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

By Denise Riley

'A vintage of feminist highbrow heritage. Am I That identify? is a kind of Anglo-American finish of innocence for an individual who attempts to talk of 'women.' Riley makes the observe run, on the grounds that she can't make it stand nonetheless. She deals a heritage of the way feminism has confronted its paradoxical core.' - Voice Literary complement crucial examining for philosophers, historians, and feminist theorists.' - historical past assessment of Books

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Still, it can be safely claimed that Rousseau's notoriously complicated version of human nature did entail a high degree of sexualisation of that nature: the infusion of the state of being a woman with a 'woman's' nature so that no neutral enclave of the person remains unfilled and unoccupied by femininity. La Nouvelle Heloise, first published in 1761, the elaborate account of a romance conducted in letters, offers substantially the same antipathies to the rights of women as those advanced in Emile a year later.

Fs: General differences present themselves to the ·comparative anatomist and even to the superficial observer; they seem not to be a matter of sex; }'ct they arc really sex differences, though the connectIOn eJU(1es our ooservi:ItJon. nuw ii:1I tiu .. ifIt::lt:H'-f'" may extend we cannot tell. '56 So the 'sex' of the woman is in fact a generally suffusing characteristic. Hence the difference in the temporalities of gendered being for men and for women, periodicities which Rousseau names, but doesn't remove from the realms of mass psychology: 'The male is only a male now and again, the female is always aiemale, or at least all her youth; everything reminds her of her sex.

As the Cartt"sian nO'iC'ffilC'r. Poulain de la HarrE. din 1673 HO innate Progresses of the Soul 31 inferiority could sensibly be deduced from the past performances of women who lacked education. Successive nineteenth-century feminisms made similar propositions - John Stuart Mill would echo them in his The Subjection of Women of 1869 - but the particular vexation and spur of seventeenth-century feminism is the status of the soul as it relates to the increasingly sexed self. If woman - who is not known - becomes more and more assigned to the natural order in which human custom merely follows instinct, then that indeterminate self, which education might prove and clarify, also suffers a trivialising contraction.

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