Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Gloria Steinem

Chandrea's picture

Is anyone planning to see Gloria Steinem tomorrow? I really want to see her but I don't want to go alone. I also have no idea where anything is at Haverford. I know Julia's going... if anybody wants to meet up and then head over, do let me know!

I remember first learning about Gloria Steinem in my U.S. History II class (my favorite class during my junior year) and I wanted to brush up on some basic stuff that I thought I should remember about her but didn't (and I admit this is embarrassing and probably a professor's worst nightmare) but I checked out her wiki page and I saw this section and thought it was totally related to today's discussion in Anne's class about inaccessibility in academic writing:

Steinem has repeatedly voiced her disapproval of the obscurantism and abstractions prevalent in feminist academic theorizing. She said, "Nobody cares about feminist academic writing. That's careerism. These poor women in academia have to talk this silly language that nobody can understand in order to be accepted...But I recognize the fact that we have this ridiculous system of tenure, that the whole thrust of academia is one that values education, in my opinion, in inverse ratio to its usefulness—and what you write in inverse relationship to its understandability."[79] Steinem later singled out deconstructionists like Judith Butler for criticism: "I always wanted to put a sign up on the road to Yale saying, 'Beware: Deconstruction Ahead'. Academics are forced to write in language no one can understand so that they get tenure. They have to say 'discourse', not 'talk'. Knowledge that is not accessible is not helpful. It becomes aerialised."[80]