All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Queering the borders: Lorraine Hansberrys 1957 Letters to The Ladder
Unformatted Document Text:  Queering the Borders: Hansberry’s Letters to The Ladder, 22 always, is intolerable.” 66 She then returns to the main line of her argument, adding both an economic and gender dimensions to her analysis, before turning back to ethics: “I suspect that the problem of the married woman who would prefer emotional-physical relationships with other women is proportionally much higher than a similar statistic for men. This is because the estate of woman being what it is, how could we ever begin to guess the numbers of women who are not prepared to risk a life alien to what they have been taught all their lives to believe was their ‘natural’ destiny – AND – their only expectation for ECONOMIC security. It seems to me that this is why the question has an immensity that it does not have for male homosexuals. We must, as noted above, take a dim view of anyone who treats a married partner without respect; but at the same time I should imagine that we would have a particularly sensitive and sympathetic awareness of the nature of the ‘social trap’ (I cannot think of a better set of words at the moment) which the fundamental position of women as a sex is likely to force many women into – homosexual or heterosexual.” Here Hansberry’s analysis of marriage and its implications for women’s sexuality reflects her sophisticated intersectional politics – not only does she go far beyond a privatized and psychological framing of marriage, but she explicates a feminist and political economic understanding of the specific historical particularity of women’s and particularly lesbian (as opposed to homosexual) experience. This understanding critiques the ideology of “naturalized femininity” first articulated by Simone De Beauvior in The Second Sex (here I refer to her famous claim “that one is not born but is made a woman”). Thus when Hansberry challenges in this letter what women “have been taught all their lives to believe was their ‘natural’ destiny” she is both joining and extending a feminist dialogue about the ideology of gender begun with De Beauvior and continuing today. 67 Hansberry returns to the question of ethics in the next full paragraph of her August letter when she articulates a call for women intellectuals: “For instance, the whole realm of morality and ethics is something that has escaped the attention of women by and large. And it needs the attention of intellectual women most desperately. I think 66 Ibid., 28. 67 Hansberry was apparently influenced by the Second Sex and left at her death an unpublished essay on Simone de Beauvoir. Lorraine Hansberry, “Simone De Beauvoir and The Second Sex: An American Commentary,”.in Words of Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought, ed. Beverly Guy-Sheftall (New York: The New Press, 1995) 128-142.

Authors: Lipari, Lisbeth.
first   previous   Page 22 of 28   next   last



background image
Queering the Borders: Hansberry’s Letters to The Ladder, 22
always, is intolerable.”
66
She then returns to the main line of her argument, adding both an economic and
gender dimensions to her analysis, before turning back to ethics:
“I suspect that the problem of the married woman who would prefer emotional-physical
relationships with other women is proportionally much higher than a similar statistic for men.
This is because the estate of woman being what it is, how could we ever begin to guess the
numbers of women who are not prepared to risk a life alien to what they have been taught all
their lives to believe was their ‘natural’ destiny – AND – their only expectation for ECONOMIC
security. It seems to me that this is why the question has an immensity that it does not have for
male homosexuals. We must, as noted above, take a dim view of anyone who treats a married
partner without respect; but at the same time I should imagine that we would have a particularly
sensitive and sympathetic awareness of the nature of the ‘social trap’ (I cannot think of a better
set of words at the moment) which the fundamental position of women as a sex is likely to force
many women into – homosexual or heterosexual.”
Here Hansberry’s analysis of marriage and its implications for women’s sexuality reflects her
sophisticated intersectional politics – not only does she go far beyond a privatized and psychological
framing of marriage, but she explicates a feminist and political economic understanding of the specific
historical particularity of women’s and particularly lesbian (as opposed to homosexual) experience. This
understanding critiques the ideology of “naturalized femininity” first articulated by Simone De Beauvior
in The Second Sex (here I refer to her famous claim “that one is not born but is made a woman”). Thus
when Hansberry challenges in this letter what women “have been taught all their lives to believe was
their ‘natural’ destiny” she is both joining and extending a feminist dialogue about the ideology of gender
begun with De Beauvior and continuing today.
67
Hansberry returns to the question of ethics in the next
full paragraph of her August letter when she articulates a call for women intellectuals:
“For instance, the whole realm of morality and ethics is something that has escaped the attention
of women by and large. And it needs the attention of intellectual women most desperately. I think
66
Ibid., 28.
67
Hansberry was apparently influenced by the Second Sex and left at her death an unpublished essay on Simone de
Beauvoir. Lorraine Hansberry, “Simone De Beauvoir and The Second Sex: An American Commentary,”.in Words of
Fire: An Anthology of African American Feminist Thought
, ed. Beverly Guy-Sheftall (New York: The New Press,
1995) 128-142.


Convention
Convention is an application service for managing large or small academic conferences, annual meetings, and other types of events!
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 22 of 28   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.