Elaine Showalter

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Is gynocriticism a theory or concept? If a concept, does it fall under feminism? Can one use gynocriticism as an analytical tool in a feminist paper?

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Showalter's concept of gynocriticism is a theory and a tool, and it falls under the category of feminism. You could use it in your paper.

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Gynocriticism is a concept introduced by Elaine Showalter in her 1979 essay "Towards a Feminist Poetics."

As the title of the essay demonstrates, Showalter is engaged in making a contribution toward feminist literary theory. Gynocriticism is her primary analytical tool, so you could say the same about your own approach in your paper.

At the time of the essay's publication, standard feminist literary criticism tended to focus on women as readers. However, Showalter's concept of gynocriticism focuses instead on women as generators of textual meaning through the act of writing.

Or to put it another way, gynocriticism emphasizes that women don't simply respond to texts written by men; they create their own texts, expressing their unique subjectivity as women in the process.

By concentrating on women's subjectivity, their experiences, and the specific language they use to articulate those experiences, gynocriticism constructs a conceptual framework which can then be used as a tool to analyze works of literature written by women.

As a consequence, it becomes possible to construct a distinctive female literary tradition in which feminine language, feminine subjectivity, and feminine ways of looking at the world are brought out into the open and examined. Though gynocriticism has been critiqued for a variety of reasons in the decades following the publication of Showalter's essay, it nonetheless remains a significant contribution to feminist theory.

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