Split Decisions: How and why to Take a Break from Feminism

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Princeton University Press, 2006 - Law - 402 pages
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Is it time to take a break from feminism? In this pathbreaking book, Janet Halley reassesses the place of feminism in the law and politics of sexuality. She argues that sexuality involves deeply contested and clashing realities and interests, and that feminism helps us understand only some of them. To see crucial dimensions of sexuality that feminism does not reveal--the interests of gays and lesbians to be sure, but also those of men, and of constituencies and values beyond the realm of sex and gender--we might need to take a break from feminism.


Halley also invites feminism to abandon its uncritical relationship to its own power. Feminists are, in many areas of social and political life, partners in governance. To govern responsibly, even on behalf of women, Halley urges, feminists should try taking a break from their own presuppositions.


Halley offers a genealogy of various feminisms and of gay, queer, and trans theories as they split from each other in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. All these incommensurate theories, she argues, enrich thinking on the left not despite their break from each other but because of it. She concludes by examining legal cases to show how taking a break from feminism can change your very perceptions of what's at stake in a decision and liberate you to decide it anew.

 

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Contents

The Argument
3
My Complete and Total Lack of Objectivity
11
Taxonomies and Terms
16
mf m f and Carrying a Brief for f
17
Governance Feminism
20
Feminism Sexual and Reproductive
22
A Sex Lexicon
23
Convergentism and Divergentism
25
Duncan Kennedy Sexy Dressing
167
KENNEDYTAKING A BREAK
181
Feminism and Its Others
187
Paranoid Structuralism and the Moralized Mandate to Converge
188
An Experiment in Political Stylistics do try this at home
192
From Political to Ethical Feminism
207
Marianne Hirsch and Evelyn Fox Keller Conflicts in Feminism and Elisabeth Bronfen and Misha Kavka Feminist Consequences
208
Getting to Deadlock
221

A Story of SexualSubordination Feminism and Its Others
27
Liberation and Responsibility
31
The PoliticalTheoretical Struggle over Taking a Break
37
Some Feminist Priors
41
Cultural Feminism
58
Robin West Caring for Justice
60
MACKINNONWEST
76
Liberal Feminism
79
Convergentist and Divergentist Hybrid Feminism
81
The Combahee River Collective Statement
82
THE COMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVE STATEMENT
89
Gayatri Spivak Can the Subaltern Speak?
91
MACKINNONWESTCOMBAHEE RIVER COLLECTIVESPIVAK
102
THE BREAK
106
Gay IdentityFeminismQueer Theory
107
Gayle Rubin Thinking Sex
114
Receiving French Social Theory
119
FOUCAULTMACKINNONWESTGAYIDENTITY POLITICS
124
The Split from Feminism and within It
132
Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Epistemology of the Closet
133
Judith Butler Gender Trouble
136
BUTLERMACKINNON
139
Butler Imitation
140
Rubin Interview
146
Queer Theory by Men
150
Leo Bersani Is the Rectum a Grave?
151
BERSANITAKING A BREAK
165
Mapping Feminism and Queer Theory
227
Henry Abelove Michele Aina Barak and David M Halperin The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader
228
Sedgwick Tendencies and Michael Warner Fear of a Queer Planet
230
MACKINNONSPIVAKWARNERSEDGWICK
237
Elizabeth Weed and Naomi Schor feminism meets queer theory
244
Trans Theory Splits While Staying in Place
260
Jay Prosser Second Skins
261
PROSSERBUTLERRUBIN
273
How and Why to Take a Break from Feminism
281
Taking a Break to Decide I
283
The Costs of Making Difference Costless
285
Oncale v Sundowner Offshore Services
290
The Costs and Benefits of Taking a Break from Feminism
304
Silencing Women
306
Flight from Feminism Imagined as Limits to the Queer Utopia Imagined as Libertine Unbounded or Libertarian
308
Definitional Violence the Foreclosure of Critique and the Reinscription of Heterosexism in Queer Theory
309
Reifying Mere Terminology
312
Weakening Feminism and So Harming Real Women
316
The Benefits
319
Seeing the Brain Drain as a Good Thing
340
Resisting Bad Faith
341
Minimizing Moral Perfectionism and Magic Realism
344
Deconstituting Womens Suffering
345
Taking a Break to Decide II
348
Notes
365
Index
391
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About the author (2006)

Janet E. Halley is Professor of Law at Stanford University.

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