How to Suppress Women’s Writing

Joanna Russ

Joanna Russ
University of Texas Press


Joanna Russ remains a favourite of the science fiction community – a radical feminist, academic and writer of brilliant insight with a particular (and crucial) skill for masterfully blending anger and humour; demonstrating and dismantling all that works to restrain and degrade us.

This watertight guidebook demonstrates the ways in which women’s work is supressed and maginalised, including a clear list of the methods you might use to undercut them:

1. Prohibitions 

Prevent women from access to the basic tools for writing.

2. Bad Faith 

Unconsciously create social systems that ignore or devalue women's writing.

3. Denial of Agency 

Deny that a woman wrote it.

4. Pollution of Agency 

Show that their art is immodest, not actually art, or shouldn't have been written about.

5. The Double Standard of Content 

Claim that one set of experiences is considered more valuable than another.

6. False Categorizing 

Incorrectly categorize women artists as the wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, or lovers of male artists.

7. Isolation 

Create a myth of isolated achievement that claims that only one work or short series of poems is considered great.

8. Anomalousness 

Assert that the woman in question is eccentric or atypical.

9. Lack of Models 

Reinforce a male authorial dominance in literary canons in order to cut off women writers' inspiration and role models.

10. Responses 

Force women to deny their female identity in order to be taken seriously.

11. Aesthetics 

Popularize aesthetic works that contain demeaning roles and characterizations of women.


Which I think covers it pretty nicely.