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Gender in the MirrorCultural Imagery and Women's Agency$
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Diana Tietjens Meyers

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195140415

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195140419.001.0001

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Live Ordnance in the Cultural Field: Gender Imagery, Sexism, and the Fragility of Feminist Gains

Live Ordnance in the Cultural Field: Gender Imagery, Sexism, and the Fragility of Feminist Gains

Chapter:
(p.167) Chapter Seven Live Ordnance in the Cultural Field: Gender Imagery, Sexism, and the Fragility of Feminist Gains
Source:
Gender in the Mirror
Author(s):

Diana Tietjens Meyers (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195140419.003.0007

At the same time as the gender imagery discussed in preceding chapters mandates feminine desires and values for women, it normalizes misogynistic bigotry. None of the solutions that cognitive psychologists and psychoanalytic theorists propose would suffice to wipe out sexism, for all of the remedies derived from these theories bypass one of sexism's major contributing causes, namely, culturally entrenched representations of womanhood. Since men in patriarchal cultures internalize a sexist cultural patrimony that harnesses lasting emotion and potent motivation to flimsy, but seemingly solid rationales for misogynistic practices, a feasible and effective program for resisting and subduing sexism must include a feminist discursive politics aimed at replacing this heritage of derogatory imagery with emanci patory gender imagery. As long as misleading feminine stereotypes remain integral to western mythologies of selfhood and human purpose, unconscious sexism will persist, backlash movements will thrive, and women's social and economic gains will be fragile.

Keywords:   cognitive psychology, misogyny, psychoanalytic theory, sexism, stereotype

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