I was reading an article called Nancy Armstrong's "What feminism did to novel studies" and one of the things it mentioned early on in the article was something called the "anxiety of influence." As always when I hear something that I don't know about, I go out in search of answers.
One of my professors once mentioned that some people are more into theory than others. I am into theory, though I like to see it applied to works of literature, especially the kind I am familiar with, because then I have a much easier time seeing what theorists mean when they assert a particular claim. Seeing them apply an idea demonstrates they have thought the idea out and illustrates for readers how they should similarly apply the idea.
One of the many complaints I've heard of women's literature over the years is that it never does anything new or daring. Maybe it's because we are forced into a defensive position, much like when dealing with something like the gaze. We're never able to just create art for the sake of creating art for ourselves or the way we want it. We have to create art that will earn the respect of our male colleagues.
I'm hoping, as women fight to have a better place within society, that these problems will (and hopefully already have) dissipated.
I took a class on African history, and we read an essay by an African author who complained about how white American and European authors dominated the educational lives of Africans. When some of these Africans decided to be writers, they felt forced to write not in their own native languages but in their oppressor's language, just to have their ideas heard. It seems like, at least in this case, authors of color weren't creating the art they wanted to, they were were creating it based on the traditions and rules of the dominant power, similar to what Gilbert and Gubar talk about.