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February 15, 2007

Kolodny makes me rant not read.

Kolodny uses lots of examples from text with a female narrative and I appreciated this because of the need to differentiate between a male’s interpretation and a female’s. While I may interpret a work one way as a woman, a man might interpret a work entirely differently based on what we’ve learned through the “tradition” Kolodny keeps talking about. She seems to be using this work to defend women as authors more than discuss reader response, though. I didn’t get more than we (males and females alike) must read in a “re-visionary” manner and that each work is unique. While I appreciate her defending women’s perspectives, I just wanted her to get off of her soapbox and write an argument I could use to further myself as a woman, not make me feel like the victim of some frivolous “male oppression.” I’m not anti-feminist, but I just feel that women need to stop playing the victim and start breaking stereotypes instead of whining about them.

Posted by ErinWaite at February 15, 2007 5:48 PM


The attitude you express is in many ways a tribute to the success of the feminist movement. By that I mean that society has changed such that more women today can DO things rather than write about how unfair it is that they CAN'T do things.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 16, 2007 10:41 AM

Thanks, Dr. J. If it wasn't for the movement, I might be tearing some wallpaper or at the very least burning the meatloaf on purpose. Luckily, I get to make my opinions known and that's a freedom most people take for granted.

Posted by: Erin at February 19, 2007 10:24 AM

I agree with you Dr. Jerz, but at the same time, it is very difficult to basically insult the male gender in their readings to say that "While neither the Gilman nor the Glaspell story necessarily excludes the male as reader -- indeed, both in a way are directed specifically at educating him to be a better reader...he is often an inadequate reader" (Kolodny 201).

What better way to get your point across as a feminist essay writer than to bash the male reader, and try to have women educate them. Personally, I think that there are multiple women who read material better than I do, but at the same time, there are women who I feel I understand the material more than them. Trying to create a reader response based off of gender is very difficult to do, and while women are empowered, so are men. That is the only way that I found any positives in this essay.

One more thing, couldn't Kolodny have used a neutral piece of literature to express her points? That would have made more sense to me, and I truly believe that it would have strengthened her argument considerably. Overall, I agree with Erin, who basically has said it in her title that "Kolodny makes me rant, not read." If Kolodny's argument would have been stronger, and used stories that would have pertained to both genders, I would have been way more impressed by her essay.

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 22, 2007 10:41 AM

Once again, Keesey has succeeded in choosing an essay that makes its point clear because it is an extreme statement of a position. If Kolodny had written a more balanced, nuanced essay, it probably wouldn't be in this collection.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at February 22, 2007 11:17 AM

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