Am I That Name?: Feminism and the Category of 'Women' in by Denise Riley

By Denise Riley

An try to discover the concept there are ancient sedimentations of individuals into gendered different types, together with the asymmetrical distances of either "women" and "men" from altering rules of the human; the expanding saturation, from the overdue 17th century, of girls with their intercourse; and the 19th century elisions among "the social" and "women". it really is argued that feminism can't yet play out the inescapable indeterminacy of "women" no matter if consciously or no longer, and that this can be made simple in its oscillations, because the 1790s, among suggestions of equality and of distinction. the writer keeps complete acceptance of the paradox of the class of "women" isn't really a semantic doubt, yet a situation for a good feminist political philosophy.

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14 There has never within my knowledge been a case in which the franchise has been extended to a large body of persons generally indifferent about receiving it. But here, in addition to a wide­ spread indifference, there is on the part of large numbers of women who have considered the matter for themselves, the most positive objection and strong disapprobation. 12 Yet this common objection, that the suffrage was over the heads of and irrelevant if not decidedly unwelcome to most women, was never much amplified.

Instead they tried to invert difference, to make a :itive value out of it. So in 1877 Arabella Shore responded to the II-worn charges of women's innate peculiarities: Yet half a century later, Gladstone echoed the enduring conviction that, being divinely bestowed, distinctions of sex were radical and insurmountable: A permanent and vast difference of type has been impressed upon women and men respectively by the Maker of both ... I for one am not prepared to say which of the two sexes has the higher and which has the lower province.

Would come into collision, not, as in the other cases, with the interests of a class or party, but with those of the whole male sex, and one of two things would happen. Either one sex would be arrayed against one another in a sort of general hostility, or they would be divided amongst themselves. Than the first, nothing could possibly be devised more disastrous to the condition of women. They would be utterly crushed; the old prejudices would be revived against their education, or their meddling with house­ hold duties.

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