The recognition that Marxism--even if it succeeded in producing a more
egalitarian world--would not liberate women was central to the development
of socialist feminism--which calls for addressing both the social structure
and the patriarchal structure. As I am not a socialist feminist, I am not
advocating anything, just noting the context of your comments. But there
was a strong Marxist feminist argument at one point. I don't think you
would find many feminists now who would argue it or assume that a
Marxist state in itself would remove the reasons for women's
As an interesting parallel, one always needs to separate strictly personal
attitudes from cultural ones. Eliot clearly liked women; he said at one
point to Aiken (I think) that he was very dependent on their company. He
had women friends all his life and in some cases was very emotionally
intimate with them--Mary Trevelyan for example. But that is quite separate
from his belief that with rare exceptions they could not write poetry and his
preference for keeping them out of publication. His championing of
Marianne Moore and--at one time but not consistently--Djuna Barnes are
presented by him as clear exceptions to a general rule.
Pointing out a personal liking for one thing or another or an individual
attitude or action--as in Thatcher's assertiveness or Eliot's liking for his
female cousins--does not resolve the problems raised by broad policy
arguments and cultural definitions.
Date sent: Sun, 1 Dec 2002 12:20:25 -0600
Send reply to: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From: Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Thatcher, feminism, etc.
To: [log in to unmask]
Nancy Gish wrote:
> were always women who refused to accept the strictures of their culture,
> and in that sense, they did what feminism would affirm. That is not the
> same as having a feminist political, philosophical, and cultural view of
> the world.
I would not consider even Rosa Luxemberg a feminist -- and focusing on
her would I think bring out some of the real difficulty of drawing a useful
line between general liberatory activity and "feminist" activity and thought,
let alone between feminism and mere assertiveness of an individual
woman. This is not because there are no Marxist feminists. Clara Zetkin
and Eleanor Marx both can be considered feminists (or conscious
forerunners of feminism). Lise Vogel, Martha Gimenez, Renate Bridenthal
are quite clearly both marxist and feminist. But Red Rosa, despite her
eventual split with it, was too embedded in the Second International, and
saw women's liberation as merely an eventual result of class liberation, not
as a condition of such liberation, as do Martha, Renate, & Lise.
Involvement in women's struggles led Lise Vogel to quit a tenured position
at Yale in Art History to pursue a doctoral degree in sociology, which she
now teaches at Rider University -- quite a contrast either to Thatcher or to
the present CEO of Hewlett-Packard.