feminism, f-word, consciousness-raising, underground, Sarah Grand, The Heavenly Twins, Dorothy Bryant, Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary, Journal
In the chapters of my thesis, I explore how "soft" consciousness-raising novels of the first, second and third-waves of feminism practice underground feminism by covertly exposing women's socio-political issues outside of the confines of feminist rhetoric. In moving away from the negative connotations of political language, the authors enable the education of female audiences otherwise out of reach. Working from and extending on various theorists, I construct a theoretical model for what I term underground feminism. Running on the principal of conducting feminist activism without using feminist rhetoric, underground feminism challenges the notion that "subtle" feminism means weak feminism. In illustrating how underground feminism works in novels and in physical activism, I hope to encourage the recognition of the political utility of women's writings that do not fit the strict archetypes of feminist authorship. Analyzing the effectiveness of covert feminist conversion narratives, I discuss one soft consciousness-raising novel for each wave. The novels - Sarah Grand's The Heavenly Twins (1893), Dorothy Bryant's Ella Price's Journal (1972), and Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary (1996) - accused by scholars of employing weak feminist politics, are investigated as feminist literature that disidentifies with the feminist label with the possibility of facilitating a wide spread conversion process in "would be" feminists. After analyzing how the novels place women's issues at the center of discourse by discussing female education, women's voice, and narrative control, I consider how the underground feminism implicit in the texts extends to activism outside of literature. I also end by arguing that these novels enable a more intricate conversation about women's issues in which the voices of both self-identified and non-identified feminists are recognized.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Perez, Jeannina, "Three Waves Of Underground Feminism In "soft" Conscious' Raising Novels" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4344.