By Gisela Bock, Susan James
Traditionally, in addition to extra lately, women's emancipation has been visible in methods: occasionally because the `right to be equivalent' and infrequently because the `right to be different'. those perspectives have frequently overlapped and interacted: in various guises they've got performed an immense function in either the improvement of rules approximately girls and feminism, and the works of political thinkers in no way essentially considering women's liberation. The chapters of this publication deal essentially with the that means and use of those ideas within the context of gender family members (past and present), but in addition draw awareness to their position within the figuring out and research of different human relationships.
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Extra resources for Beyond Equality and Difference: Citizenship, Feminist Politics and Female Subjectivity
We are dealing here with an innate repression which I would define as a syndrome of ‘universalization of masculinity’ which manifests itself on at least two levels: an elementary one and a complex one. The elementary level of repression is expressed in the way that modern political theoreticians simply fail to see women. Their mind’s eye sees in the state of nature (and hence in the social contract and the political society that 32 EQUALITY AND SEXUAL DIFFERENCE results from it) only men, while women are a sort of ‘background’, an appendix of mothers and wives, vaguely perceived in the distance and not further explored.
The homologizing effect of the complex repression of female sexual difference thus not only absorbs women into the paradigm of the productive man, but is manifested, sometimes with ridiculous effects, in the technical vocabulary and conceptual logic of society. For instance, the categories of those working in the market are always described in the masculine plural. Thus, in Italian—one of the languages that marks gender in the plural by endings—we have operai (workers), impiegati (employees), commercianti (businessmen), statali (civil servants), etc.
As the philosopher Luce Irigaray has said, it is not enough to free oneself from the master in order to be free. Freedom should be founded on the capacity of the female subject to speak herself, think herself and protect herself. She must give herself an autonomous meaning which takes account of the fact that women are women and not men. As long as women see their freedom in wanting to be like men—via homologization—the male political model that sustains it will triumph over female freedom. The male One and All will continue in its repression of female sexual difference.