The Im-Possibility of a Feminist Subject

Social Philosophy Today 25:47-60 (2009)
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Abstract

The feminist subject, which refers to the category "woman" as a shared identity for all women, has excluded women who do not fit neatly into its boundaries. In response, Judith Butler suggested that feminists must give up theorizing the feminist subject or invoke it as a pragmatic strategy only. Since Butler's solution is a dead-end for feminist politics, I propose the idea of a feminist subject-in-outline for emancipatory feminist politics. The feminist subject-in-outline emerges in what Jacques Lacan has termed the moment of the real, which refers to the gap in the signifier "woman." In this gap, all those women who have been rendered invisible and without a proper place in the feminist community can become subjects and transform its boundaries.

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Claudia Leeb
Washington State University

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