Quarterly Essay Online

Quarterly Essay Online-89
in July 2012, said in an interview, I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist.

in July 2012, said in an interview, I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist.

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Abstract: In the third Quarterly Essay for 2006, Inga Clendinnen looks past the skirmishes and pitched battles of the history wars and asks what's at stake - what kind of history do we want and need?

Should our historians be producing the 'objective record of achievement' that the Prime Minister has called for?

When I dismantled his pseudo-theories, he said, “You’re some kind of feminist, aren’t you? I thought, “Isn’t it obvious I am a feminist, albeit not a very good one?

” His tone made it clear that to be a feminist was undesirable. ” I’m not the only outspoken woman who shies away from the feminist label, who fears the consequences of accepting the label.

This is an eloquent and stimulating essay about a subject that has generated much heat in recent times: how we should record and regard the nation's past.

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, described them simply as “women who don’t want to be treated like shit.” This definition is pointed and succinct, but I run into trouble when I try to expand it. I feel like I am not as committed as I need to be, that I am not living up to feminist ideals because of who and how I choose to be. As Judith Butler writes in her 1988 essay, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution”: “Performing one’s gender wrong initiates a set of punishments both obvious and indirect, and performing it well provides the reassurance that there is an essentialism of gender identity after all.” This tension—the idea that there is a right way to be a woman, a right way to be the most essential woman—is ongoing and pervasive.

For Clendinnen, historians cannot be the midwives of national identity and also be true to their profession: history cannot do the work of myth.

Clendinnen illuminates the ways in which history, myth and fiction differ from one another, and why the differences are important.

More disconcerting, though, is the assertion that a feminist wouldn’t take a role on Louis C. All that matters is whether they make good art or bad art.

K.’s sitcom Louie, or that a feminist would be unable to find C. For Leo, there are feminists and then there are women who defy categorization and are willing to embrace career opportunities. So I thought about it, but then I said yes.” Again, we see this fear of categorization, this fear of being forced into a box that cannot quite accommodate a woman properly.


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