Re: your mail

Subject: Re: your mail
From: Barbara Weiss <beweiss -at- UMICH -dot- EDU>
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 10:20:53 -0500

When I was a young girl, reading everything I could get my hands on, I
remember feeling a door slam in my face every time the generic "he" was
used. It was cruel and faceless and ubiquitous and it made me hate my
gender. I thought that I was the only exception to the rule that women
don't think.

It wasn't until I was in my early twenties and part of the counterculture
street scene in Berkeley, CA (1970) that I discovered that almost every
woman I talked to had also believed herself the exception to the rule that
all (OTHER) women were idiots. I was, of course, outraged and relieved
but reluctantly impressed with the invisible but absolute effectiveness of
the male-dominated culture in alienating women both from power and from each

But I'm in my late forties now, and the little girl still reads. I still
well up with pain at the generic "he" and then again at the inability of
people to understand what this has done to children who loved to read and
wanted to be part of the story.

Barbara E Weiss
Editor, U-M Development Communications E-mail: beweiss -at- umich -dot- edu
301 East Liberty Street, 3rd Floor Phone: (313) 998-7907
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2260 Fax: (313) 998-6100

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