Why gynocriticism considered more positive if we compare it to feminism ?

2 Answers | Add Yours

jpope1's profile pic

Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Gynocriticism is considered more "positive" than feminism because it attempts to create a feminine subculture/counterculture that is markedly distinct from mainstream literary criticism. Gynocriticism is an attempt to address the deconstructivist nature of feminist literary criticism. However, as the above poster mentioned, gynocriticism is an aspect of feminism, and thus can't be considered more "positive" in any moral sense. Gynocriticism is subject to critiques of essentialism and logocentric thinking. Afrocentrism and other cultural nationalist movements are vulnerable to similar critiques. In attempting to create a feminine literary culture, Showalter risks flattening out the lives and voices of all women into a single distorted "female" voice. Many scholars feel that gynocriticism doesn't adequately take into account women's class, cultural, ethnic and religious differences.
Sources:
jwillette135's profile pic

jwillette135 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Gynocriticism, a term coined by Elaine Showalter, is female centered criticism. It is focused on creating female models and theories for studying literature by women and thereby creating a female subculture and separate identity.  Elaine Showalter was a second wave feminist as well as an American feminist, so much of her work was in equalizing women in all aspects of society, including literature and literary scholership.  It could be consered more positive than First Wave feminism for literary study and scholorship because it attempts to include more female writers into the literary cannon and establishing feminist thought as a primary model for understanding and studying literature by women.

Realistically, however, gynocriticism is a facet of feminism and cannot really be compared to feminism directly, though it can be compared to other feminist thought and theoretictions.  For instance, Elaine Showalter could be criticised as being too essentialist in her theoretical framework, meaning that she believes in an essential biological difference between men and women.  For instance, Constructivist feminists may see flaws with her belief that women and men have inherent differences.

We’ve answered 318,913 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question