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Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. Sell on Amazon Start a Selling Account. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. In the highly politicized lesbian discourse of the s, separatism was seen by many as the logical extension of feminism. Considering the patriarchal conditions women continue to be subjected to and the consequent suffering inflicted on them, it seemed logical to the advocates of separatism that all women would have to be lesbians and all lesbians separatists Lettice Women who maintained relations of any kind with men were seen by separatists as unable to dissociate themselves from a society structured in terms of heterosexuality and disproportionate male power.

The final goal was to overthrow patriarchy and the way by which this goal would be reached was through a total withdrawal of female energy from men. This counter-society was meant to entail a counter-discourse empowering the women who participated in it. While women in urban areas formed task-oriented collectives e. However, the hard physical work involved and lack of skills and experience of previously urban separatists meant that most separatist country communities lasted less than ten years Faderman For a certain period of time, however, separatism or at least a woman-centred life was the ideal for many women.

The extremism engendered by social control usually renders the community a target of criticism and ridicule to the outside world. Hostility and confrontation led to further withdrawal, the subsequent development of a quasi-religious notion of martyrdom on the links between separatism and Puritanism see Koller , and to an even stronger bonding within the community.

The separatist movement found itself cornered and gradually began to turn its energy and aggression inside, i. On another level, splits were effected by the debate over the question whether boy children should be allowed in separatist communities, a debate which hurt and estranged many women Shugar ; Stein Ironically, this debate inverts hegemonic discourse with its higher value placed on all things male and masculine.

Such negative prioritizing of men in the form of anti-men feeling or even violent men-hating contradicts the separatist ideal of always putting women first. Separatism may have survived into the s and even beyond, but it has diminished to a marginal phenomenon.


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Full-time separatism as a political strategy seems to have failed. The analysis of the sample text will show how features of s discourse are combined with devices more typically found in contemporaneous consumerist discourses. The fact that those later, hybrid texts on separatism were distributed through emerging electronic media points toward the changing practices of text production, distribution and reception in lesbian communities.

Ever since the s, separatists had had few media outlets to disseminate their ideas, either because their ideas were perceived as too radical to find an audience or because separatists themselves preferred to keep a splendid isolation:. A few feminist presses Shugar Consequently, publishing was of central importance within the separatist community. These discourses find their reflection in different forms of media and publishing, but also in hybrid texts that show a combination of radical political discourses with those of consumerism.

Indeed, hybridity is a defining feature of the example chosen for this analysis, in which different discourses are used by one and the same author, who tries to adapt a political programme of the s to the socio-political context of the s.

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Reproduced from the homepage of its author, the text is one of the very few separatist links that can be found on the internet. While there is a vast number of lesbian links in general, it seems that separatists have not found their way into the medium. Such a stance shows either in absence from the medium altogether or in a suspicious and defensive attitude conveyed on the internet, a sort of criticism from within.

It is obvious that free access to information, the cornerstone of the internet, is anathema to lesbian separatism since restriction of access is seen as a way of deriving the dominant culture of the energy it thrives on. Since most texts on separatism are published in non-digital form pamphlets, articles, anthologies , the present sample text represents a rare exception at the time of its writing. Such hybridity indicates the changing identities that a younger generation of lesbians brought about in the s.

The second person pronoun is used 27 times throughout the text. Since no mention is made of a text receiver, the focus is solely on the process of writing, thus confirming that writing can be a form of political practice and as such is particularly salient for separatists. Together, rhetorical questions, imperatives and anticipation help include the reader and make her identify with the text.

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The reader is envisaged as female, and women as a group are indeed the second most prominent actor, being referred to eleven times throughout the extract. By drawing together the reader, her friends and women in general, the author juxtaposes the personal and the political, indicating that individual suffering is a consequence of structural violence. This list embodies the covert prestige of oppression that can be observed as a value in separatist discourse in general.

It seems that the author does not, perhaps cannot, describe a lesbian community in detail, be it in positive or negative terms, and that dominant patriarchal culture is still the point of reference. This disregard for desire and the equation of lesbians with women is typical of s lesbian feminist discourse see Koller Reference is therefore very similar to that for women as a group, pointing towards an understanding of either group as homogeneous, with each representative typical of the group as a whole.

Gender Discourse and Society

The higher number of references to men shows the paradoxical separatist occupation with this group of social actors. The author thus secures the basis of lesbian separatism: in order to develop a collective identity, women must leave male-defined society. The reader is shown to be engaged in a number of relational processes, which are mostly effected through rhetorical questions e. Interestingly, this process type is here not so much used to construct a group identity but rather to describe a negatively evaluated state that propels change.

Change is the central motif of the text, flagged up even in the present continuous of the title, and its starting point is dissatisfaction and repulsion. Another particularity of the text is the high number of reflexive processes, in which the reader is both actor and goal of the action. This linguistic device embodies the separatist belief that women need to change their own consciousness and withdraw from the world, and suggests that the separatist agenda is not primarily about changing the world but about changing oneself.

Set in parentheses, the pronoun occurs at a sensitive moment in the text , where it is used as a politeness device to repair a previous potential offence to the reader. This example of deontic modality reinforces the imperatives that are prominent elsewhere in the text. Granting permission in this way represents a condescending power gesture by which the author puts herself in the place of a parent controlling a child, i.

However, the author takes the sting out of her obvious condescension by remarking in brackets on her own TV consumption. By employing the first person singular for the first and only time throughout the text, she provides a sharp contrast to the attitude she displays elsewhere, showing that she herself is not infallible. Along with the assumed shared knowledge about the TV series, the two parenthetic sentences are aimed at creating solidarity between author and reader and modify the previous authoritarian tone.

They are thus a politeness device used to do repair work in the simulated conversation between writer and reader. This group is embedded in a male-defined society that has detrimental effects on women. Consequently, the reader is encouraged to leave that society an become a lesbian separatist.

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Figure 1 summarizes social actor representation in the text in the form of a diagram. Taking up traces of religious discourse in order to integrate lesbian feminist discourse makes the text at hand an example of multiple interdiscursivity. The second central metaphor is that of sickness e. Thus, lesbian feminist thought is said to centre on the idea that.

Wolf , In an essentialist fashion, a particular identity is therefore presupposed as inherent and authentic, to be discovered and enacted if one is to live to the full. Traces of the procedural genre of the do-it-yourself manual show in lines , where they are combined with features of other, hortatory genres aiming to influence behaviour and beliefs Longacre In this part, the text paradoxically conveys both authority and solidarity. Traces of this are anticipated questions by the reader, rhetorical questions, direct address, and the final offer of lesbian separatism that is presented as an alternative to a negatively evaluated patriarchal society and thus as a solution to a problem established in the text.

In a marketing context, action would mean the consumer buying a particular product. In the present context, action means the reader embracing the idea of a certain lifestyle and working towards its realization.

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The author thus makes unabashed use of promotional genres, something that earlier lesbian feminists had still ridiculed and rejected see Koller In the late s, however, we see a politically oriented lifestyle being advertised on the internet without a hint of irony. Given the strictly anti-consumerist, collectivist stance displayed in lesbian feminist discourse, mixing it with advertising genres targeted at the individual consumer seems bold to say the least. The model of collective identity conveyed in the sample text is one of lesbian identity as defined along political lines, and the category is expanded to potentially include all women.

Crucially, however, the in-group is under-defined and less differentiated than the out-group.


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Looking at how that model is communicated in the concrete text, we see that one group of social actors are women, of which the reader is a part. This is contrasted with men as constituting society. The latter is evaluated negatively, and in greater detail than women, or lesbians, as a group.

Furthermore, the author mixes lesbian feminist discourse with promotional and self-help genres, leading to a conceptual clash in the text, which inadvertently transforms lesbian discourse and the model of collective identity that it transports. Indeed, the whole text is strikingly heterogeneous, combining various discursive resources in order to convey models of collective identity.

The text at hand is an excellent example of how notions of collective identity and particular ideologies are recontetxulized in different contexts. This basic structure requires features from different genres and discourses, which leads to hybridity. Secondly, the author may wish to target more readers than she could by staying within the confines of a particular discourse or genre. Finally, hybridity and contradiction in texts can reflect social change. This reason seems most prominent, as the author takes a concept from s discourse and transplants it into the context of the s, in which consumerism and individualism had already largely taken over as societal values.

The fact that the text was published on the internet is only the outward manifestation of this new context. As for the former, the analysis showed that a text can be remarkably hybrid, especially in times of social change, combing conflicting and even incompatible discourses and genres. An act involves making decisions. Computers, or brains, do not make decisions.