By Denise Riley
Writing approximately adjustments within the thought of womanhood, Denise Riley examines, within the demeanour of Foucault, transferring historic buildings of the class of "women" in terms of different different types important to strategies of personhood: the soul, the brain, the physique, nature, the social. Feminist routine, Riley argues, have had no selection yet to play out this indeterminacy of ladies. this can be made undeniable of their oscillations, because the 1790s, among recommendations of equality and of distinction. to completely realize the anomaly of the class of "women" is, she contends, an important for a good feminist political philosophy.
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Additional info for ‘Am I That Name?’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History
They are for the most part wise enough to love their Chains and to discern how very becomingly they sit .... ' sorts of Men; or let them aim at the Title of Good Devout Women, since some men can bear with this. 44 The determination to be a woman, to live into the expectations aroused by the categorisation, has its uses. Yet even this, she argues, affords no reliable protection: But how can a Man respect his Wife when he has a contemptible opinion of her and her Sex? When from his own Elevation he looks down on them as void of Understanding, and full of Ignorance and Passion, so that Folly and a Woman are equivalent terms with him?
Madame de Stael, almost forty years after the publication of Emile, meditated on the curiously transitional state of her sex in De La Litterature: The rank which women hold in society is still, in many respects, indeterminate ... in the present state of things they are placed neither in the order of nature, nor in the order of society. 69 Woman, she surmised, was a hybrid being who lived in the uneasy condition of the freed slave; 'helotism' was the term which best spoke for her condition. Vexed herself by torments of selfconsciousness which, she held, must afflict the 'exceptional' woman, the woman as writer, Madame de Stael described the plight of those who may come to regret their prominence: sense, talents, an impassioned mind, may induce them to emerge from the cloud in which they ought always to be enveloped: but they never cease to recur to it with regret as their safest asylum.
Yet even this, she argues, affords no reliable protection: But how can a Man respect his Wife when he has a contemptible opinion of her and her Sex? When from his own Elevation he looks down on them as void of Understanding, and full of Ignorance and Passion, so that Folly and a Woman are equivalent terms with him? 4S Such sexual antagonism can cut two ways: We who made the idols, are the greater Deities: and as we set you up, so it is in our power to reduce you to your first obscurity, or to somewhat worse, to Contempt.
‘Am I That Name?’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History by Denise Riley