Italian Feminist Theory and Practice: Equality and Sexual Difference

Italian Feminist Theory and Practice: Equality and Sexual Difference

Italian Feminist Theory and Practice: Equality and Sexual Difference

Italian Feminist Theory and Practice: Equality and Sexual Difference

Synopsis

In the first section of this volume, the core issues involved in talking about concepts of sexual difference, especially within Italian feminism, are presented. These issues are tied to theories and practices that can be found in French Feminism, but they are shaped by the specific Italian and sociohistorical context. The essays in the second section explore many elements of the theoretical debate on difference, and its role in contemporary feminist thought and elsewhere.

Excerpt

Feminist debates and political activism regarding equal rights for women have for many years played a central role in both the North American and European arenas. Although the essays in this volume present a brand of Italian feminist thought and practice that seeks to move beyond the paradigm of equality, it is useful to begin with a brief discussion of the French context, which provides a clear point of (contrastive) comparison with Italy. in her article in The New Yorker entitled “Liberty, Equality, Sorority: French Women Demand their Share,” Jane Kramer analyzes French feminist practices at the end of the millennium. She observes that, while the feminism and activism of the 1970s have been replaced by “a designer collection of literary and psychoanalytic theorists, like Cixous and Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray,” French feminist practice has nonetheless attained a political engagement that has been named parité. Although quotas are illegal in France’s political system, a new law dated 3 May 2000 states that fifty percent of candidacies should be filled by women. Parité therefore focuses on gaining access to representation and on challenging the traditional system of honorary inclusion of women in the political sphere or women with influence, that is, women who participate in political life through the influence they exercise over a man with power. Kramer asserts that the transition from the traditional maledominated political elections to a more gender-diverse system has been anything but easy. She quotes the former deputy mayor of Paris, de Panafieu, who stated that “They [men] are dying of fear.” Men have indeed monopolized public life in France, as women in that country are more than ready to point out. “Greece,” states Kramer, “[is] the only country in Western Europe with a lower percentage of women in its parliament.”

The discourse on parité as presented by Kramer is grounded on a separation between the theoretical engagement of the best known French feminists and the legal acquisition of rights of representation . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.