riPOSTe


From: Elisabeth Joyce
Subject: Susannah Breslin's response to ebr3
To: ebr@uic.edu

First off, I have to say that I'm glad that, for all her complaints, Susannah Breslin was able to achieve a climax on reading the "Writing (Post)Feminism" issue of ebr. What troubles me the most about her review of this issue, however, is that she worries extensively that ebr has repressed postfeminist writings by not including poetry, fiction, songs or manifestos directly in the text. The simple answer here is that the electronic book review is just that--a review journal. The beauty of an e-journal is that while it is only reviewing material, it can provide direct connections to the primary sources. Thus, Todd Napolitano's essay links to e-diaries; Susan Taylor's interview essay links to the geekgirl's journal; and Greg Dyer's review links to experimental writing sites. Alas, some of the reviews/essays refer to forms of writing which are not on the web: George Landow's review of Shelley Jackson's hypertextual Patchwork Girl, August Tarrier's review of the film Bad Girls, Martin Rosenberg's essay on Kiki Smith's artwork (which we did not reproduce because her gallery didn't grant us permission). While primary sources do not appear directly in ebr in the form of writing, I have tried to showcase them in their visual forms--note the reproductions of works by Jacqueline Jacovini, Susan Hagan, and Sharon Horvath, among others. We have no intention, therefore, of shunting written productions by women into the "basement," but to direct the harried and overly busy reader to sites which we have found to be particularly essential to an understanding of postfeminism.

Breslin acknowledges what I point out in my introduction to this issue of ebr: there is no single definition of postfeminism. She admits that "a social movement created by and for women may be more multiple in its meanings and definitions" and so may be less easy to pin down. What Breslin misses, however, is the basically inclusive nature of postfeminism, an attitude which I have tried to capture in this issue. By interviewing women whose response to postfeminism is not necessarily predetermined, I tried to open up views of feminism and postfeminism to embrace people of varied backgrounds, of varied artistic professions, of varied sexual proclivities. So, when Lynn Breedlove says, "My clit has a mind of its own," she is essentially supporting Eurudice's remark which Breslin identifies, that postfeminism means that it's o.k. to be a woman and to enjoy it, that women are not transgressing a politically correct agenda if they do not act on ideological beliefs all the time. Breslin's main definition of postfeminism appears to be constrained to a timeline: first there was feminism, but that is "menopausal," and now there is postfeminism. I think that this attitude is a mistake, because it condones prejudgmental treatment of women according to their age. It's the type of attitude which feminism itself has suffered from in excluding women who are "breeders," for instance. Instead, I propose a view of postfeminism which is more accepting of difference and, most importantly for me, which admits a sense of humor. When Dodie Bellamy describes her adolescent search for the "dirty parts" in literature, she allows us to laugh while she stresses her point that the writer is a seductress and that "writing is a sex act in itself, creating a romance between writer and reader. This romance transcends gender and sexual preference." What is important to Bellamy is that writers are always trying, more than to represent sex, to represent "physical sensation," and this task is an impossible but inescapable one. What is important to me about Bellamy's argument, and which I wish were more important to Breslin, is that postfeminism allows us to think about ourselves as women beyond sexual attitudes, beyond the prehistoric days of women as victims, and to acknowledge and embrace the heterogeneity of the female population. Having a vagina doesn't have to determine how one thinks or acts.

Elisabeth Joyce, Edinboro University



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