In October 2006, PMLA devoted a section of their volume 25, issue number 5, to essays describing the status of feminist criticism today in memory of Nellie Y. McKay. All the essays offered interesting observations about the history and future of feminist criticism, while also noting how, after decades of feminist discourse in both politics and academia, the future of feminism was by no means certain or secure. Toril Moi made especially telling comments in her essay titled “‘I am not a feminist but,…’: How Feminism Became the F Word” (1735–1741). She indicated that feminism was languishing partly because its theoretical stance was too bound to poststructuralism, which made feminist lines of argument “too predictable,” and partly because right-wing extremists, since the 1990s, had been very successful in convincing not only conservatives but also many liberals that feminists were aggressive haters of men (1735–1737). Moi ended the essay on a note of hope that a work as groundbreaking and as exciting as Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex had been after World War II might recharge feminism and provide a means for feminists to “struggle free” of the bonds of poststructuralism and embrace a new theoretical stance that would carry them into the new century (1740).
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Mark E. Wildermuth
- Palgrave Macmillan US