Eliot was hardly the expert on women.  By all accounts and gossip of the day as well as by his own poetry, he was rather shy with women in general and greatly put off by the emotional instability of his first wife, Vivian.  That he depicted women in a certain way is understable given his personality and experience, but I suspect that until Valerie, he really didn't know women's hearts or souls well at all.


-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 6:01 pm
Subject: Re: Sex and Gender, was Jeremiah ...?

They did not define it that way, they reported or described or
represented it.  What do you think Eliot does in TWL?  It's hardly a
thrilling vision of women's hearts and souls.

>>> Kate Troy <[log in to unmask]> 07/15/07 4:00 PM >>>
These brilliant scientists and poets and thinkers throughout history 
female as those humans with a particular social role in society?   Then,
say that they weren't so brillant.
In a message dated 7/15/2007 3:48:00 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

It is  then astonishing how many brilliant scientists and poets and
thinkers  throughout history saw social roles.

>>> Kate Troy  <[log in to unmask]> 07/15/07 1:07 PM >>>

As an artist  (painter), it is clear to me that the differences between
and female go beyond the biological and the contour; it is, in fact,  a
of  heart and soul, and social roles have nothing to do  with it.


In a message dated 7/15/2007 12:53:55 P.M. Eastern  Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

Nancy  Gish  wrote:
> Eliot is a dead poet and a topic of debate and   study, not a
> in the debate.
> Gender  does  not mean sex, and its separate meaning is one of  those
> has become  quite distinct in usage.  It is  not a euphemism for sex,
> which  does not need a euphemism anyway,  as in academic terms it
> to  biological difference as  distinguished from social roles.  Read 
> current or recent  texts on gender.
>  Nancy

Considering how fixed the  distinction between sex and gender is  I'm
amazed that any literate  person isn't familiar with it.

Even  after making the distinction  (gender = social; sex = biology)
still  remain problems: Up  until a couple centuries ago (this is
by some  of course) the  model was one sex, two genders: the difference
between men  and women  was a difference of degree -- women were
incompletely 'cooked'  men.  See Thomas Laqueur, _Making Sex: Body and
Gender from the Greeks to   Freud_ (Harvard UP, 1990). See also a fine
review by Stephen Jay  Gould,  "The Birth of the Two-Sex World," NYRB,
June 13,  1991.

Gould  emphasizes that in terms of biology there are equal  arguments
the  one-sex and the two-sex models. Politically I have  held elsewhere
that  probably the most desirable model is one-sex,  many genders. But
that _is_ a  POLITICAL not a biological or medical  issue. The biology
quite neutral  on the topic.

From Gould's  review:

The "two-sex model"  replaced this concept of  woman and man as two
on a graded continuum  with a notion of  two fundamentally distinct
entities, bearing different  organs that  imply divergent behaviors and
aptitudes; (divergent perhaps,  but  still eminently rankable, for
is the one invariant in this   history of transition). Laqueur writes:

Thus the old model, in  which  men and women were arrayed according to
their degree of  metaphysical   perfection, their vital heat, along an
axis whose  telos was  male, gave way by the late eighteenth century to
new  model of radical  dimorphism, of biological divergence. An anatomy
and  physiology of   incommensurability  replaced a metaphysics  of
hierarchy in the  representation of woman in relation to  man.

Why did this transition  occur, and why over a broad stretch  of time
centered on the early  eighteenth century? The answer cannot  lie in any
simplistic notion of  empirical discovery wrested from  nature by
triumphant science (quite a set  of male images). I shall  return to the
role of empirics among other causes  of transition later  in this
but a simple reason suffices to debar  factual  adequacy as a primary
agent of the switch: neither model is  "correct"  by any morphological
standard; both capture elements of  anatomical  reality.


Both models have supported   male-supremacist ideology, but in different
ways, which can be  crudely  summarized as hierarchical vs "scientific."
Gould's review  discusses that  contrast  also.


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