In Western societies, feminism remains a predominantly modern set of ideas and practices both derived from and opposed to the Enlightenment. Born of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century liberalism as well as nineteenth-century radicalism, feminism comprises counterhegemonic ideas about gender as well as practices aimed at undermining its hierarchical role in human affairs (cf. Grant 1993). By and large, feminism revolves around Simone de Beauvoir's ([1949] 1961) idea that women are made, not born. Rosi Braidotti (1993) has further modernized that idea by emphasizing the “distance between Woman and real women” (p. 8), that is, the gap between the idea of “woman” and the actualities of women's experiences and lives. Luce Irigaray (1985) has also further modernized Beauvoir's observation: “Becoming a woman really does not seem to ...

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