How to Suppress Women's Writing by Joanna Russ
October 1983
A "guidebook" by Joanna Russ about how women and other "minorities" are prevented from producing written art. These ways are:

  1. Prohibitions
    women's place in higher education is limited, men's work comes first, women had to keep house so had little time to do art, writing not considered women's proper place etc.
  2. Bad Faith
    not thinking about why things are
  3. Denial of Agency deny that a woman wrote it: "a man wrote it", * "it wrote itself", "the man inside her wrote it", "she is more than a woman"
    *see James Tiptree Jr.
  4. Pollution of Agency
    show that art their art is immodest, not actually art, or shouldn't have been written about. Women writers are described as trying to be men, (penis envy), or have to sacrifice "femininity" to write.
  5. The Double Standard of Content
    one sets of experiences is considered more valuable than another. For instance War is important, Home life is not. Women's suffering is different, less valuable. Women's experience is limited, and less likely to be considered general. {I remember from High School when discussing the Handmaid's Tale and 1984 with some classmates - we supposedly had read both for summer reading - that all the females said they could identify both with the man in 1984, and the women in Handmaid's Tale, and with two exceptions (one being the teacher) all the males did not like the Handmaid's Tale because it was a female character and focused on the female experience.}
  6. False Categorizing
    women artists are categorized as the wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, or lovers of male artists. Regionalism and genre are used to separate out "unacceptable" literature. (Children's books, Gothics, Romances, Science fiction, mysteries all consider not serious.) Ever noticed how little respect the romance genre gets?
  7. Isolation
    the myth of isolated achievement - only one work, or a short series of poems are considered great. Anything too political, feminist, homosexual, etc. are ignored. Influence other authors only counts if the other authors are male.
  8. Anomalousness
    only small percentage of women writers are included in anthologies. Connections between women writers are covered up.
  9. Lack of Models
    no role models, no examples or community.
  10. Responses (more conclusions than a reason)
    not to write, to agree w/ societies views, deny that you are a women, by being gender-less, work within "minor genres", make herself different, write only female things.
(from notes I took when reading the book)

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