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From “We Other Victorians” to “Pussy Grabs Back”: Thinking Gender, Thinking Sex, and Feminist Methodological Futures in Victorian Studies Today

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2018

Extract

Although this essay is about reading texts from the past, I begin with the present, with a US president who was elected despite widespread knowledge that he had infamously boasted about how he often starts kissing beautiful women without consent. “I don't even wait,” he crowed. “When you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” The internet was soon flooded with angry feminist responses to his crass admission of sexual violence, retorts that appropriated his use of vulgar language with wit and resistance, the most prevalent being the meme “Pussy Grabs Back!” (see fig. 1). The Pussy Hat Project soon followed. As we know, the pussy hat phenomenon offended some who felt it was racist (not all vulvas are pink) and/or transphobic (not all women have pussies). Nevertheless, a sea of pink pussy hats, worn by persons of many embodiments and identity categories, would be seen in protest, worldwide, at the record-breaking post-inauguration Women's Marches across the globe. If “Grab ’em by the pussy” rightly offended, “Pussy Grabs Back!” gained traction.

Type
Essay Cluster: The Futures of Feminist Criticism
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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Footnotes

Many thanks to Sushmita Chatterjee, Kim Q. Hall, Talia Schaffer, and Marion Thain for their generous and thoughtful feedback on earlier drafts of this essay.

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From “We Other Victorians” to “Pussy Grabs Back”: Thinking Gender, Thinking Sex, and Feminist Methodological Futures in Victorian Studies Today
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