Citation is a Feminist Act

A few years ago, I read a popular academic feminist book in which the popular feminist author said she was going to do something radical and not quote any white men.

Which meant she plagiarized them, instead.

She not only plagiarized white men, but she also plagiarized a certain lesbian feminist who was a mentor to me — and this rankled me.

When I called her on it, on Twitter, she blocked me.

This raises a particular sticking point, for me: the lack of citation running rampant in articles and essays (and books).

Because of the Internet’s content farm, the constant churning out of feed means that writers spend little time engaging in writing that has come before them. This serves to their advantage, as they can claim their ideas to be wholly new. Unique. Genius.

I wish writers today would be more rigorous in the development of their ideas. Adding context, pointing to similar ideas that have been published before, shows a lineage and a knowledge that enriches one’s argument.

Citation is a feminist act because it illustrates that ideas are not produced in the silo of the mind, vacuum-sealed off from society, but are products of a history, of a collective of thinking.

Citation reveals a community — of thinking, of ideas, of values.

And that, to me, is profoundly feminist.