Old Wives' Tales and Other Women's Stories by Tania Modleski

By Tania Modleski

Alerting readers to a physique of modern paintings that has long past under-examined, Tania Modleski redraws in outdated other halves' stories the fringe of pop culture. A severe research of flicks comparable to The Ballad of Little Jo, The Piano and Dogfight, outdated better halves' stories additionally takes up functionality, autobiographical event, and modern social matters to demonstrate how women's genres mediate among us and truth. Modelski examines the adjustments happening in conventional women's genres, comparable to romances and melodrama, and explores the phenomenon of woman authors and performers who "cross-dress"--women, that's, who're stepping into male genres and staking out territory declared off-limits through males and by way of many feminists.

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Sample text

That Radway’s analysis of the appeal of romances ended up confirming many of my own arguments seemed to me to support my faith in myself as a representative romance reader. Yet the fact that Radway so vigorously denied any similarity in our arguments infuriated me and caught me up in a paradox: her vehement insistence on the differences between us undermined my belief in the bonds of women, in the fantasy of a shared identity. So, if I challenged Radway by insisting on a certain sameness among women, she in effect challenged me with the fact of difference, and part of that challenge will be taken up in this chapter.

Thus the black man who opposes affirmative action, and who was himself not above soliciting tears when they benefited him, teaches his white middle-class wife (the real-estate developer’s daughter) to get beyond her compassion and thereby fulfills Wright’s mission in the most perverse terms imaginable. In this battle between the sentimentalists and the anti-sentimentalists as I have sketched it here, it will be noted that the women are white and the blacks are men—a state of affairs that of course characterized much of the mass cultural treatment of the Hill/Thomas controversy.

Later Ann Douglas would argue that romances show women to be “magnetized by male sexuality and male brutality” (28). Feminist critics in the early eighties objected to the wholesale dismissal of the genre and proceeded to identify elements of protest against and resistance to female subordination in a male-dominated society. In the nineties these studies have been forgotten or been subjected to misreadings that drastically reduce their complexity. A few people continue to see romance and romantic fantasies as purely masochistic.

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