This week, in an attempt to prove that Canonball is not just about hearing ourselves talk (well, not entirely, anyway) we opened things up a bit with our first two guest posts. Farley Miller wrote about his experience as a male student at a women’s college and raised a lot of intriguing questions about whether or not men can appreciate feminist art. Should guys reverentially eschew feminist poetry on the grounds that they’ll never fully be able to “get” it? I think Miriam effectively (and eloquently) shot that suggestion down in the comments: “The poems resonate with you; that means they have succeeded as poems, not that you have missed the point. Might some people out there get offended by your big stinky privileged white man feet stomping all over their precious feminist poetry? Maybe. But as we all know, haters gonna hate.”
Meanwhile, RJ Pettersen chronicled his failed summer plan to read books only by female authors. He ultimately chalked his failure up to “laziness,” and we think that brings up an interesting point. There’s a certain, frustrating ubiquity to sexist culture, and often it requires a little extra reach to seek out alternatives — the unsung masterpieces that the hegemony of the literary canon obscures, the televisions shows that are…not Two and a Half Men, etc. In that regard, the conclusion RJ came to about laziness reminded us of Lindsay’s post about irony last week, and her distinction between passive (read: lazy) irony and active critique. But, RJ’s piece makes us wonder, is there even more effort required for men to step out of the prescribed idea of What They’re Supposed to Be Reading and reach for a copy of Jane Eyre?
Both posts made me think of the sort of limited scope into which most people categorize “women’s art” or “feminist art,” and how that categorization often limits the work’s exposure. Quoth the immortal Chantal Akerman — a director whose films are often christened with the “feminist” epithet: “I think it’s poor and limiting to think of my films as simply feminist. You wouldn’t say of a Fellini film that it’s a male film…When people say there is a feminist film language, it’s like saying there’s only one way for women to express themselves.”
All of this makes us want to pose a question to all the dudes out there: are there any other so-called feminist poets/writers/filmmakers/artists whose work you find particularly resonant? Do share in the comments.