Study Guide

Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar - Nous? Conservative? Mais non!

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Nous? Conservative? Mais non!

We may be rare birds in academia—what with being all warm and fuzzy and all—but that doesn't mean everyone welcomes us with open arms. Sure, we've been accused of being "universalist"—assuming that all women of the 19th century had the same experience. And of focusing on Anglo-American literature at the expense of marvelous multicultural, multiethnic, socioeconomic complexity. Oh, and a few hotheads got on our case about being essentialist—thinking that women's qualities are biologically determined.

Other than all of that criticism, we think it's safe to say that Madwoman is the bible of women's studies.

It's when people accuse us of being conservative, or even "reactionary," that we start to get miffed. We've never believed in anger as a tool of feminism. We think all feminists should support each other, and as I (Sandra) have said elsewhere, no matter where your beliefs fall in the spectrum:

I want all feminists to do good things for their careers, to write for many journals, to teach in all departments, to be listened to by everyone, and I want this because, to paraphrase Sam Spade, that's good for feminists everywhere, and what's good for feminists everywhere is good for women everywhere.

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