vol 24 - 1998

The cluster of essays in this issue of Feminist Studies entitled “Female Forms of Resistance” confirms that women’s resistance to patriarchy has assumed myriad forms, some explicitly feminist—although not unproblematic—and others not feminist at all, yet still demonstrations of women’s attempts to thwart male authority and asset their own individual beliefs. Bernice L. Hausman’s essay, “Sex before Gender: Charlotte Perkins Gilman and the Evolutionary Paradigm of Utopia,” is a skillful history of how sexual difference was conceptualized in the early twentieth century. In contemporary debates over whether gender or sex should form the “primary category of feminist analysis” Hausman opts for privileging “sex” over “gender” as an analytic category in order to dissolve the artificial demarcations scholars have made between the “social” and “nonsocial,” or better still between culture and biology. In a close analysis of Gilman’s Herland and Women and Economics, Hausman demonstrates how Gilman produced “a political response to Darwinian and Spencerian evolutionism that both incorporated and resisted evolutional arguments concerning sexual difference.” For all its positive contributions to a political stance that rejected the prevailing evolutionist perspective on sexual difference, Gilman’s feminist ideology, unfortunately, was one that “promoted racism as part of its overall program.” Despite this limitation in Gilman’s feminist vision of the future, Hausman suggests that contemporary feminist scholars would do well to heed the attention Gilman paid to the materialist of sex” as a possible way out of the conundrum of “sex/gender distinction” that seems to plague some contemporary feminist theorizing.


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Bernice L. Hausman
Sex Before Gender: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
and the Evolutionary Paradign of Utopia

Nicole Polier
True Transgressions: Refusal and Recolonization
in the Narrative of Papuan Migrant "Bighead"

Jennifer McLerran
Disciplined Subjects and Docile Bodies
in the Work of Contemporary Artist Jana Sterbak

Elizabet Meese
The Mom of My Dreams

Rachel Bagby
Vow (Poetry)

Judith Newton
White Guys (Review Essay)

Marlon B. Ross
In Search of Black Men's Masculinities (Review Essay)

Brain Luke
Violent Love: Hunting, Heterosexuality,
and the Erotics of Men's Predation

Lise Weil
What She Thinks about What She Thinks of Love (Fiction)

Laura Doan
Passing Fashions: Reading Female Masculinities in the 1920s

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