Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Who's Speaking for Whom?

The systematic looting of language can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties for menace and subjugation. Oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence; does more than represent the limits of knowledge; it limits knowledge. . . . Sexist language, racist language, theistic language - all are typical of the policing languages of mastery, and cannot, do not permit new knowledge or encourage the mutual exchange of ideas.
--Toni Morrison

I should feel exceedingly diffident to appear before you wholly unused as I am to public speaking, were I not nerved by a sense of right and duty. . . . did I not believe that woman herself must do this work--for woman alone can understand the height and the depth, the length and the breadth of her own degradation and woe. Man cannot speak for her--because he has been educated to believe that she differs from him so materially, that he cannot judge of her thoughts, feelings and opinions by his own.
--Elizabeth Cady Stanton

John McCain wants Sarah Palin to be a feminist. Serrin Foster wants feminists to be "Feminists for Life." Joseph Smith wanted Moroni to be a spokesangel for the Church of Jesus Christ. Mary Baker Eddy wanted her followers to be Christian scientists. Georges Vacher de Lapouge wanted Aryans to be a race.

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