On Evaluative Criticism

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Imagine yourself wearing a pair of latex gloves, scraping some dust off the surface of your favourite book or movie with a scalpel and tapping it into a glass vial of clear fluid. Now seal the vial and shake it, stare into its contents. When little Venus symbols to start floating in the solution you can declare to all willing to hear, “This! This is a feminist text!”

A lot of effort goes into arguing whether something is or isn’t feminist. In fairness, this is as tricky a question as people make it out to be. If we are to accept that an author’s intentions don’t always reach the text and that the reader reads themselves in a text than it follows that some amount of, say, feminism, may exist in anything. It also may be that in reaching for something to identify with, audiences may nominate a toothless champion for their defence. This might be the case with Mad Max:…

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