By Deborah L. Madsen
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Additional resources for Feminist Theory and Literary Practice
We have done all we could, in addition to natural forces, to make women cowards’ (p. 163). 11); Gilman comments, that ‘[w]e are the only animal species in which the female depends upon the male for food, the only animal species in which the sex-relation is also the economic relation’ (p. 3). Because of this close relationship between marriage and economic survival, the ‘marriage market’ becomes a woman’s whole world and not just one aspect of the social environment. The economy is perverted away from important priorities by woman’s insatiable demand for domestic consumption; that is, her role as ‘the limitless demander of things to use up’.
This combination of libertarianism and paganism is behind Paglia’s scornful rejection of the feminist denunciation of pornography, for example. In her essay on the antipornography writings of Catherine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin, Paglia claims that ‘pornography must continue to play a central role in our cultural life’. She goes on, Pornography is a pagan arena of beauty, vitality, and brutality, of the archaic vigor of nature. It should break every rule, offend all morality. Pornography represents absolute freedom of imagination, as envisioned by the Romantic poets.
Consequently, men and women approach adult relationships quite differently; the path to sexual equality which Chodorow recommends is equal parenting, where both fathers and mothers mother their children, thus avoiding the creation of overly-independent sons and overly-dependent daughters – precisely the gender stereotypes that best suit the organisation of labour in an industrial capitalist society. The separation of the sexes described by French feminism appears to Chodorow to serve conservative political and economic ends.
Feminist Theory and Literary Practice by Deborah L. Madsen