Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction

By Rosemarie Putnam Tong | Go to book overview

Introduction: The Diversity of Feminist Thinking

SINCE WRITING MY FIRST INTRODUCTION to feminist thought nearly a decade ago, I have become increasingly convinced that much of feminist thought resists categorization, especially categorization based on the "fathers'" labels. Believe me, it would be a tragedy if these labels persuaded readers that liberal feminism is only a variation on John Stuart Mill's thoughts, Marxist-socialist feminism only an improvement on Karl Marx's and Friedrich Engels's writings, psychoanalytic feminism only an addendum to Sigmund Freud's speculations, existentialist feminism only a further articulation of Jean-Paul Sartre's ideas, postmodern feminism only a recapitulation of Jacques Lacan's and Jacques Derrida's musings. It would also be a misfortune if these labels detracted from the efforts of radical feminists or ecofeminists, for example, to do philosophy de novo without relying on any patriarch's thought--a daunting, even perilous task, but one that has much to recommend it.

Yet despite the very real problems that come with categorizing thinkers as "x" or "y" or "z," feminist thought is old enough to have a history complete with its own set of labels: "liberal," "radical (libertarian or cultural)," "Marxist-socialist," "Psychoanalytic," "existentialist," "postmodern," "multicultural and global," and "ecological." No doubt feminist thought will eventually shed these labels for others that better express its intellectual and political commitments to women. For now, however, feminist thought's old labels remain useful. They signal to the broader public that feminism is not a monolithic ideology, that all feminists do not think alike, and that, like all other time-honored modes of thinking, feminist thought has a past as well as a present and a future. Feminist thought's old labels also serve as useful teaching tools. They help mark the range of different approaches, perspectives, and frameworks a variety of feminists have

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Feminist Thought: A More Comprehensive Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments viii
  • Introduction: The Diversity of Feminist Thinking 1
  • Chapter One - Liberal Feminism 10
  • Conclusion 43
  • Chapter Two - Radical Feminism: Libertarian and Cultural Perspectives 45
  • Chapter Three - Marxist and Socialist Feminism 94
  • Conclusion 127
  • Chapter Four - Psychoanalytic and Gender Feminism 130
  • Conclusion 171
  • Chapter Five - Existentialist Feminism 173
  • Conclusion 191
  • Chapter Six - Postmodern Feminism 193
  • Conclusion 193
  • Chapter Seven - Multicultural and Global Feminism 212
  • Chapter Eight - Ecofeminism 246
  • Conclusion 276
  • Conclusion: - Margins and Centers 278
  • Notes 281
  • Bibliography 317
  • Index 349
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