I am sorry to say this, but if you think the issue is pickiness and you think
the issue is whether Thatcher is "liberated," you also need to read about
30 years of feminist theory.  Hildegarde von Bingen was a very assertive,
powerful, and liberated woman, but it had nothing to do with "feminism" as
such and it had nothing to do with the position of women in the middle
ages.  Elizabeth I of England had far more power than Thatcher, but she
was not a feminist.

Date sent:              Sat, 30 Nov 2002 20:30:22 -0800
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Thatcher, feminism, etc.
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Alright, lets avoid muddying the waters with
academicism. Was Margaret Thatcher, or was she not,
a liberated woman? Without all of the efforts of
women which preceded her, of which feminism was
merely the bow on the rose, would Auntie Maggie
have been able to get to her high office or not?
In other words, let's not avoid the issue with pickiness?


Dr. Peter C. Montgomery
Dept. of English
Camosun College
3100 Foul Bay Rd.
Victoria, BC CANADA V8P 5J2
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-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Saturday, November 30, 2002 8:26 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Thatcher, feminism, etc.

Dear Marcia,

Of course many women did and do things that fit the ideas of feminism. But
that is not the same thing as being a feminist.  Many people who are not
liberals are accepting of difference and personally generous.  Many people
who are not Christians behave in ways that far more fit the images and
words of Jesus than those of professed believers.  (In fact, much of what
many so-called "Christians" today claim would certainly have appalled
Jesus.) But feminism is not simply isolated actions; it is a way of seeing
the world that is complex, as you know, and makes connections among
structures that are or were assumed to be either "natural" or essential or
true and were none of those things.  "The personal is political" was
started by radical feminists and was not simply a way to include all
behavior that asserted a woman's individual self, however it may have
facilitated that.

Hrosvitha or Marjorie Kemp did things that were clearly assertive and were
what one might call "pre-feminist," but feminism was a developing and
developed vision of the way the world was constructed. Best, Nancy

Date sent:              Sat, 30 Nov 2002 00:17:09 -0500
Send reply to:          "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum."
<[log in to unmask]>
From:                   Marcia Karp <[log in to unmask]>
Subject:                Re: Marianne Moore poem in WWII
To:                     [log in to unmask]

Nancy Gish wrote:

> As I agreed with Carrol, I want to clarify why.  He said that feminism
> was a political position.  "The personal is political" was just that.
> Thatcher did not have a political position that addressed what the line
> meant at all; she did not have a politics that took any account of the
> lives of women as such. I don't think your point and his are at odds.

I think none of us is much at odds.  But "the personal is political" did
not necessitate a conscious political position.  While the stalwarts and
writers formed them, they granted that other women who did not, were
taking de facto political positions when they behaved in certain ways.
These ways, of course, were never well defined.  But, in the context of
the times, the woman who stopped doing all the housework was taking a
political stand whether she "knew" it or accepted it.

Don't forget all those arguments about whose movement this was and the
warnings that the academics and polemicists didn't own it.  Not all women
had the luxury or interest or ability to take positions that they called
political.  "The personal is political" can be seen as a concession that
welcomed a variety of women.  Perhaps it's come to be a requirement that
one take a stand about the slogan; I don't know.  But it wasn't always
that; the two states are in rhetorical apposition.