Tokenism Rules OK?

If Judith Walkowitz investigates Victorian prostitutes, George Sussman can with equal authority take on wet-nursing in nineteenth-century France. Yet discussions on the merits of women's history seem to break along surprisingly atavistic lines: women critics in favour, men against. This often lends an enlivening vehemence to common-room debates. But more importantly, it indicates more deeply-rooted attitudes than simple sexual solidarity (or antagonism). A woman colleague once summed it up in a trenchant and lapidary way: 'The men are looking for different things.' What it comes down to is a difference in perception which cuts through to a more basic level than the usual criteria of academic discussion.

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