of students of any discipline constitutes a potentially good thing and should be attempted" (GSG GSG Grenzschutzgruppe (German: Border Protection Unit; anti-terrorist group)
GSG Global Scenario Group
GSG Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
GSG Gunslinger Girl (anime)
GSG Ground-Signal-Ground :I, 462. See references at end of article). The authors of this article agree. We have avidly read and appreciated Pula's glossary definitions. However, his all-too brief description of contemporary feminism, presented in Part XI of this series, seems more appropriate to us as an editorial, than as a glossary entry, for editorials tend to involve a greater degree of intensionality.
In order to develop a more effective extensional orientation Pula Pula (p`lä), Ital. Pola, city (1991 pop. 62,378), W Croatia, on the Adriatic and at the southern tip of the Istrian peninsula. , himself, suggests that one ask the following questions: "How do I know that? Why do I say that? What evidence might I discover, which might disconfirm what I am claiming, what I have just said?" (GSG:VIII, 225). Pula, in a manner similar to philosopher Karl Popper's technique of "critical rationalism Critical rationalism is an epistemological philosophy advanced by Karl Popper. Popper wrote about critical rationalism in his works, The Open Society and its Enemies Volume 2, and Conjectures and Refutations. " or "falsifiability Falsifiability (or refutability or testability) is the logical possibility that an assertion can be shown false by an observation or a physical experiment. That something is "falsifiable" does not mean it is false; rather, it means that it is capable of being ," suggests these questions as a means to curb the influence and errors caused by one's belief-systems. It is in this spirit, that we would like to offer a general-semantics critique of ETC ETC - ExTendible Compiler. Fortran-like, macro extendible. "ETC - An Extendible Macro-Based Compiler", B.N. Dickman, Proc SJCC 38 (1971). .'s latest glossary entry. In the process, we would also like to present to Pula, and his readers, some additional theoretical, historical, and practical "evidence" toward the enterprise of describing the field of contemporary "feminism."
One of the major areas of concern for general semantics, as well as for several trends of feminist thought, is the issue of moving beyond the traditional, either/or methods of Aristotelian categorization to a more multi-valued, and therefore "truthful," system for interpreting our world. (1) In the strong words of Pula, "if we willfully willfully adv. referring to doing something intentionally, purposefully and stubbornly. Examples: "He drove the car willfully into the crowd on the sidewalk." "She willfully left the dangerous substances on the property." (See: willful) (or stupidly) simplify a blatantly, unapologetically complex structure, we do violence to it and ourselves" (GSG:I, 463). As "general semantics-feminists" (one female and one male), the authors of this essay were surprised, then, that Pula cited Christina Hoff Sommers's controversial book, Who Stole Feminism: How Women Have Betrayed Women, as one of the two primary sources for his glossary entry on "feminism," the other being Pula's own lived experience vis-a-vis his parents and family (GSG:XI, 208-209).
Although we were intrigued and entertained by much of Sommers's book, and although we were sympathetic to some of her concerns, we found her two-dimensional method of analysis simplistic sim·plism
The tendency to oversimplify an issue or a problem by ignoring complexities or complications.
[French simplisme, from simple, simple, from Old French; see simple and far afield from the practices of a general-semantics investigation. Sommers unequivocally divides the many voices that make up the complex field of feminist criticism into two distinct, either/or camps -- "equity feminists" and "sex/gender feminists." Pula uses Sommers's binary description of feminism as the basis for his glossary definition by explaining that Sommers has provided him with two differentiating, rather than oppositional terms (GSG:XI, 209). But how do Sommers, and in turn Pula, operationally define and apply those terms?
"Equity-Feminism" vs "Sex-Gender Feminism": An Either/Or Proposition
Sommers's polarizing "equity vs sex/gender feminism" classification system echoes the age-old division of women. It attempts to divide the "good girls" (equity feminists) from the "bad ones" (sex/gender feminists) on the basis of their "sexual politics." And, in the process, this system distorts, rather than describes the terrain it endeavors to explain. Sommers identifies herself as an "equity feminist." She insists that members of this group are the direct descendants of the laudable nineteenth-century American suffragettes because they seek equal rights for all people. That is, "equity feminists" pursue equity in job and educational opportunities and reject the concept of "special treatment." In the tradition of their noteworthy ancestors, equity feminists focus their energies on the reasonable task of eliminating specific injustices that can be repaired by legal reform. Sommers states that "the equity agenda may not yet be fully achieved, but by any reasonable measure, equity feminism has turned out to be a great American success story" (Sommers, 21-22).
In contrast, Sommers dubs the "sex/gender feminists," as the "newer," "angry," fringe whose"unwholesome" and "divisive" practices constitute nothing less than "gender warfare." According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Sommers, this cadre of feminists make "war" on our society because they mistakenly believe that modern American women are still "in thrall to a system of male dominance Male dominance, or maledom, generally refers to heterosexual BDSM activities where the dominant partner is male, and the submissive partner is female. However, the term is sometimes used to refer to homosexual BDSM activities, where both partners are male and one is dominant. ... the sex/gender system" -- hence the label for this category. Sex/gender feminists insist that we must understand how male domination operates in all facets of our lives in order to rid ourselves of the oppression and discrimination of sexism. And to do this, Sommers baldly implies that all sex/gender feminists tell American women that they must "join with and be loyal only to women" (Ibid.).
During the course of her book, Sommers classifies activists and writers such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Betty Friedan Noun 1. Betty Friedan - United States feminist who founded a national organization for women (born in 1921)
Betty Naomi Friedan, Betty Naomi Goldstein Friedan, Friedan , Germaine Greer, Doris Lessing Noun 1. Doris Lessing - English author of novels and short stories who grew up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) (born in 1919)
Doris May Lessing, Lessing , Joan Didion Noun 1. Joan Didion - United States writer (born in 1934)
Didion , Susan Sontag Noun 1. Susan Sontag - United States writer (born in 1933)
Sontag , Cynthia Ozik, and Iris Murdoch Noun 1. Iris Murdoch - British writer (born in Ireland) known primarily for her novels (1919-1999)
Dame Jean Iris Murdoch, Murdoch as "equity feminists," without indexing their disagreements or differences in methodology. In a similar fashion, Sommers relegates other noted feminists such as Gloria Steinem Noun 1. Gloria Steinem - United States feminist (born in 1934)
Steinem , Susan Faludi Susan C. Faludi (born March 18 1959, Kate ) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of two well-known books and won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in Millet millet, common name for several species of grasses cultivated mainly for cereals in the Eastern Hemisphere and for forage and hay in North America. The principal varieties are the foxtail, pearl, and barnyard millets and the proso millet, called also broomcorn millet , Alice Jardine, Carolyn Heilbrun, Marilyn French Marilyn French (born November 21, 1929) is an American author known for her feminist novels and non-fiction. In her work, French asserts that women's oppression is an intrinsic part of the male-dominated global culture. , Patricia Ireland, Catherine McKinnon, Carol Gilligan, and Simone de Beauvoir Noun 1. Simone de Beauvoir - French feminist and existentialist and novelist (1908-1986)
Beauvoir to the "sex/gender" sect. These either/or categories dismiss the number of practical concerns and rhetorical similarities that exist between the theorists whom Sommers so blithely separates into opposing camps. They also negate the importance of a nuanced analysis of each individual's work.
In his own description of the "equity feminism vs sex/gender feminism" categories, Pula reiterates Sommers's explanation of the historical and philosophical derivation of her term, "equity feminism." However, he neglects to define Sommers's "sex/gender feminism" classification in the same manner. Pula describes the latter category by quoting a few of Sommers's adjectival ad·jec·ti·val
Of, relating to, or functioning as an adjective.
adjec·ti characterizations of the group (e.g., "angry," "prone to self-dramatization," "chronically-offended," "a moral vanguard fighting a war to save women," etc.). He mentions that some of its leaders are poor scholars and that a few are fraudulent as well. He agrees with Sommers that sex/gender feminism, despite its fringe status, "is the prevailing ideology of contemporary feminist philosophers and leaders," but offers no substantiation for this claim. Nor does Pula attempt to explain the ideology of "sex/gender feminism." He simply restates Sommers's accusation that this group is making "gender warfare" on our nation. Pula brings up the concept of indexing the many practitioners of feminism only in the very last sentence of his glossary entry. But by then, his single-line reminder that feminist 1, is not feminist 2, is not feminist 3, is not feminist 4, reads like a disclaimer, rather than as an extensional tool of analysis (GSG:XI, 208-211).
Label or Libel? Historical Analysis, Dating, Indexing, Etc.
According to Korzybski's structural differential, the first verbal level involves naming and describing. When we name relatively simple things, like "pencil," we may have little trouble getting our ideas across. However, labels such as "truth," "justice," "equality," "equity feminism" and "sex/gender-feminism" are higher-order terms that need clarification -- referents to particular instances and times. Sommers's referents for the latter two terms, the staples of her book and Pula's glossary entry on"feminism," involve some serious discrepancies. Her definition of "equity feminism" overlooks critical historical data, and her explanation of "sex/gender feminism" is so reductive re·duc·tive
1. Of or relating to reduction.
2. Relating to, being an instance of, or exhibiting reductionism.
3. Relating to or being an instance of reductivism. that the label libels an entire body of research.
As noted, Sommers defines contemporary "equity-feminism" as a continuation of the balanced, wholesome activism and philosophy of the early American suffragettes. In order to lend weight to this description, Sommers cites nineteenth-century women's rights The effort to secure equal rights for women and to remove gender discrimination from laws, institutions, and behavioral patterns.
The women's rights movement began in the nineteenth century with the demand by some women reformers for the right to vote, known as suffrage, and activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton as "perhaps the ablest exponent of equity-feminism." She offers several incidents of Stanton's career to demonstrate how the original followers of "equity feminism" sought, without discrimination, equal rights for all people. She mentions that Stanton based her women's "Declaration of Sentiments The Declaration of Sentiments is a document signed in 1848 by 68 women and 32 men, delegates to the first women's rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York, now known to historians as the 1848 Women's Rights Convention. " for the 1848 Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention on the words of Thomas Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence" (Sommers, 34-35). She quotes from Stanton's courageous 1854 address to the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of State legislature in which Stanton demanded universal suffrage (Ibid., 22). And, she relates the story of how, in 1869, Stanton and Susan B. Anthony organized a campaign to save Hester Vaughan, a woman unjustly convicted of murdering her newborn baby after she was seduced, fired, and then left to starve by her employer (Ibid., 35). But, Sommers does not date or discuss these events in terms of the complicated relations that transpired between women's rights and abolitionist activists, of which Stanton was an integral part.
In 1866, Stanton and leaders of the women's rights and abolitionist movements joined forces to create the American Equal Rights Association The American Equal Rights Association (also known as the Equal Rights Association) was an organization formed by women's rights and black rights activists in 1866 in the United States. Its goal was to join the cause of sexual equality with that of racial equality. , a coalition whose initial purpose was to press for universal suffrage. However, under the pressure of a government which remained adamant in its refusal to grant women and African-Americans the full rights and benefits of citizenship, some influential members of the coalition began to insist that the quest for universal suffrage was simply too difficult to achieve. They proposed that the group focus on obtaining the black male vote first, as a retribution for the national crime of slavery. This proposal, and the heated exchanges that followed, irreversibly split the coalition three years after its founding. (2) Stanton, outraged by her former colleagues' betrayal of the women's movement, and by what she saw as the ignoble machinations of a conservative government, responded to the situation with a torrent of rhetoric that was deliberately as divisive. According to historian Ellen Carol DuBois, these circumstances accounted "for the quite extraordinary mixture of militant feminism and intense racism in most of Stanton's writings during 1868 and 1369." (3) Stanton temporarily abandoned the cause of political parity for all Americans.
From 1869 to 1870, Stanton wrote about"Saxon" women's fears of black men; proposed that educated white women should be enfranchised en·fran·chise
tr.v. en·fran·chised, en·fran·chis·ing, en·fran·chis·es
1. To bestow a franchise on.
2. To endow with the rights of citizenship, especially the right to vote.
3. before "ignorant" black men; and stated that American white women were just as enslaved Enslaved may refer to:
In her litany of the many ways in which sex/gender feminists discriminate against other women and men, Sommers states that "gender feminists are especially disapproving of the lives of traditionally religious women ... whom they see as being conditioned for highly restricted roles" (Sommers, 260). By the late 1880's, Stanton's concern about sexual and individual rights for women led her to argue that religion was, in fact, the ultimate root of women's oppression. In 1895, she outraged many of her fellow suffragettes and the Christian community by publishing her book, The Woman's Bible, a feminist commentary on the Old Testament. (6)
Dating and indexing Stanton's career illustrates some of the pitfalls of single-category labeling. A more complex and complete picture of Stanton's work also suggests how "radicalism" can evolve out of harsh social circumstances, and, that one may only be able to begin to understand and appreciate the difficulties of such circumstances, and the contributions of the struggling individuals (and groups) in hindsight -- which is part of the time-binding process.
Sommers's "sex/gender feminist" label is problematic as well. As mentioned previously, Sommers selected this term to refer to the feminist theorists who believe that sexism or gender bias is so insidious and rampant in our culture that much of the time we are not even aware of its presence. Sex/gender feminists seek to investigate and expose the ways patriarchal gender biases operate in our society in order to eradicate sexual discrimination. However, Sommers distorts both the drawbacks and the value of this body of work through her "allness-statement" arguments and her one-dimensional system of documentation.
The sum total of her book implies that all feminists who use the above "sex/gender lens" analysis draw the same oppressive and regressive conclusions: women are the absolute and immutable IMMUTABLE. What cannot be removed, what is unchangeable. The laws of God being perfect, are immutable, but no human law can be so considered. victims of our society; females are inherently more advanced than males; anyone who does not go along with politically-correct politics must be punished or at least censored. Sommers never really addresses the historical and political reasons that may foment fo·ment
tr.v. fo·ment·ed, fo·ment·ing, fo·ments
1. To promote the growth of; incite.
2. To treat (the skin, for example) by fomentation. these kinds of judgments. Nor does she investigate such radical rhetoric in terms of our larger popular culture -- a culture which is bombarded by a variety of politically-correct discourses and inundated in·un·date
tr.v. in·un·dat·ed, in·un·dat·ing, in·un·dates
1. To cover with water, especially floodwaters.
2. by the "victim literature" of the self-help industry.
Sommers complains that sex/gender feminists are scholars manque man·qué
Unfulfilled or frustrated in the realization of one's ambitions or capabilities: an artist manqué; a writer manqué. and that they encourage women to categorically discriminate against men. In order to build her case, Sommers carefully documents and discusses at length the sex/gender feminists who presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. lie about their statistical research (Sommers, 11-17, 188-208); who attend conferences to sing songs, play with teddy bears, and hug each other (Ibid., 30-31); who inanely in·ane
adj. in·an·er, in·an·est
One that lacks sense or substance: interrupting with inane comments; angry with my inane roommate. argue that the art of quilting quilting, form of needlework, almost always created by women, most of them anonymous, in which two layers of fabric on either side of an interlining (batting) are sewn together, usually with a pattern of back or running (quilting) stitches that hold the layers is as profound as Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel (Ibid., 62-64); who attempt to rewrite history by replacing the monumental events of our culture which involve mostly men with the "trivialities" of women's everyday lives (Ibid., 56-63); and who unjustly charge men with sexual harassment sexual harassment, in law, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, aimed at a particular person or group of people, especially in the workplace or in academic or other institutional settings, that is actionable, as in tort or under equal-opportunity statutes. because of their misguided need for power, their sexual confusion, or their anger, etc. (Ibid., 111-116).
Sommers never bothers to differentiate the numerous feminist scholars and writers who work in a wide range of disciplines, who study the ways in which sex and gender biases operate in our society, but who nevertheless argue their cases without resorting to poor scholarship or to retaliatory acts of discrimination. And again, Sommers never examines the historical and political circumstances that may be partially responsible for the reactionary strategies and behaviors she lists throughout her book. Nor does she pause to contemplate whether there may be particles of "truth" or merit embedded in even some of the most outrageous comments or actions.
With all of this in mind, it is understandable that Sommers also overlooks the fact that the nineteenth-century suffragettes practiced a form of sex/gender feminism. In order to argue their case for statutory equality, the early women's rights activists This article is a list of notable women's rights activists. List
1. to cut apart, or separate.
2. to expose structures of a cadaver for anatomical study.
v. babies rather than to suckle suck·le
v. suck·led, suck·ling, suck·les
a. To cause or allow to take milk at the breast or udder; nurse.
b. To take milk at the breast or udder of.
2. them?" She insists that a woman's brain "being like the rest of her frame, of more delicate organization, is not capable of such sustained and continuous mental exertion as man's." And finally she tells her readers that it is ridiculous to try to interest females in politics and voting because most women are far too occupied with the proper responsibilities of home-making. (7)
It was not until 1920, almost one hundred and fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, more than seventy years after the Convention in Seneca Falls, and fifty years after African-American men were granted suffrage, that women's rights activists were finally able to convince the public-at-large that their brains and bodies were sufficiently strong enough to endure the rigors of voting.
Much of the feminist sex/gender research today involves something akin to an organism-as-a-whole-in-environments approach. Investigators explore how gender intersects with class, race, sexual orientation sexual orientation
The direction of one's sexual interest toward members of the same, opposite, or both sexes, especially a direction seen to be dictated by physiologic rather than sociologic forces. , age, religion, and ethnicity. Such studies examine how our cultural beliefs about sexuality and gender continue to impact on the social mores and laws of our country, and therefore, on the equal rights of all people. (8) Job discrimination; pornography; our laws on abortion; the composition of our military; divorce (including alimony alimony, in law, allowance for support that an individual pays to his or her former spouse, usually as part of a divorce settlement. It is based on the common law right of a wife to be supported by her husband, but in the United States, the Supreme Court in 1979 payments and child custody The care, control, and maintenance of a child, which a court may award to one of the parents following a Divorce or separation proceeding.
Under most circumstances, state laws provide that biological parents make all decisions that are involved in rearing their ); the private sexual behavior sexual behavior A person's sexual practices–ie, whether he/she engages in heterosexual or homosexual activity. See Sex life, Sexual life. of consenting adults; the institution of marriage (which excludes gays and lesbians from the social, tax, health, and inheritance benefits of the state); sexual harassment; and the crime of rape, reflect our changing social views about sexuality and gender.
For Whom Does the "Critic" or "Activist"' Speak?
Despite our reservations about Sommers's book, we still welcome her contributions to the field and will continue to read her work with as many grains of salt as she implies that one should use when reading Faludi's book, Backlash (Sommers, 227-244). But, we can not agree with Pula's assertion that Sommers, (or Pula himself) presents a "balanced," albeit tough description of feminism today. Pula points out that Sommers never resorts to a Rush Limbaugh "Feminazis" style of name-calling. However, Sommers's polemical intentions (and we do not in any way dispute her right to take a position) are evidenced through her purposeful compilation of sensational and reductio ad absurdum [Latin, Reduction to absurdity.] In logic, a method employed to disprove an argument by illustrating how it leads to an absurd consequence. examples to make her case about the "horrific" sex/gender feminist take-over.
The slanted direction of her book is clearly reflected by the partisan reviews she received. New York Times reviewer, Nina Auerbach, states that Who Stole Feminism?" is so overwrought o·ver·wrought
1. Excessively nervous or excited; agitated.
2. Extremely elaborate or ornate; overdone: overwrought prose style. and underwritten that it is unlikely to amuse or persuade. Contemporary feminism is certainly open to criticism, but it deserves a more informed adversary." (9) The Publishers Weekly review taken from Allure magazine begins, "Despite its author's claims to the contrary this book reads like a right-wing, anti-feminist call to arms." (10) In Library Journal Cynthia Harrison asserts, "Unfortunately, Sommers's scornful tone makes her reporting suspect; she mocks the arguments she opposes rather than engaging and refuting them. . . This book will have as an audience readers who share her politics." (11)
Writers for conservative or libertarian publications typically laud Sommers's work. Tama Starr, reviewing for Reason quips, "the answer to the question in the books title is, nobody stole feminism. The liberals gave it away ... What one wonders is, why does she (Sommers) want it back?" (12) Mary Lefkowitz titles her essay on Sommers's book for the National Review, "Robbery in Progress." Lefkowitz calls Sommers's work "an excellent new book which everyone interested in the subject (feminism) should read." Agreeing with Sommers's arguments Lefkowitz laments, "now `equity feminists' like me have themselves become the Enemy of other feminists who reject the values that we fought for . . ."(13) And Cathy Young, making her debut as a writer for Commentary states, "Sommers chronicles in depressing detail the `colonization' of universities, academic councils, and other institutions by radical feminists." (14) And so forth. . .
In his glossary definition/essay, Pula, like the reviewers above, seems to use Sommers's arguments as an entry point to discuss his own "political" views about feminism. Pula states:
I wish to make clear my operating assumption that the fact
that a significant minority of formally educated women
have self-appointedly declared `gender warfare' in the
name of more than 50% of our population constitutes a
deep socio-biological pathology, probably (and sadly)
expressive in many cases of deep individual pathologies. If I
am correct, the matter is a serious one. The need for us to
distinguish individual and positional `feminists' seems vital
for our societal and individual relations -- for the health of
our society, and for the humaneness of our personal evaluations
Pula's reference to some feminists manifesting a "deep socio-biological pathology which is probably (and sadly) expressive in many cases of deep individual pathologies" is clearly an intensional (philosophy) intensional - A description of properties, e.g. intensional equality, that relate to how an object is implemented as opposed to extensional properties which concern only how its output depends on its input. description. Labels such as "sociobiological so·ci·o·bi·ol·o·gy
The study of the biological determinants of social behavior, based on the theory that such behavior is often genetically transmitted and subject to evolutionary processes. pathology" and"individual pathologies" are high level abstractions which Pula neither defines, nor substantiates. Likewise, the next set of labels Pula uses, "individual" feminists as opposed to "positional" feminists, not only lacks extensional definition, but poses yet another either/or dichotomy. For Pula, the good feminists are the "individual" ones and the bad feminists, who "threaten the health of our society," are the positional ones. But why does Pula frame "positionality" negatively? Isn't it our position, as general semanticists, that general semantics is valuable for most people to know? Don't good individual feminists like Pula, Sommers, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton take positions on the issues which concern them? And didn't Stanton attempt to build a coalition of like-thinking people to fight for universal suffrage?
In her feature article for the New York Times Book Review, "Feminism's Third Wave: What Do Young Women Want?," Wendy Kaminer suggests that "Feminism remains a balancing trick. Negotiating the drive toward individual autonomy and the demand for collective identity, young women must walk the same tightrope as their elders." (15) Feminists and non-feminist "individualists" alike, may wish to define themselves as "human beings" whose goals, character, and intelligence can not be determined by sex, race, or creed, etc. However, if we use an organism-as-wholes-in-environments lens, we know that individuals are also partially defined as a result of their affiliations, whether these affiliations be family, friends, neighborhood, school, religion, political party, state, country -- or whether a person is female, male, white, a person of color Noun 1. person of color - (formal) any non-European non-white person
person of colour
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul - a human being; "there was too much for one person to do" , heterosexual, or homosexual, etc.
Both Pula and Sommers tell their readers that sex/gender feminists presume to speak"in the name of more than 5070 of the population" (GSG:XI, 209; Sommers, 275). What is the evidence for this statement? How does the rhetoric of the many feminists who presumably make up this category, significantly differ from that of other activists, politicians, philosophers, and writers -- including Pula, Sommers, and the authors of this essay? The use of the words such as "we," "our," "us," "women," "men," "the American people," may function as conventions of speech as well as elocutionary el·o·cu·tion
1. The art of public speaking in which gesture, vocal production, and delivery are emphasized.
2. A style or manner of speaking, especially in public. devices of inclusion. Words such as "have to," "must," "imperative that," and "should," are often used as tools of persuasion. In the beginning of his entry on feminism, Pula refers to "A General Semantics Glossary" as "our glossary." In the paragraph cited above, he speaks of the "need for us to distinguish individual and positional `feminist'" which "seems vital for our societal and individual relations -- for the health of our society, and for the humaneness of our personal evaluations." Sommers insists that (my emphasis again) "American women owe an incalculable debt to the classically liberal feminists who came before us ... Battered women don't need untruths to make their case before a fair-minded public..." (Sommers, 17). And so forth ... For whom do Pula and Sommers speak?
The fact that feminists take positions individually or in groups; the fact that they speak out and argue with one another about their theories and beliefs and sometimes engage in the use of radical or sensational rhetoric (including Sommers's); the fact that feminists compete for jobs, grants, publishing opportunities and pedagogical territories are, in our view, not examples of women betraying women. On the contrary, the wide range of critiques, philosophies, and activist strategies encourage many feminists and other social critics to rethink and refine their ideas about the world we live in on an ongoing basis. In this way, the field of feminism(s) embodies both Popper's and Pula's process of "falsifiability." The authors of this essay think that if anything can partially define the territory of contemporary feminism it is the belief in social, political and economic equality, defined and redefined through a process of communal, critical refutation ref·u·ta·tion also re·fut·al
1. The act of refuting.
2. Something, such as an argument, that refutes someone or something.
Noun 1. .
In closing, does Pula, or even Rush Limbaugh, have the right to express their opinions about feminism? We think so. But we also think that definitions expressed in "A General Semantics Glossary" ought to be extensionally-oriented and thoroughly explored, because the writer of such a forum, in our opinion, does presume to speak for others. We admire our friend and fellow feminist Bob Pula and we look forward to his glossary entries. We also encourage the readers of ETC. to follow the debates of feminist communities as they continue to evolve.
(1.) For feminist works which discuss the problems of either/or methods of analysis see for example: Barbara Freedman, Staging the Gaze: Postmodernism, Psychoanalysis, and Shakespearean Comedy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991); Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing & Cultural Anxiety (New York: Routledge, 1992); Linda Grant, Sexing the Millennium: Women and the Sexual Revolution (New York: Grove Press, 1994); Carol S. Vance, ea., Pleasure and Danger: Exploring Female Sexuality (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984).
(2.) See for a concise description of these events, Elizabeth Frost-Knappman, assisted by Sara Kurian, The ABC-CLIO Companion to Women's Progress in America (Santa Barbara, California Santa Barbara is a city in California, United States. It is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 92,325. : ABC-CLIO, 1994), 16-17.
(3.) Ellen Carol Dubois in Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: Correspondence, Writings, Speeches, edited with a commentary by Ellen Carol Dubois and foreword by Gerda Lerner (New York: Schocken Books, 1981), 119.
(4.) Stanton, 119-123.
(5.) Lois W. Banner, Elizabeth Cady Stanton: A Radical for Woman's Rights, edited by Oscar Handlin (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1980), 107.
(6.) Dubois in Stanton, 182-188; Stanton, excerpts from A Woman's Bible, 229-243.
(7.) Davis's comments are quoted by Tillie Olsen in Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills "Life in the Iron Mills" is a short story by Rebecca Harding Davis set in the factory world of nineteenth century Wheeling, Virginia, now Wheeling, West Virginia. It was her first published work, and it appeared anonymously in April 1861 in the Atlantic Monthly and Other Stories, edited with a biographical interpretation by Tillie Olsen (New York: The Feminist Press at The City University of New York The City University of New York (CUNY; acronym: IPA pronunciation: [kjuni]), is the public university system of New York City. , 1985),137-138.
(8.) See, for example: Mary Frances Berry Mary Frances Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and the former chairwoman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She is also the former board chair of Pacifica Radio. , The Politics of Parenthood: Child Care, Women's Rights, and the Myth of the Good Mother (New York: Viking Penguin, 1993); Ellen Chesler, Woman of Valor valor
a rodenticide no longer marketed because of toxicity in horses causing dehydration, abdominal pain, hindlimb weakness, inappetence, fishy smell in urine. Called also N-3-pyridyl methyl N1-p-nitrophenyl urea. : Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (New York: Summit Books, 1992); Donna A. Demac, Liberty Denied: The Current Rise of Censorship in America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press Rutgers University Press is a nonprofit academic publishing house, operating in Piscataway, New Jersey under the auspices of Rutgers University. The press was founded in 1936, and since that time has grown in size and in the scope of its publishing program. , 1990); Catherine MacKinnon, Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press The Harvard University Press is a publishing house, a division of Harvard University, that is highly respected in academic publishing. It was established on January 13, 1913. In 2005, it published 220 new titles. , 1987); Toni Morrison, ed. Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality (New York: Pantheon, 1992).
(9.) Nina Auerbach, "Sisterhood sisterhood: see monasticism. Is Fractious frac·tious
1. Inclined to make trouble; unruly.
2. Having a peevish nature; cranky.
[From fraction, discord (obsolete). ," review of Who Stole Feminism by Christina Hoff Sommers Christina Hoff Sommers (born 1956) is an American author who researches culture, adolescents, and morality in American society. Her best known books are Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women and in New York Times Book Review, 12 June 1994,13.
(10.) Review of Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Summers, Allure (June 1994) in Publishers Weekly, 11 April 1994, 45.
(11.) Cynthia Harrison, review of Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers in Library Journal, Vol. 119 (15 June 1994), 85.
(12.) Tama Starr, review of Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers, Reason, Vol. 26 (October 1994), 62.
(13.) Mary Lefkowitz, "Robbery in Progress," review of Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers in National Review, Vol. 46 (11 July 1994), 55.
(14.) Cathy Young, "Tainted by Testosterone," review of Who Stole Feminism? by Christina Hoff Sommers in Commentary, Vol. 98 (September 1994), 56.
(15.) Wendy Kaminer, "Feminism's Third Wave: What Do Young Women Want?" New York Times Book Review, 4 June 1995, 23.
Please note the abbreviations used for the essays of Robert P. Pula Robert P. Pula, (1929–2004) was a Director Emeritus of the Institute of General Semantics, author of A General-Semantics Glossary, and a composer. Pula served as the lead lecturer for the Institute of General Semantics for many years. ):
(GSG:I) Pula, Robert P. "A General Semantics Glossary (Part D," ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol.48, No. 4 (Winter 1991-92), 462-464.
(GSG:VIII)--,--"A General Semantics Glossary (Part VIII): Extensional Orientation as Orientation," ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Summer 1994), 224-226.
(GSG:XI) , "A General Semantics Glossary (Part XI): Extensional Devices Applied, Part 2," ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 52, No. 2 (Summer 1995), 208-211.
Sommers, Christina Hoff. Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women (New York: Simon & Schuster Simon & Schuster
U.S. publishing company. It was founded in 1924 by Richard L. Simon (1899–1960) and M. Lincoln Schuster (1897–1970), whose initial project, the original crossword-puzzle book, was a best-seller. , 1994).
Dr. Katherine Liepe-Levinson is an assistant professor of Theater at Colgate University. She is currently working on a book which explores male and female striptease performance and feminist theory. Dr. Martin Levinson is Assistant Director of PROJECT SHARE, a New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. school-based drug prevention program. He is also a member of the board of directors of the New York Society of General Semantics.