• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Radical Feminism Today offers a timely and engaging account of exactly what feminism is, and what it is not. Author Denise Thompson questions much of what has come to be taken for granted as `feminism' and points to the limitations of implicitly defining feminism in terms of `women', `gender', `difference' or `race//gender//class'. She challenges some of the most widely accepted ideas about feminism and in doing so opens up a number of hitheto closed debates, allowing for the possibility of moving those debates further.

‘Difference’
‘Difference’

As Hester Eisenstein has pointed out, the feminist concept of ‘difference’ has two aspects to it: differences between the sexes, and differences between and among women. Both aspects have been consistent preoccupations of ‘second-wave’ feminism. That does not mean, however, that ‘the theme of “difference” has been integral to modern feminist thought’, as Eisenstein goes on to assert (Eisenstein, 1985: xv; see also Eisenstein, 1984: passim). On the contrary, far from being ‘integral’ to feminism, the concept of ‘difference’ has too often functioned as a diversionary tactic. Whether the focus is on differences between the sexes, or on differences between and among women, male domination tends to be accorded a subsidiary status or ignored altogether.

In the case of differences between the sexes, male domination ...

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