Thursday, January 19, 2006

the necessity of a feminist press

Sometimes I think my conception of wicked alice/dancing girl as a feminist journal/press is a little, dare I say it, quaint and old-fashioned. It feels like it shouldn’t be necessary in this day and age. That all things, at least in the literary world, should be on equal footing pure and simple. A given. Not that I want to flount that victim complex, that we’re so oppressed propaganda that’s incredibly defeating, but occasionally I hear someone say something, or something surfaces that makes me think that a feminist press is not only important, but damn necessary. My aims were not quite so political so much when I started, but honestly grew more from my interest in women’s writing , from what I studied to what I read on my own.. My own work tends to be very particularly concerned with questions of the feminine and feminity (in the same way that culture or race inform in an authors work) and I sought to seek out and publish similar writing . Not to say the work of men isn’t wholly welcome. I’m apt to publish any good poem that comes across my desk if I really want to, but we still remain “women-centered” no matter what the gender of the author.

Anyway, then something happens, like I see this a while back. Or now, how I see all the National Book Critic's finalists are men, when I know what freakin awesome books by women have been released in the same period of time, and I get my panties all in a bunch and start questioning how much running a feminist journal/press is a political gesture. Or is it the sort of separation, the sort of closing off that only makes things worse? A sort of girls only club that's just as bad? Or do we have a right to a girls-only club since so much is closed to US and overlooked? And is that even what this is given my original intent? For instance, if I said I wanted to start a journal that only published unicorn poems, unicorn-focused poems, that certainly wouldn't be seen as a gender-based issue? Or philosphy-focused poems? Or Chicago-centered poems? Yet immediately the term "women-centered" is politicized, somehow, whether you want it to be or not.

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