Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Women’s Studies in Communication 23:1 (2000), pp. 16–40.

doi: 10.1080/07491409.2000.11517688


Copyright © 2000 Organization for Research on Women and Communication; published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


Feminist standpoint theories are seldom used by researchers. One possible reason is the ongoing debate between postmodern theorists and feminine standpoint theorists. The debate has been constructed in bipolar terms such that the issues are perceived as mutually exclusive. However, bipolar assumptions are damaging to women, both in general and in organizations. We contend that feminist standpoint theories should theorize similarities, material reality, and communal agency while being sensitive to differences, multiple realities, and individual agency. A study of academic women is used to illustrate how standpoints can develop around similarities while respecting differences. Using a creative narrative, participants’ organizational standpoints were developed around the common experiences of invisibility, overvisibility, isolation, energy dissipation, and a desire for community. Cultural differences, idiosyncratic differences, and differences in the evolution of a consciousness of oppression are discussed.