It Only Hurts When I Flame: Civil Rights vs. Civility Rights on the Information Superhighway

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James V. Carmichael, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: The current gender and language debates represent in part old battles fought on new ground. The etiquette of letter-writing was surely an antecedent, or at least a corollary, to the current discussion of gender equality in academic discourse. Gender etiquette in letter-writing is now totally relegated to the canon of the arcane, although my mother's 1945 copy of Emily Post contained an enigmatic section entitled "The Letter No Woman Should Ever Write." That letter, of course, was the letter in which a woman expressed her true feelings to a man. Needless to say, such social conventions had parallels in academe and in business life. Women rarely said what they really had to say to men in the public sphere, although at home, they often had the last word. Nevertheless, they managed to achieve remarkable professional feats in spite of men, and were even subject to limited veneration of a chivalric, some would say chauvinistic, variety. In the South, where Victorian conventions prevailed long after they had disappeared elsewhere, female librarians ruled by indirection and what was vaguely known as "southern charm." For all our professional forebears, however, socially prescribed gender roles, and the relationship between men and women were never the monolithic confections that most conventional historical accounts would have us believe.

Additional Information

Published on listserv discussion LIBWAT-L at The University of New York at Buffalo, July, 1994.
Language: English
Date: 1994
Gender, Gender roles, Internet discourse, Etiquette

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