Week 1B--Moving On: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Virginia Woolf says a number of startling things in her 1938 collection of linked essays, Three Guineas (this link will take you to an on-line version, if you haven't been able to get hold of them in hard copy). Perhaps most striking to me is her emphasis on the
- difference of women ("we cannot understand each other because of these differences...we think differently according as we are born differently," p. 9);
- bloodthirsty nature of all professional life and training ("professions make people...possessive, jealous...and highly combative," p. 66); and
- (not to put too fine a point upon it!) challenge to the sort of college (proud its magnificent grounds, buildings, traditions...) that is Bryn Mawr ("the sort of education that is needed...must be ...the poor college, the cheap college...an experimental college, an adventurous college...built of some cheap, easily combustile material which does not hoard dust and perpetrate traditions," p.33).
Woolf comes @ these claims from a very different place than Sojourner Truth, and clearly identifies that position: she speaks, she says, for "the daughters of educated men."
How useful to you, today--to us, today, as a college and as a global community-- is Woolf's form of feminism, one that destroys the obsolete, "vicious and corrupt word 'feminist'" (p. 101), to insist (as an earlier poster observed) on forming an "Outsider's Society," one that works for change and growth "only in obscurity" (p. 114).
(As a further prod...here's her plate, as rendered by Judy Chicago!)