“Now, in the academy, you cannot just say anything about male theory. You have to proceed with an immanent critique, that is to say, you have to expertly play the parts against the whole. You show, for example, how certain assumptions in the work actually defeat its stated purpose of human liberation, but once remedied, i.e. salvaged, the theory will work for women. An immanent critique can stay within the masculinist academic circle. In this position women become the technicians of male theory who have to reprogram the machine, turning it from a war machine against women into a gentler, kinder war machine, killing us softly. This is a very involving task and after years of playing this part it is understandable that there may be little desire to admit that the effort was virtually futile. An investment has been made, and the conformity is not wholly outer. What attitudes and feelings does this sexist context produce towards oppositional women who refuse this male material? Does a male-circled woman have the power and security to be generous? Having compromised her freedom, will she be less willing to compromise ours? Perhaps the most pernicious aspect of this arrangement, besides the ways it sets women against one another, is the fact that although the male academy values owning our freedom, it does not have to pay a lot for it. Masculine culture already controls gross amounts of female lives. Still, it seems to want more, but always at the same low price. The exploited are very affordable.”


Somer Brodribb
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