By Mary Daly
Women's experiences, non secular experiences, Philosophy, Christian reports
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Extra info for Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation
This point, like the relation of feminist writing to the women's movement, demands a much lengthier discussion than can be undertaken here. I can do no more than sketch the problem as it strikes me with unusual intensity in the reception of Lizzie Borden's film and my own response to it. What Born in Flames succeeds in representing is this feminist under standing: that the female subject is en-gendered, constructed and defined in gender across multiple representations of class, race, language, and social relations; and that, therefore, differences among women are dif ferences within women, which is why feminism can exist despite those differences and, as we are just beginning to understand, cannot con tinue to exist without them.
The novelty of this direct address, feminist critics have noted, is not only that it breaks the codes of theatrical illusion and voyeuristic pleasure, but also that it demonstrates that no complicity, no shared discourse, can be established between the woman performer (positioned as im age, representation, object) and the male audience (positioned as the controlling gaze); no complicity, that is, outside the codes and rules of the performance. By breaking the codes, Arzner revealed the rules and the relations of power that constitute them and are in turn sustained by them.
Is undoubtedly "authorized, " and made financially viable, by that legitimation. But the success, however modest, of this liberal feminism has been bought at the price of reducing the con tradictory complexity-and the theoretical productivity-of concepts such as sexual difference, the personal is political, and feminism itself to simpler and more acceptable ideas already existing in the dominant culture. Thus, to many today, " sexual difference" is hardly more than sex (biology) or gender (in the simplest sense of female socialization) or the basis for certain private " life styles " (homosexual and other nonorthodox relationships) ; " the personal is political " all too often translates into "the personal instead of the political " ; and " feminism" is unhesitantly appropriated, by the academy as well as the media, as a discourse-a variety of social criticism, a method of aesthetic or literary analysis among others, and more or less worth attention according to the degree of its market appeal to students, readers, or viewers.
Beyond God the Father: Toward a Philosophy of Women's Liberation by Mary Daly