Monday, November 13, 2006

Jordan, Lorde, Sontag, Butler, Willis... Who Will Be Left to Speak?

Feisty, fabulous feminist essayist Ellen Willis died yesterday. The silencing of a major leftist voice in the US is a cautionary note after last week's midterms victory for the newly centrist Democrats. Willis was a pioneering voice for abortion, an expanded definition of family, workplace rights, pro-sex feminism and cultural radicalism.

She was also one of the first people to bridge academia and activism, and one of the last of a generation of feminist essayists who included Susan Sontag. Katha Pollitt is one of the few remaining feminists writing regularly for US national publication and receiving global attention (OK, Naomi Klein and Noreena Hertz are the newbies). Don't even mention Caitlin Smith or Ariel Levy, who Willis would have torn to shreds in seconds.

Where are the feminist essayists of our generation, trained in the humanities and thinking politically? Lots of brilliant women write for Bitch and Bust, many of them combining academic or professional careers with activist writing. But not the New Yorker or Why is that? And why are so many of the voices that do get heard those of attractive white middle-class women?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you read "Lost Girls", by Alan Moore??? It´s just curiosity because i´m waiting for these three little books with expectation...