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A Case For An Enlightened Feminist Rhetorical Theory

By Author: li.white
Total Articles: 41

When asked which foreign writer she could best relate to, Wang Anyi answered, "Toni Morrison. Her feminism is most appealing to me for she takes into accounts not only gender but also race and class". The connection between two of the best-known women writers in the United States and China demonstrates the inevitability of transnational literary encounters. Separated by the Pacific, Morrison and Wang do not speak each other's language nor write directly to Omega Speedmaster Replica Watches each other, but their literary works have been transmitted through worldwide media, translations, and conferences. Their connection illustrates how effective feminist criticism would be, if writers and critics could connect through dialogues.

Better still, if feminist literary critics could take it as a serious enterprise to listen to the writers under study, they could further enrich already gendered reading of world literature. In Wang's case, if all Western critics had interpreted her fiction in accordance with her writing philosophy and the cultural and historical specificities in her works, then she would not have singled out Morrison's feminism as the only type she could relate to. Instead, she and her cohort, Post-Mao women writers,1 would have appreciated Western feminist representations of their literature. Since the late 1980s, Western critics' interest in Chinese women's life, history, and writing has exploded. Recognized as milestones in modern Chinese literature, Post-Mao women's novels have become classics in American colleges for teaching about Chinese women. Anyone who wishes to study Chinese women and their literature ends up reading these writers. More important, Post-Mao women's writing careers spanning three decades have put them at Tag Heuer Replica Watches the forefront of Chinese literary evolution. Also called nuxingzuojia, these writers have been writing passionately about women in their fiction, speaking for women in other forms, and vehemently criticizing gender discrimination. Almost all of their works can be considered feminist in the sense that they showcase Chinese women's issues and daily material lives.

Yet baffling their Western sisters, almost all Post-Mao women writers deny that they are feminists. For example, Wang Anyi declares that she is not a feminist, and reflects on her contact with feminism: "The feminist standpoint I know is mostly imported from the West. Consequently, many feminists look at China from a Western point of view. Their standpoints are different. Similarly, of the seven women writers of Wang's immediate cohort whose essays on gender I have anthologized, four of them deny that they are feminists. The ostensible contradiction between their "antifeminist" position and their feminist writing has confounded Western critics. Since the early 1990s, their rejection of Western feminism has undergone intensive examination, but with little agreement.

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