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What book was your feminist awakening? How AUDRE LORDE Helped Me Reclaim My Voice

By Dianca London

Novel Gazing is Electric Literature’s personal essay series about the way reading shapes our lives. This time, we asked: What book was your feminist awakening?

I was 25 years old the first time I thought about my voice. It was during my second year as a graduate student at a small liberal arts college outside of Philadelphia. Seated in a semicircle in a fluorescent lit classroom, I quietly looked over the syllabus for EN 444: Women, Writing, and Rhetoric, or “feminist literary theory” as my white self-described third wave professor gleefully called it. Smoothing her skirt, she smiled before assuring me and my classmates that this course and this classroom would be a safe space where we could openly dismantle misogyny and subvert patriarchal pedagogy. Before she could review the required reading list, a woman seated to my left interrupted, asking for the definition for “patriarchy” and whether or not there we would be required to memorize any key terms throughout the semester. Another student, the only man in the room, asked if the course was only for women (he later dropped the class). Continue reading


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