Why Love Kills: Power, Gender Dichotomy, and Romantic Femicide

Hypatia 32 (1):135-151 (2017)

Abstract

This article conceptually investigates a type of gender murder, “romantic femicide.” I understand this as the extreme form of violence that occurs as a result of men's incapacity to cope with their partners’ autonomy and power. The incapacity is not merely an individual pathology but is rather rooted in the dynamic of recognition characterizing love under structural conditions of gender dichotomy. After having sketched out the current discussion about femicide and its shortcomings, I argue for the hypothesis in three steps. First, I draw on a feminist theory of recognition in order to outline a nonviolent form of love. Lovers of this sort would depend on their partners and, at the same time, try to affirm their independence of them. Second, I show how such an interdependence bond would entail a dynamic of mutual empowerment. Third, I argue that love becomes a relation of domination as result of gender dichotomy. The dichotomization of two gender identities, “man” and “woman,” splits the interdependence bond in a way that allows only man's unilateral exercise of power and makes mutual empowerment impossible. Violence might be required for maintaining the dynamic of dominance; finally, romantic femicide may result from the unsustainability of such a structure.

Download options

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 72,856

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2017-01-25

Downloads
34 (#340,058)

6 months
3 (#197,508)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Federica Gregoratto
Goethe University Frankfurt

Similar books and articles

Romantic Love.Thomas H. Smith - 2011 - Essays in Philosophy 12 (1):68-92.
Vom Wert der Liebe.Susanne Moser - 2014 - Labyrinth: An International Journal for Philosophy, Value Theory and Sociocultural Hermeneutics 16 (2):20-47.
The Romantic Love Relation.Stuart William Cedrone - 1989 - Dissertation, The University of Connecticut
Just Friends, Friends and Lovers, Or…?Caroline J. Simon - 1993 - Philosophy and Theology 8 (2):113-128.
On 'Love at First Sight'.Christian Maurer - 2014 - In Christian Maurer, Tony Milligan & Kamila Pacovská (eds.), Love and Its Objects: What Can We Care For? Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 160-174.
Romantic Love: A Patchwork.Carol Caraway - 1987 - Philosophy and Theology 2 (1):361-368.
Romantic Love: Neither Sexist Nor Heterosexist.Carol Caraway - 1987 - Philosophy and Theology 1 (4):361-368.
Which One is the Real One?Anthony J. Graybosch - 1990 - Philosophy and Theology 4 (4):365-384.
The Unity of Romantic Love.Alan Soble - 1987 - Philosophy and Theology 1 (4):374-397.
Romantic Love: A Philosophical Inquiry.Dwight Van de Vate Jr - 1981 - Pennsylvania State University Press.
Love, Incorporated.Adrienne M. Martin - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (4):691-702.