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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 3, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

    Feminist Open Forum

    Fiona McCann

    I’ve been asked to post about the Feminist Open Forum, but given the parameters of this blog, I’m going to have to crowbar some arts into the subject. Not too difficult, actually, given the amount of themes, writers and feminist literary theory to draw from.

    But given that this is a blog and not a thesis, I’m just going to point up some of my favourite feminist writers, or writers who, when read within a feminist analysis, are part of what brought me to the Feminist Open Forum last Thursday.

     Much credit goes to Jean Rhys for Wide Sargasso Sea – a reworking of Jane Eyre from the perspective of the mad woman in the attic, this reclaims Bertha’s subjectivity in a clever shift of centre to the colonies. In other moments Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Susie Orbach’s Fat is a Feminist Issue, and even, I’ll admit it, Naomi Woolf’s The Beauty Myth, said things I needed to hear. I should point out, before y’all decry my more populist reading material, that I also put time in with Helene Cisoux, Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray, as well as Alice Walker, Virginia Woolf and Gertrude Stein. Yet it was in the poems of Anne Sexton, Dorothy Parker and Edna St Vincent Millay that I found voices that I recognised and to which I have never tired listening. So who have I missed?

    • Angela Carter! For fiction anyway. And Susan Faludi’s Backlash, which I read in about 1992 when I was 16, genuinely changed the way I looked at the media.

      Did they name a date for the next Forum, by the way?

    • Fiona says:

      Angela Carter – how could I forget? I’m ashamed to say I have not read Backlash yet, but now feel it’s my moral obligation given where I work and what I do. And yes, they named a date for the next Forum – December 4th I believe. Hope to see you there!

    • The Beauty Myth is brilliant; it put things in perspective to me in my twenties, about the beauty industry etc. Time to re-read, it I think.

      Fat is a Feminist Issue I didn’t like. I can’t remember why exactly, but something about it galled me…

      Try Sharon Olds’s poetry. Sublime!

    • sarah says:

      I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    • WomensWrongs says:

      Lets see. Womens rights is a lot like fascism. They want everyone to believe their way, plus they want over-equal rights on areas that only benefit them! I believe in equal rights but feminism is beyond equal. As in “Girls and go into scouts but boys can’t go into Girl Scouts” or “Girls can play on the mens hockey team but boys can’t play ringette” Quit blaming everything on sexism and work your job.

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