Friday, September 28, 2007

Blind Spots

I was having a conversation with a colleague from a different department recently. She asked me if I'm a feminist.

I was taken aback. I hate thinking that it's even a question. But I guess it is. I'm not sure, maybe I don't qualify as a feminist according to her definitions? (After all, I do work on lit by really dead white guys, and that sure doesn't sound feminist to lots of people.)

So we talked on about some work this colleague does, and how people in a different academic area, folks not working from feminist theory, don't see things the same way.

I worry when feminists seem too certain that we've got all the answers. I mean, it's easy to point out certain blind spots in other peoples' approaches. But feminism in its various versions has had plenty of blind spots, and we haven't always been willing to rethink them, even when pointed out with grace, patience, and forceful logic. Think about the ways 70s white, middle class feminists refused to recognize the experiences of women of color and women of different socio-economic positions. How often straight women have resisted including GLBT folks.

It's easy for me to point out a couple of blind spots from 20-30 years ago.

What concerns me is the blind spots I can't see. But I'm pretty sure they're there.

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