What is a woman? And what does it mean to be a feminist today? In her first full-scale engagement with feminist theory since her internationally renowned Sexual/Textual Politics (1985), Toril Moi challenges the dominant trends in contemporary feminist and cultural thought, arguing for a feminism of freedom inspired by Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. Written in a clear and engaging style What is a Woman? brings together two brand new book-length theoretical interventions, Moi's work on Freud and Bourdieu, (...) and her studies of desire and knowledge in literature. In the controversial title-essay, Toril Moi radically rethinks current debates about sex, gender, and the body - challenging the commonly held belief that the sex/gender distinction is fundamental to all feminist theory. Moi rejects every attempt to define masculinity and femininity, including efforts to define femininity as that which 'cannot be defined. In the second new book-length essay, 'I am a Woman', Toril Moi reworks the relationship between the personal and the philosophical, pursuing ways to write theory that do not neglect the claims of the personal. Setting up an encounter between contemporary theory and Simone de Beauvoir, Moi radically rethinks the need, and difficulty, of finding one's own philosophical voice by placing it in new theoretical contexts. A sustained refusal to lay down theoretical or political requirements for femininity, and a powerful argument for a feminism of freedom, What is a Woman? is a deeply original contribution to feminist theory. (shrink)
The emancipation of women has become a strong critical discourse in Bengali literature since the 19th century. Only since the second half of the 20th century, however, have female writers markedly stepped out of the shadow of their male colleagues, and the writings on women become more and more often articulated by women themselves. In this article, I focus on particular concepts of femininity in selected texts of two outstanding writers of different generations, a prose writer, and a woman (...) poet: Mahasweta Debi (b. 1926) and Mallika Sengupta (1960–2011). Analyzing Mahasweta’s female characters, I focus on the issue of the double marginalization of dalit tribal women; we can find here impacts of intersectional discrimination of class, gender and caste. Debi is very radical in her social criticism but is quite reluctant to accept the label of feminism. Mallika, on the other hand, represents a movement among the female writers of her generation that openly declares her support for feminist ideologies, which can be demonstrated on some of the examples referred to here. Another important strand of Mallika’s constructions of femininity are archetypal images — mythological metaphors of femininity (in the Hindu context) which may in some cases be interpreted in accordance with difference feminism, in others as a critique of the essentialized and dichotomous concepts of masculinity and femininity. While Mahasweta’s emancipation drive is more deeply grounded in her field research and journalistic activism in the tribal areas she writes about, Mallika’s has been more strongly linked with the academia and has joined the theoretical feminist discourse. Through a close reading the women’s emancipation discourse of these two protagonists in Bengali literature, we can speak of a shift from a practical, concrete criticism, to a theoretically founded radicalism. (shrink)
This book offers a clear introductory overview of the concept of gender. It places gender in its historical contexts and traces its development from the Enlightenment to the present, before moving on to the evolution of the concept of gender from within the various stances of feminist criticism, and recent developments in queer theory and post-feminism. Close analysis of key literary texts, including Frankenstein , Paradise Lost and A Midsummer Night's Dream , shows how specific styles of literature (...) enable reflection on gender. (shrink)
Debates concerning the taxation of prostitution have occurred in taxation law and in feminist literature. This article will integrate the case of Polok v. C.E.C.  E.W.H.C, 156;  S.T.C. 361, within the feminist legal canon. The case is discussed in the context of the argument of the European doctrine of fiscal neutrality, which dictates that, regardless of legality as amongst member states, if an activity is levied to V.A.T. in one member state, V.A.T. should be levied on it (...) in all member states. The doctrine of sovereignty accepts the possibility that the integrity of the V.A.T. system may be compromised by the levying of tax on illegal activities, in terms of the cooperation between tax and other aspects of the U.K.’s legal system. European law, feminist law, commodification and the marketplace are all considered within the context of these principles. The article also considers the place of Polok within standard feminist texts on prostitution. Different paradigms of prostitution define different aspects of prostitution as ‘problems’, and the article considers the implications within a feminist reconstruction of Polok of this. The article suggests that the challenge for a feminist analysis of Polok is to remain within the realm of European tax and competition law, and to render the perspective of the employees of the Polok taxpayers part of the substance of the deliberations of the case. (shrink)
Feminist literature sometimes posits that competition and cooperation are opposites. This dichotomy is important in that it is often invoked in order to explain why mainstream economics has focused on market activity to the exclusion of non-market activity, and why this fascination or focus is sexist. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the competition/cooperation dichotomy is false. Once the dichotomy is dissolved, those activities which are seen as competitive (masculine) and those which are seen as cooperative (...) (feminine) are no longer mutually exclusive but are, in fact, dependent upon one another. It is shown that the outcome of competition (more and better knowledge) enhances, and in some cases makes possible, cooperation. The function of battle is destruction; of competition, construction. Ludwig von Mises. (shrink)
This paper examines the complexity and fluidity of maternal identity through an examination of narratives about "real motherhood" found in children's literature. Focusing on the multiplicity of mothers in adoption, I question standard views of maternity in which gestational, genetic and social mothering all coincide in a single person. The shortcomings of traditional notions of motherhood are overcome by developing a fluid and inclusive conception of maternal reality as authored by a child's own perceptions.
Up Against Foucault offers both a feminist critique of Foucauldian theories as well as an attempt to reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable perspectives. Feminists are often "up against Foucault" because he questions key conclusions in feminism regarding the nature of gender relations, and men's possession of power. This book, however, fills the gap in literature about Foucault by showing how his theories of sexuality and power relations are often applicable to the everyday realities of women's lives. Drawing upon their (...) diverse backgrounds in social theory and philosophy, the contributors discuss the ways in which Foucault provokes feminists into questioning their grasp of power relations, and examines the implications of his decision to overlook categories of gender in his discussion of sexuality and power relations. They also show that in spite of his lack of interest in gender, Foucault's ways of understanding the control of women and female sexuality ultimately have much to offer feminism. (shrink)
Feminist philosophy of religion as a subject of study has developed in recent years because of the identification and exposure of explicit sexism in much of the traditional philosophical thinking about religion. This struggle with a discipline shaped almost exclusively by men has led feminist philosophers to redress the problematic biases of gender, race, class and sexual orientation of the subject. Anderson and Clack bring together new and key writings on the core topics and approaches to this growing field. Each (...) essay exhibits a distinctive theoretical approach and appropriate insights from the fields of literature, theology, philosophy, gender and cultural studies. Beginning with a general introduction, part one explores important approaches to the feminist philosophy of religion, including psychoanalytic, poststructualist, postmetaphysical, and epistemological frameworks. In part two the authors survey significant topics including questions of divinity, embodiment, autonomy and spirituality, and religious practice. Supported by explanatory prefaces and an extensive bibliography which is organized thematically, Feminist Philosophy of Religion is an important resource for this new area of study. (shrink)
This is a bold and controversial feminist, philosophical critique of postmodernism. While providing a brief and accessible introduction to postmodernist feminist thought, Enlightened Women is also a unique defence of realism and enlightenment philosophy. The first half of the book covers an analysis of some of the most influential postmodernist theorists, such as Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler. In the second half Alison Assiter advocates a return to modernism in feminism. She argues, against the current orthodoxy, that there can (...) be a distinction between "sex" and "gender". For students trying to pick their way through the maze of literature in the area of postmodernist feminism, Enlightened Women is a concise guide to contemporary thought - as well as a radical contribution to the debate. (shrink)
In this post-9/11 era marked by religious and ethnic conflicts and the rise of cultural intolerance, ambiguities arising from the conflation of multiculturalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism jeopardize the delivery of culturally safe nursing care to non-Western populations. This new social reality requires nurses to develop a heightened awareness of health issues pertaining to racism and ethnocentrism to provide culturally safe care to non-Western immigrants or refugees. Through the lens of post-colonial feminism, this paper explores the challenge of providing (...) culturally safe nursing care in the context of the post-9/11 in Canadian healthcare settings. A critical appraisal of the literature demonstrates that post-colonial feminism, despite some limitations, remains a valuable theoretical perspective to apply in cultural nursing research and develop culturally safe nursing practice. Post-colonial feminism offers the analytical lens to understand how health, social and cultural context, race and gender intersect to impact on non-Western populations' health. However, an uncritical application of post-colonial feminism may not serve racialized men's and women's interests because of its essentialist risk. Post-colonial feminism must expand its epistemological assumptions to integrate Taylor's concept of identity and recognition and Bakhtin's concepts of dialogism and unfinalizability to explore non-Western populations' health issues and the context of nursing practice. This would strengthen the theoretical adequacy of post-colonial feminist approaches in unveiling the process of racialization that arises from the conflation of multiculturalism, sexism, and religious fundamentalism in Western healthcare settings. (shrink)
The mainstream literature on corporate governance is based on the premise of conflicts of interest in a competitive game played by variously defined stakeholders and thus builds explicitly and/or implicitly on masculinist ethical theories. This article argues that insights from feminist ethics, and in particular ethics of care, can provide a different, yet relevant, lens through which to study corporate governance. Based on feminist ethical theories, the article conceptualises a governance model that is different from the current normative orthodoxy.
In this paper the sameness and difference between two distinguished Indian authors, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880–1932) and Mahasweta Devi (b. 1926), representing two generations almost a century apart, will be under analysis in order to trace the generational transformation in women’s writing in India, especially Bengal. Situated in the colonial and postcolonial frames of history, Hossain and Mahasweta Devi may be contextualized differently. At the same time their subjects are also differently categorized; the former is not particularly concerned with subalterns (...) whereas the latter specifically focuses on the effect of race and class on gender. The quest for the ‘self’ and ‘subjectivity’ is more pertinent in the latter and consequently the appeal for agency is based on a crude power struggle. Hossain, a philanthropist who championed the woman question, believed that striving for equality should be a collective process which could be achieved by spreading awareness among fellow-inmates inhabiting the prison of patriarchy. Like Euro-American first-wave feminists, Rokeya advocated the necessity of education among women in order for them to be able to comprehend their plight and ‘awake’ for the cause. She addresses fundamental issues of feminism like education and the systematized claustrophobia within the domestic space. Whereas Mahasweta Devi, has been an activist writer who is regarded as the brand ambassador for the support of the marginalized, deprived and denotified tribes of India. It is her mission to provide succour to the marginalized sections, especially tribes from the Purulia district of West Bengal, like the Kherias and Shabars. As an activist writer she explores tribal life and allied socio-political issues which reflect their agony. (shrink)
This article analyses how the new type of worker is constructed in respect to gender in current management literature. It contributes to the increasing body of work in organisational theory and business ethics which interrogates management texts by analysing textual representations of gender. A discourse analysis of six texts reveals three inter-connected yet distinct ways in which gender is talked about. First, the awareness discourse attempts to be inclusive of gender yet reiterates stereotypes in its portrayal of women. Second, (...) within the individualisation discourse, formerly discriminatory elements of gender lose their importance but a gender dimension reappears within the idea of ‹Brand You’. Third, in the new ideal discourse, women are constructed as ideal workers of the future. The article argues that there is little space within this web of discourses for an awareness of the continued inequalities experienced by women in relation to men to be voiced and that this rhetorical aporia contributes to a ‹post-feminist’ climate. (shrink)
Introduction: Middle-Earth, The lord of the rings, and international relations -- Order, justice, and Middle-Earth -- Thinking about international relations and Middle-Earth -- Middle-Earth and three great debates in international relations -- Middle-Earth, levels of analysis, and war -- Middle-Earth and feminist theory -- Middle-Earth and feminist analysis of conflict -- Middle-Earth as a source of inspiration and enrichment -- Conclusion: international relations and our many worlds.
Jane Duran's Worlds of Knowing begins to fill an enormous gap in the literature of feminist epistemology: a wide-ranging, cross-cultural primer on worldviews and epistemologies of various cultures and their appropriations by indigenous feminist movements in those cultures. It is the much needed epistemological counterpart to work on cross-cultural feminist social and political philosophy. This project is absolutely breath-taking in scope, yet a manageable read for anyone with some background in feminist theory, history, or anthropology. Duran draws many comparisons (...) and connections to Western philosophical and feminist ideas, yet avoids facile or imperialistic over-universalization. Her book is powerful, comprehensive, and brave. It will prove an enormously useful resource for scholars in women's studies, philosophy, anthropology, religious studies, and history. (shrink)
In the context of feminist and postmodern thought, traditional conceptions of masculinity and what it means to be a “Real Man” have been critiqued. In Genevieve Lloyd's The Man of Reason, this critique takes the form of exposing the effect that the distinctive masculinity of the “man of reason” has had on the history of philosophy. One major feature of the masculine-feminine dichotomy will emerge as a key notion for understanding the rest of the paper: the dichotomy of reason-feeling, a (...) parallel and a foundational aspect to the dichotomy of masculinity and femininity. In exploring the history of symbolic conceptions of masculinity in ancient Greece, the Renaissance, and the present, one finds that the oppression of women is integrally linked to the traditional tie between masculinity and reason. There have been many efforts in recent feminist philosophy to rewrite or redefine “Woman” in such a way as to alleviate the oppression of women. I argue that the effectiveness of rewriting Woman for this purpose is problematic, primarily because any rewriting of this type must occur in the current historical context of hierarchical dualisms, like Man-Woman, masculine-feminine, male-female. These binary oppositions arguably find their roots in Pythagorean philosophy and can be traced through the Renaissance to our current historical context. It is these dualisms that have traditionally valued the masculine side of the Man-Woman dichotomy more than the feminine. Further, it will be argued that the hierarchical dualism of Man and Woman is so pervasive that if we rewrite or redefine the inferior, deprivileged side of that dualism, we cannot correct its devalued status. Instead, we redefine that which is undervalued but retain its devalued status. This particular aspect of attempts to critique hierarchical dualisms like reason and feeling has been reflected in the writings of many feminists, male and female. This paper will show that in cases where women attempt to redefine the dichotomy by revaluing the traditionally feminine (like feelings and emotions) over the traditionally masculine (like reason) their work is often mistakenly criticized for being purely political; conversely, when men attempt to redefine the same dichotomy in an attempt to allow men to “get back in touch with their feelings,” to be nurturers, their work is described in terms of providing a better epistemology. The current literature on masculinity explores alternatives to rewriting or redefining Woman that try to avoid the problem of status remaining with redefinition. This alternative is rewriting or redefining Man. Through redefining Man, one may be able to reconceptualize the privileged side of the hierarchical dualism in such a way that it is no longer privileged. Deprivileging, as well as redefining Man, is argued by theorists of masculinity to be possible because while the devalued status of the inferior side of a hierarchical dualism tends to keep the same status when redefined, it may be possible to redefine the privileged side of the dualism in such a way that it loses its privileged status. Unfortunately, many of these attempts to rewrite or redefine masculinity have detrimental faults of their own. Finally, this paper will discuss more promising possibilities for new definitions of Man, as well as a vision for better interaction between the work of women and men in general. (shrink)
In this pathbreaking study, Micaela di Leonardo reveals the face of power within the mask of cultural difference. From the 1893 World's Fair to Body Shop advertisements, di Leonardo focuses on the intimate and shifting relations between popular portrayals of exotic Others and the practice of anthropology. In so doing, she casts new light on gender, race, and the public sphere in America's past and present. "An impressive work of scholarship that is mordantly witty, passionately argued, and takes no prisoners."--Lesley (...) Gill, News Politics "[Micaela] di Leonardo eloquently argues for the importance of empirical, interdisciplinary social science in addressing the tragedy that is urban America at the end of the century."--Jonathan Spencer, Times Literary Supplement "In her quirky new contribution to the American culture brawl, feminist anthropologist Micaela di Leonardo explains how anthropologists, 'technicians of the sacred,' have distorted American popular debate and social life."--Rachel Mattson, Voice Literary Supplement "At the end of di Leonardo's analyses one is struck by her rare combination of rigor and passion. Simply, [she] is a marvelous iconoclast."--Matthew T. McGuire, Boston Book Review. (shrink)
How has engineering ethics addressed gender concerns to date? How have the ideas of feminist philosophers and feminist ethicists made their way into engineering ethics? What might an explicitly feminist engineering ethics look like? This paper reviews some major themes in feminist ethics and then considers three areas in which these themes have been taken up in engineering ethics to date. First, Caroline Whitbeck’s work in engineering ethics integrates considerations from her own earlier writings and those of other feminist philosophers, (...) but does not use the feminist label. Second, efforts to incorporate the Ethic of Care and principles of Social Justice into engineering have drawn on feminist scholarship and principles, but these commitments can be lost in translation to the broader engineering community. Third, the film Henry’s Daughters brings gender considerations into the mainstream of engineering ethics, but does not draw on feminist ethics per se; despite the best intentions in broaching a difficult subject, the film unfortunately does more harm than good when it comes to sexual harassment education. I seek not only to make the case that engineers should pay attention to feminist ethics and engineering ethicists make more use of feminist ethics traditions in the field, but also to provide some avenues for how to approach integrating feminist ethics in engineering. The literature review and analysis of the three examples point to future work for further developing what might be called feminist engineering ethics. (shrink)
The past twenty years have seen an explosion of work by feminist philosophers and several surveys of this work have documented the richness of the many different ways of doing feminist philosophy. But this major new anthology is the first broad and inclusive selection of the most important work in this field.There are many unanswered questions about the future of feminist philosophy. Which of the many varieties of feminist philosophy will last, and which will fade away? What kinds of accommodations (...) will be possible with mainstream non-feminist philosophy? Which will separate themselves and flourish on their own? To what extent will feminists change the topics philosophers address? To what extent will they change the very way in which philosophy is done?However these questions are answered, it is clear that feminist philosophy is having and will continue to have a major impact on the discipline of philosophy. This volume is the first to allow the scholar, the student, and other interested readers to sample this diverse literature and to ponder these questions for themselves.Organized around nine traditional “types” of feminist philosophy, Feminism and Philosophy is an imaginatively edited volume that will stimulate readers to explore many new pathways to understanding. It marks a defining moment in feminist philosophy, and it will be an essential text for philosophers and for feminist theorists in many other fields. (shrink)
There is a long-standing claim within feminist literature that women speak with a 'different voice' (Gilligan 1982), that it is both possible and desirable to have an ethics from the standpoint of women (Noddings 1990), that the standpoint of women is a better starting point for adequate knowledge of the world (Harding 1993). This claim is central to ecofeminist politics, that women have a particular perspective on the relationship between humanity and nature and have a moral/political calling to reweave (...) the world (Diamond and Orenstein 1990) or heal the wounds of an ecologically destructive social order (Plant 1989). In this essay I will not be making the claim that women per se have a superior vision or a higher moral authority, but that an ethics that does not take account of the gendered nature of society is doomed to failure as it will confront neither the material structure of human society or the way in which that structure impacts on the materiality of the relationship between humanity and nature. (shrink)
Disabled women were absent for many years from the discipline that has become known as women and gender studies. This field of study had its origins in the late 1970s following the second wave of feminism. In the latter decades of the twentieth century, disabled women and their allies introduced the necessary task of exploring disabled women's embodiment to the wider feminist community. A wealth of research now exists that incorporates disabled women's bodies into a range of disciplines: from (...)literature, film, art, social sciences, geography, and the environment to many other areas of scholarship. Indeed, many of the themes covered in this special issue have been addressed in different contexts in the disciplines .. (shrink)
Sara Mills offers a trenchant analysis of the complexities of social relations--including notions of class, nationality and gender--and spatial relations, landscape, topography and travel, in post-colonial contexts.
Using a theoretical framework derived from my ongoing engagement with what I have called a ‘Gynocentric matrix’ of Indic sensibility, along with James Hillman’s polytheistic psychology and Wallace Stevens’ notion of a Supreme Fiction, this paper offers a reading of Jhumpa Lahiri’s (b. 1967) short stories beyond postcolonial criticism. Stemming from a depth consciousness where life, living and death, joy, indifference and sorrow, generation, de/re-generation, and transformation are intricately intertwined, Lahiri’s fictional multiverse, opposed to universe, is peopled by a new (...) generation of characters who speak to the soul of the reader, while in the process, she sculpts a reality that does not tolerate any homogenizing impulse in the name of an abstract unity. (shrink)
The daughter of Ralph Cudworth, and friend of John Locke, Damaris Masham was also a philosopher in her own right. She published two, philosophical books, A Discourse Concerning the Love of God and Occasional Thoughts In Reference to a Virtuous and Christian Life. Her primary purpose was to refute John Norris' Malebranchian doctrine that we ought to love only God because only God can give us pleasure, and his criticism of Locke. In addition, she argues for greater educational opportunities for (...) women, and an end to the double standard in sexual morality. Recent feminist literature has suggested that women and men may take different ethical and epistemological stands based on differences between the 'female experience', and the 'male experience'. While leaving aside questions pertaining to the accuracy of these suggestions, this paper discusses some aspects of Masham's thought which might be considered representative of the 'female experience.'. (shrink)
This essay examines the feminist literature on ‘eros’ inspired primarily by Audre Lorde’s essay, “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” The central argument of this literature is that “our erotic knowledge empowers us” by guiding and inspiring us to pursue what we truly value in life. This literature is useful in emphasizing a human quality that is often overlooked, even by other feminists. Yet it is plagued by the prevailing assumption that our deepest passions and (...) desires will necessarily lead to ethical choices. The underlying assumption is that there is a core, ‘pure’, good eros—which is in turn an expression of a core, pure, good self. This is a form of essentialism. Specifically, it is an attribution of a ‘true’, natural property to women that does little more than reverse the valuation of the traditional attribution of natural ‘emotionality’ to women. (shrink)