He Said, She Said
IN ITS efforts to redress sexual, social, political, economic, artistic, and religious inequalities, the new feminism has thrown into question all those institutions under whose auspices men and women through the centuries have sought to combine their lots or join their fates. Marriage, the family, child-bearing and child-rearing, even the man-woman thing itself, are being subjected to such harsh scrutiny and challenge that it is now difficult for some people to take for granted anything about life between the sexes. At the heart of the dissension, I believe, is a failure of dialogue between man and woman-a failure that to some degree, with notable exceptions, has always existed, and now, with our present self-consciousness, is being experienced with greater anguish. I shall not use the term “dialogue” again-for the reason that the word has become so debased in the last few years that it is used to identify almost any public or private babble. Instead I shall talk about talk-real talk-between a particular man and a particular woman. Be it contentious or amicable, playful or serious, such man/woman talk requires a forthrightness on each side that represents the experience of each, and at the same time is addressed to the experience of the other without duplicity or evasion. Its medium is language, a problematical medium that may obscure as much as it may reveal; yet no other medium will serve.
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