chapter  8
16 Pages

Patricia Elliot: Denial and Disclosure: An Analysis of Selective Reality in the Feminist Classroom

What follows is an attempt to make sense of the apparently contradictory behavior that occurred in my class on gender and society, where the existence of gender inequality was repeatedly denied at the same time as women's personal experiences of abuse were readily disclosed. The coexistence of denial and disclosure struck me as odd, since one does not expect those who deny the oppression of women to offer personal examples of such oppression. Recent studies show that people are likely to grant the existence of oppression generally and then to deny any personal disadvantage that might be

their lot as members of an oppressed group. Faye Crosbyet al. (1989, 80) claim that "Women, as the victims of sex discrimination, tend to imagine, ostrich-like, a personal exemption from the rule of general sex bias that they know to operate in society." In my class, something else was happening. In theorizing what that might be, I draw on both feminist pedagogy and psychoanalytic theory.