ABSTRACT

This chapter confesses to theoretical and analytic problems in the chapter author’s own feminist work. Here Linda Steiner focuses on lessons learned late, albeit, she hopes, not too late. First, in researching the suffrage press (without calling it the white suffrage press), she overlooked the racism of white nineteenth and twentieth suffragists: She noted what she then called the “arguably racist thinking” of white suffrage leaders and publishers/editors. But she was blind to much of the racism and, under the guise of avoiding “present-ism,” Steiner’s writing significantly minimized what she did notice. Later, although she understood the difference between sex and gender (and argued consistently that it was the latter that mattered), her research and writing about the sex/gender system failed to highlight that sex and especially gender are not binary. Finally, she acknowledges here how a certain naiveté, or over-optimism, led her to underestimate the continuing, serious impact of power-based sexual harassment in workplaces, including throughout media industries. Steiner suggests that acknowledging such mistakes and correcting the record is crucial to feminist work inside and outside the academy and acknowledges the irony that her confession appears to repeat the pattern of making excuses for un-feminist analysis.