By Camille Froidevaux-Metterie

Le mouvement féministe a produit bien plus qu'une dynamique d'égalisation des stipulations féminine et masculine. Il a contribué, montre Camille Froidevaux-Metterie, à réorganiser en profondeur notre monde commun, à l. a. faveur d'un processus toujours en cours qui voit les rôles familiaux et les fonctions sociales se désexualiser. Par-delà les hindrances qui empêchent de conclure à une rigoureuse égalité des sexes, il faut ainsi repérer que nous sommes en teach de vivre une véritable mutation à l'échelle de l'histoire humaine. Plus d'attributions sexuées ni de partage hiérarchisée des tâches : dans nos sociétés occidentales, los angeles convergence des genres est en marche. l. a. similitude de destin des hommes et des femmes ne renvoie pourtant à aucune homogénéisation. Dans un monde devenu mixte de half en half, les individus se trouvent plus que jamais requis de se définir en tant qu'homme ou en tant que femme. Or ils ne peuvent le faire sans prendre en considération l. a. sexuation des corps. S'évertuer à los angeles nier, comme le fait un convinced féminisme, c'est heurter de plein fouet cette donnée nouvelle qui veut que l. a. maîtrise de sa singularité sexuée soit los angeles marque même de los angeles subjectivité. L'auteure entreprend ainsi de réévaluer los angeles corporéité féminine pour en faire le vecteur d'une expérience inédite englobant l'impératif universaliste des droits individuels et l'irréductible incarnation de toute lifestyles. Le sujet féminin contemporain se révèle alors être le modèle d'une nouvelle humaine.

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Most of these works would not appear on the syllabi of feminist theory courses today. In fact, with one or two exceptions, this material is out of print, hard to find, or not well known. Significantly, work within feminist theory that is difficult to comprehend is more likely to be read in theory courses, especially on the graduate level. The recent rise to prominence of a particular style of French feminist theory which is linguis­ tically convoluted is an example of this trend. While such work enriches our understanding of gender politics, it is important to remember that this is not a universal discourse, that it is politically and culturally specific, and emerges from specific relationships particular French feminist scholars have to their political and social reality.

Recognition of the inter-connectedness of sex, race, and class highlights the diversity of experience, compelling TALKING BACK 23 redefinition of the terms for unity. If women do not share “common op­ pression,” what then can serve as a basis for our coming together? Unlike many feminist comrades, I believe women and men must share a common understanding— a basic knowledge of what feminism is— if it is ever to be a powerful mass-based political movement. In Feminist Theory: from margin to center, I suggest that defining feminism broadly as “a move­ ment to end sexism and sexist oppression” would enable us to have a com­ mon political goal.

This knowledge should consistently inform the direction of feminist theory and practice. Unfortunately, racism and class elitism among women has frequently led to the suppression and distortion of this connection so that it is now neces­ sary for feminist thinkers to critique and revise much feminist theory and the direction of feminist movement. This effort at revision is perhaps most evident in the current widespread acknowledgement that sexism, racism, and class exploitation constitute interlocking systems of domination—that sex, race, and class, and not sex alone, determine the nature of any female’s identity, status, and circumstance, the degree to which she will or will not be dominated, the extent to which she will have the power to dominate.

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