The joys of writing an essay

I’m going to fully engage in one of the paradoxes of student life (see my last post) by blogging about essay-writing.  More specifically, I’m going to blog about writing one essay – it’s due on October 5, but because I’m an extramural student I have to post it before then.  And I’m having real trouble buckling down to write it.


Partly, it’s my usual problem of liking research, but not so much liking writing up.  Reading and thinking is much more fun when you’re not accountable for it!  Which is also one of my challenges writing blog posts!

But this time it’s also the topic.  To broadly summarise, the essay is on feminist critiques of counselling theory.  One of the reasons I picked this topic was to force myself to read some feminist theory (I’ve been a proto-feminist for a long, long time by avoiding reading the theory).  I am finding the reading both fascinating and enraging, but getting to the point where I can write coherently and academically about the topic is proving tricky – I ain’t done processing yet!

I know I’m just going to have to force myself to (temporarily) stop reading and get writing – and I can do that.  I’m also planning on doing  a LOT more reading over the summer break.

Disengaging my emotions, however, is another issue – especially with all the personal work I’ve been doing (and blogging about) of facing up to my emotions.  And, of course, in academic writing one is not supposed to be emotional.  I suppose I should be grateful that at least the social sciences now allow a certain amount of reflective writing: one may acknowledge that one may have thoughts/experiences/attitudes that may affect one’s academic objectivity.  Just don’t write “I” too much!

And part of my issue with disengaging my emotions stems from the rage I feel when I read this stuff – not at the feminists, not at the clients, not even at individuals in society.  What enrages me is uncovering the depths of the lies I have been sold as truths in this incredibly unbalanced and unequal society – and the social pressure to keep living those lies and denying my rage (and to think that in the past I’ve wondered why I’ve had to battle depression).

What lies?

Well, here’s some examples ranging from tiddlers to whoppers, in no particular order (I did say I wasn’t entirely coherent on this yet):

  • That psychological research is generally applicable – the majority of studies are of male experience, from which female experience is extrapolated.  We won’t mention ethnicity or race here, except to say that it’s not any better there.
  • That women are only interested in sex to get babies and/or keep/trap men.  And if we do show any other sort of interest or desire, we are sluts who will do it with anyone.
  • That if you’ve slept with anyone beyond your lawful husband at any stage in your life, then you are a slut and thus you can’t be raped.  The fact you consented to sleep with one man means you must want to sleep with them all – even if force is involved.
  • That because women don’t have an external hosepipe our intellectual, emotional and moral development can never be complete – gee, thanks for that, Freud.
  • ‘Penis envy’ – to which all I feel it is necessary to say is ‘groin kicks’.
  • That pornography isn’t degrading to women – even when it shows our rape, mutilation and murder?!
  • Female orgasm by penetration is somehow better than by external stimulation – umm, IMO orgasm good, no matter how you get it (which I suppose must make me a slut?!  Oh, except I’m married – phew!).  I have a sneaking suspicion that this one is to give the guys an excuse for not doing any extra work!
  • That, if you are female, frustration with power inequities in society means you are mentally ill or at least neurotic (and remember, repressed frustration and anger often show themselves as depression – favoured mental illness of women).  Oh, and if you don’t repress your anger you’re in danger of becoming a lesbian  (I still don’t understand why being a lesbian is such a bad thing – is it because men feel left out?!)
  • That women can only find their true fulfilment in the delights of motherhood – more about this on a later post (probably in November, once this semester is finished).  I’ve got a lot to say about popular conceptions of motherhood!

Anyway, back to that essay…


Author: verdant1

belly dancer, mother, student, public servant, shaman, knitter, sister, feminist, gardener and a lot more...

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