A while ago I was asked to make a list of primer texts involving academic feminism. So, after a few weeks, I finally remembered!
It should go without saying that not all these texts are pieces I agree with - mostly or entirely considering that some of them disagree with each other.
However, all of these texts I feel form a solid base of being able to speak the language of academic feminism. Being able to reference these is useful, as quite a few of them form the canon of academic feminism. This doesn’t mean you should accept any of these texts as the Truth, nor should you! However, they’ve all influenced feminist thought to a great extent. I’ve tried to organize them based on the year of publication, but I could’ve made a mistake!
This is by no means a comprehensive list. It is in fact, a very short list. I’ve tried to limit myself to a small selection of pieces from the twentieth century, instead of going back to Hildegard of Bringen. Major trigger warnings apply to many of these pieces, read with caution.
i love how my dash is full of folks stabbing the fuck out your white authoritarian dreams. *tears up*
ok, i am fully sick of this shit, dictionaries are not sparkly magical oases of unbiased truth, utterly untouched by racism or political agenda
whose political agenda exactly? here, lemme show you. i took five minutes to search for the creators and current owners of merriam-webster and the oxford dictionary and this is what i got
noah webster, wrote the first webster’s. did you also know he was a hardxcore american nationalist and christian who thought the written word was explicitly a tool that needed to be used to control public dissent and individualism which he considered to be badwrong? LOOK IT UP, SHITDICK
oh but who owns it now? well websters became merriam-websters which is a subsidiary of encyclopaedia britannica inc. currently, but here are just some of the white dudes who owned the rights to webster’s shit along the way
hello richard warren sears, yes THAT sears, you are looking particular white and rich
senator william benton, yale graduate, founder of benton & bowles advertising company! rockin that rich whiteness
jacqui safra! member of the famous safra banking family, current owner of encyclopaedia britannica, and merriam-webster and spring mountain vineyard, friend of woody allen and financer of EIGHT of his films. how deliciously white and rich you smell.
here is a small sample of the white dudes that collabed on oxford dictionary originally, archbishop trench, herbert coleridge, frederick james furnivall and sir james murray by this point i was 500% done with reading biographies on boring white dudes doing boring white dude things so instead let’s just all bask in how boring and white they are
for added fun the wiki article on the oxford dictionary has a whole section on criticisms that basically outlines exactly the fucking problem here
Despite its claim of authority on the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary has been criticised from various angles. It has become a target precisely because of its massiveness, its claims to authority, and above all its influence. In his review of the 1982 supplement, University of Oxford linguist Roy Harris writes that criticizing the OED is extremely difficult because “one is dealing not just with a dictionary but with a national institution”, one that “has become, like the English monarchy, virtually immune from criticism in principle”.:935 Harris also criticises what he sees as the “black-and-white lexicography” of the Dictionary, by which he means its reliance upon printed language over spoken—and then only privileged forms of printing. He further notes that, while neologisms from respected “literary” authors such as Samuel Beckett and Virginia Woolf are included, usage of words in newspapers or other, less “respectable”, sources hold less sway, although they may be commonly used.:935 He writes that the OED’s “[b]lack-and-white lexicography is also black-and-white in that it takes upon itself to pronounce authoritatively on the rights and wrongs of usage”,:935 faulting the Dictionary’s prescriptive, rather than descriptive, usage. To Harris, this prescriptive classification of certain usages as “erroneous” and the complete omission of various forms and usages cumulatively represent the “social bias[es]” of the (presumably well-educated and wealthy) compilers.:936
so basically, fuck you, you fucking fuck, if you trot out a dictionary definition as proof of racism against white people cuz THE DICTIONARY SAYS that racism is defined only as “racial prejudice or discrimination” (merriam-webster) or “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race” (oxford).
well guess the fuck what.
RICH WHITE PEOPLE WRITE AND CONTROL ENGLISH DICTIONARIES.
RICH WHITE PEOPLE ARE THE ONES DEFINING THE WORDS THAT MAKE IT INTO ENGLISH DICTIONARIES.
AND IF YOU THINK FOR A SECOND THAT RICH WHITE PEOPLE ARE WITHOUT MAJOR FUCKING BIAS YOU’VE GOT ANOTHER FUCKING THING COMING, MAINLY A WHOLE WORLD OF UNCHALLENGED IGNORANCE
all of this.
what i like to bring up as an example is the tomato. you know how everybody argues about whether or not it’s a fruit or a vegetable? so get this: legally, the tomato is a vegetable. the SCOTUS ruled in 1893 that the tomato is a vegetable because they wanted it to get taxed (at that time there was no tax on fruits and U.S. markets were being flooded by foreign fruits).
you guys, the definition of a tomato had a political agenda.
a fucking tomato.
what on earth does quoting the dictionary on oppression (which is vastly more complex than a tomato, mind you) make you think that you’re somehow unbiased or neutral?
really a tomato?
So here’s an interesting logic problem.
The Roman Empire expanded through much of Europe, parts of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Ancient Rome was multicultural and racially mixing did occur. Just thinking about the fact that the way we prescribe race is a fairly recent social construct, there’s no way that Ancient Romans classified people the way modern societies do.
Now, Romans ruled a large part of Great Britain from 43 to 410 AD (so, basically, they still had control of areas of Britain up until the early 5th century).
The Ivory Bangle Lady was a mixed-race, high-status, wealthy woman with origins from Africa. She lived in Roman York (meaning she was both British and Roman) during the late 4th century.
One of the richest inhabitants of fourth century Roman York, buried in a stone sarcophagus with luxury imports including jewellery made of elephant ivory, a mirror and a blue glass perfume jar, was a woman of black African ancestry, a re-examination of her skeleton has shown.
Now, 16 centuries after her death, her skeleton is helping prove the startling diversity of the society in which she lived.
“We’re looking at a population mix which is much closer to contemporary Britain than previous historians had suspected,” Hella Eckhardt, senior lecturer at the department of archaeology at Reading University, said. “In the case of York, the Roman population may have had more diverse origins than the city has now.”
So obviously we know at this point that there were people of colour in the Roman Empire, they did live in Roman-controlled Britain, and some were actually quite wealthy. We can surmise that they existed in Britain in the 5th century because the Romans still controlled part of Britain.
King Arthur is British legendary figure (meaning there’s no telling whether or not he actually existed) from the late 5th and 6th centuries. This was not long after the Roman Empire fell, so King Arthur existed after people of colour had already been in Britain.
African products could still be found in European cities up until the 7th century, which means trade was taking place between Europe and Africa, so King Arthur existed during trade between Africa and Europe.
The first recorded mention of King Arthur is in 830 (9th century), so King Arthur’s story was penned in the 9th century, after people of colour had been in Britain and African products had been in Europe.
African Moors ruled parts of the Iberian peninsula for 700 years (from the 8th century until the 15th century—
go Moors, way to beat the Romans in terms of controlling your territory). So King Arthur’s story was penned during the period where there was a significant North African Arab presence in at least one European country.
If people of colour existed in Roman Europe (up until the early 5th century) before King Arthur (late 5th century/early 6th century), and their presence could still be found in Europe during the time he apparently existed (up until the 7th century), and his story was recorded during a period wherein people of colour had a significant territorial hold in Europe (8th-15th century)… why is it that so-called purists believe that people of colour can’t exist in a legendary tale with no real historical basis… when real history says that they existed in Europe, before, during and after King Arthur’s time?
This is for all the racist white people on tumblr who refuse to believe that black people existed in Europe before the slavery trade.
Because this can never be reblogged enough.
beautiful fucking article.
then don’t use it unless you’re part of the group it’s used against
There’s more to it than just that. Slurs disregard source-context so effectively that even when used by a person traditionally targeted by the slur, they can still be weapons of oppression. Being a member of a targeted group does not magically prevent us from doing harm to others in our group.
If we’re to ‘reclaim’ slurs, to strip them of their oppressive power, we must do so by subverting their original malicious intentions. We can’t do that by using the same slurs in the same way that they’ve been used against us. What’s the difference between a cis person’s slur thrown maliciously at a trans* person and the same slur coming from a trans* person, maliciously targeting another trans* person? The functional result is the same: a trans* person is degraded/dehumanized/abused with a slur.
Non-membership in a slur-targeted-group automatically disqualifies a person from justified use of the slur. The converse, however, is not true; membership in a slur-targeted-group does NOT automatically justify use of the slur.
Slurs are weapons by nature, regardless of who handles them. Prudence requires that we be careful in how we wield them, lest we further harm the very people we wish to protect.
1. Open Culture: Not a large a selection, but high quality texts. If you just want to skim a book to brush up on a course you took in ninth grade, download one of these. I have yet to be disappointed.
2. Book Boon: Provides free college-level textbooks in a PDF format. Probably the widest range of subjects on the web. The site is also pretty.
3. Flat World Knowledge: The worlds largest publisher of free and open college textbooks. Humanitie texts are particularly difficult to come by, this site has a great selection in all disciplines.
4. Textbook Revolution: Some of the books are PDF files, others are viewable online as e-books, or some are simply web sites containing course or multimedia content.
5. Library Pirate: I’ve always had an addiction to torrent based pirating. When this site opened a few months ago, I went a little overboard. After dropping two hundred on a paperback spanish textbook, I downloaded the ebook version illegally. I also got a great Psyc text i’m obsessed with. It will be interesting to see how this site grows- they already have a great selection.
- okay so here’s the thing right about amy pond
- when amy pond was a child her parents were murdered by a creature living in her house that she didn’t know about
- that accessed her house by going through a hole in the fabric of the universe that she also didn’t know about
- which altered her thoughts (to the point that she was later able to reconstruct the universe), which she also didn’t know about
- her life was heavily influenced at a young age by a visit from an alien man in a blue box who told her he would be be right back
- her belief in this man caused people to believe she was crazy
- no really; that’s canon, the twelve years she spent being told she was crazy
- twelve years she also spent, again unknowingly, being childhood best friends with her part-time-lord daughter
- who was born after a pregnancy that amy also did not fucking know about
- after months and months during which amy’s brain was disconnected from her body, sent off on adventures, and again NOT TOLD that this was happening
- (not to mention how this child was immediately separated from amy after her birth, again, without amy’s knowledge)
- and now it turns out that while amy was being unknowingly held hostage during her unknown pregnancy, amy’s body was—in some unknown way—rendered incapable of bearing children
- so say what you want, have whatever opinions you want about whether or not the ~gave rory up since she could not provide what she wanted~ thing was sexist
- seriously; knock yourself out, i don’t care either way
- this is still a show in which the lead female character’s physical and mental wellbeing is CONSTANTLY and CANONICALLY either out of her control or called into question
- this is still a show on which the lead female character’s ability to make her own choices about her physical and mental wellbeing is CONSTANTLY and CANONICALLY denied to her
- and you can call that whatever you want
- you really can
- but when you cut it in half and peer inside?
- it looks a whole fucking lot like sexism.
“At the heart of the ‘anti-creep shaming campaign’ is a concerted effort to discourage women from relying on their instincts to protect themselves from harm. Laying aside its likely etymology, calling a dude an ‘asshole’ is a way of labeling him a jerk. Plenty of people can be jerks without being predatory. On the other hand, calling a dude ‘creepy’ labels him as a potential threat; a creep may not be imminently violent, but there’s almost always a sense that he shows consistent disregard for a woman’s physical or psychological space. This is why, as Wakeman wrote, ‘it’s a really freaking dangerous idea to twist a woman’s open, honest communication about her boundaries/expectations into ‘creep shaming’ that victimizes men.’
Though the word may be occasionally used unfairly (for example, to describe a physically unattractive guy’s genuinely respectful attempt at striking up a conversation), ‘creepy’ serves a vital function. No other word is as effective as describing when a man has crossed a woman’s boundary; no other word forces a man to reflect on how his behavior makes other people feel. A guy can disprove accusations of being weak by displaying strength (often in foolish ways.) But a guy can only disprove the charge of creepiness by fundamentally altering his behavior to be more genuinely respectful of women.”
Seinfeld | 1989-1998
Creator: Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld
Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards and Jason Alexander.
The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York friends Elaine, George and Kramer. Named by TV Guide as the greatest television program of all times in 2002.
you need this in your life. if you think otherwise, you just need it all the more.