vol 16 - 1990

Motherhood is as American as apple pie and as difficult as piecrust-crumbling, flaky, hard to hold, capable of being filled with all sorts of sweet or bitter contents-and not every woman's dish. The essays in this issue of Feminist Studies concern differences among women at the same time that they illustrate disciplinary and discursive differences within feminist scholarship. The first two essays tackle contemporary American feminist controversies about motherhood: workplace pregnancy policy and female infertility. Later in the issue, two others offer complementary views of lesbian subjectivity as a way of escaping patriarchal culture's insistence on Woman as always and only mother and (hetero)sexual object. By refusing to define women with reference either to motherhood or to sexual availability to men, these two essays discover a subjectivity that is "something else."

Lise Vogel's article on the treatment of pregnancy in the workplace deals with differences among women in an immediately political way. Sparked by the 1987 Cal Fed case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states may provide pregnant women with benefits beyond those mandated for all workers in cases of temporary disability, Vogel's inquiry probes the dilemmas that such "special-treatment" laws pose for feminist policymakers and legal theorists. Should our goal simply be to ensure that both genders are treated equally in the public policy arena, or should socially constructed gender differences and biologically based sex differences like those associated with pregnancy be structured into the policy process? Vogel explores the history and theory informing this set of dilemmas, exposing the ways they have divided feminists in both the past and the present. She suggests a solution to which the politics of equality are central but which embraces diversity as well-diversity not only in the form of gender difference but also along other social dimensions.



Lise Vogel
Debating Difference: Feminism, Pregnancy, and the Workplace

Margarete Sandelowski
Fault Lines: Infertility and Imperiled Sisterhood

Sandra Morgen
Beyond the Double Day: Work and Family in Working-Class Women's Lives (a Review Essay)

Joanne Johnston Francis
Green Pastures

Penelope J. Engelbrecht
"Lifting Belly Is a Language": The Postmodern Lesbian Subject

Teresa de Lauretis
Eccentric Subjects: Feminist Theory and Historical Consciousness

Paula Rabinowitz
Seeing through the Gendered I: Feminist Film Theory
(a Review Essay)

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