Feminism and the Contradictions of Oppression by Caroline Ramazanoglu

By Caroline Ramazanoglu

Feminism and the Contradictions of Oppression is a penetrating and accomplished examine of the advance of feminism during the last thirty years. the 1st a part of this significant new textbook examines feminist thought and feminist political method. the second one part examines how contradictions of sophistication, race, way of life and sexuality divide girls. the ultimate half explores methods out of the deadlock. This level-headed and demanding publication is among the such a lot awesome contributions to feminism in recent times.

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But, as has been very dramatically shown by its critics, feminism is also a historically and culturally specific set of practices in social situations where women have conflicting interests and diverse experiences. It is when women begin to struggle against oppression that they discover the contradictory obstacles they are •really’ up against—which can include one another. LIBERATION AND CONTRADICTION If the oppression of women is contradictory, the prospects for women’s liberation must also be contradictory.

While I do not believe that radical and marxist feminism can be synthesized or amalgamated in any simple way, since many of their assumptions are incompatible, I do think that the differences between them need to be approached much more constructively. Radical and marxist feminists are addressing very similar problems of explanation. Their disagreements stem from very different attempts to resolve these problems. While it is probable that many feminists will not agree with the way in which I approach possible resolutions of this division, at least further debate could be a positive step towards achieving a more effective and sisterly politics of women’s liberation.

Spender argues that all men derive benefit from patriarchy so that all men are politically in opposition to women, but she qualifies this universalizing position by claiming that politics is only one dimension of existence so that individual men need not be treated as personal enemies (Spender 1985 and Spender 1986:217). Delphy (1984:17–18) also modifies the initial radical feminist position. She rejects the universal notion of patriarchy in favour of patriarchy defined as the system of subordination of women by men in contemporary industrial society.

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