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Feminism and Literature

349). In her commentary on evidence of a wave of popular anti-feminism, Faludi argues that the successes of feminist advocacy fostered a "highly effective, often insidious campaign to discredit its goals, distort its message and make women question whether they really want equality after all" (Gibbs & Attinger, 1992, pp. 51-2). There has also been critique from those who have been historically on the socioeconomic margins. Consider Walker's four-part definition of womanism: outrageous or willful, grown-up behavior by feminists of color; women loving women (sexually or not), and "committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female"; loving of people (Folk), herself, food, spirit, music, etc. Accordingly, "womanist is to feminist as purple to lavender" (Walker, cited by Cannon, 1988, p. 22). In the black womanist view, oppression is the basic fact of life for black women and is to be aggressively opposed. Black womanist ethics filters established ethical principles through black women's "facticity of life" as the experience of receiving dominant-culture dictates. That idea has been attacked as a species of black nationalism, but Cannon emphasizes inner strength over retaliation.

Another strand of contemporary feminist thought assigns positive value to the "different voice" (Gilligan, 1982) of women--intersubjective, compassionate, caring--with a view toward offering an alternative to the supposedly masculine ethic of rights, which are often opaque to women's real-world experience. MacKinnon sees Gilligan's work along these lines as a feminist assertion that "those attributes," i.e., compassion, caring, and so on, "with their consequences, really are somehow ours, rather than what male supremacy has attributed to us for its own use" (1987, p. 39). What are assigned in this strand of thought, in her view, are "characteristics of powerlessness" (p. 39).

Johnson cites the divide between power and victim feminists, but e...

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Feminism and Literature. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:37, August 17, 2017, from
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