Too many men
Martha Nussbaum's review of Stansell's "The Feminist Promise" was very interesting but still, she tended to privilege pro-feminist men over feminist women. She gave a lot of space to John Stuart Mill and Amartya Sen, but almost none to Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir's theory that "the male is the norm and the female is the other" has had a much more profound impact on contemporary feminist theory than Mill and Sen. Without a Beauvoir to lead the way, there probably wouldn't have been a Friedan, MacKinnon, Moller Okin or, yes, a Sen.
The great feminist historian Gerda Lerner said that every woman carries at least one "great man" in her head. And every man carries at least ten. Mussbaum's article unwittingly showed that our biggest struggle is still to take Beauvoir's theory to heart and stop viewing the male as the norm.
P.S. I'm getting tired of people talking about the racism in the feminist movement and being silent about the sexism and misogyny in the civil rights and labor movements. Many women became feminist activists because of the deep misogyny in so many "social justice" movements. The feminist movement isn't perfect, but it has done much more work on "the intersecting nature of privilege and subordination" than the civil rights, labor, gay/lesbian rights, and environmental movements. The patriarchal double standard is at work here.
Oct 7 2010 - 5:45pm