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Spring 2021, 51.2, pages: 79-93

From Lucifer to Jezebel: Invitational Rhetoric, Rhetorical Closure, and Safe Spaces in Feminist Sexual Discourse Communities


This essay applies Craig Rood’s concept of rhetorical closure to the specific case study of the creation of feminist discourse communities to discuss sexuality. It looks at the editorial policies of two feminist discourse communities in order to more broadly analyze the ways that rhetorical closure operates constitutively along with invitational rhetoric. It connects these issues to past and current debates about censorship, echo chambers, safe spaces, and trigger warnings in order to show when and how rhetorical closure is intended to prevent harm. Like Rood, I do not resolve questions on distinguishing the effectiveness or ethics of rhetorical closure. Examining a radical feminist periodical of the nineteenth century and the twenty-first-century feminist blogosphere shows how invitational rhetoric works with and as rhetorical closure.


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