shulamith firestone et al.

Mon, 20 Feb 1995 13:19:25 EST

I, too, read the first reference to Shulamith Firestone
as woman-baiting. However, as I couldn't quite remember
what particular spin Firestone's theories took vis a vis
sex-specific differences, I held my peace. Ruby Rohrlich
didn't (bless her very good instincts). I don't like
to wade into the fray unless I've my gorgeous data right
at hand and can win my point because I've done my homework.
So here am I to say because I cannot recall the Firestone
take on sex-specific differences, I cannot imagine any other
interpretation intended but Ruby's.

Could the context for the Firestone quip be explained please?

For those of you who are still wondering who's this Firestone..?
An articulate and influential theorist who--along with Betty
Friedan, Simone deBeauvoir, Adrienne Rich, Maya Angelou, and
a good many others--helped frame key feminist issues, c. 1960-70.
You can find essays and further discussions in the first issues
of MS magazine. The initial one with Wonder Woman on the cover
came out late in 1971 (or early 72?).

It might be worthwhile for younger members of the list to look
up those early issues in your library. You'd be surprised I think
to see how committed we all were to reasoned discussion and the
fair and accurate presentation of grievance.

After 25, 30 years however, one gets a little weary, a little frayed
trying to make oneself heard as a reasonable person. Per usual,
Ruby's right. The reference to Shulamith Firestone quite undercut
the information contained in the press release.

Now, here's how I read that press release. I noted that the material
used for identifying seemingly sex-specific brain differences was
print text. Would the results have been the same if visual memory
had been used for data accumulation? ie, check out the ability to
identify colour or size or distance relationships.

I ask that because my own research pool of 120 professional artists
showed NO sex-specific differences in their experience of visions
and other paranormal experiences. These experiences were factors
in their becoming artists. In fact, I found very few sex-specific
differences throughout the study. And that, I tell you, surprised
me and sure surprised the sociologist consulting on the work. We
had expected different results.

Conclusion? Well, I'm planning on a long, long life because I've
lots more work to do to sort out this finding.

best wishes,
Maureen Korp, PhD
University of Ottawa