Gyn/Ecology: Metaethics of Radical Feminism

by Mary Daly | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0704338505 Global Overview for this book
Registered by martinburo of Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on 7/24/2005
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by martinburo from Norwich, Norfolk United Kingdom on Sunday, July 24, 2005
While this is a very angry book, I found it a great read. First of all, because the anger is constructive (For instance, I read four books of the top five she recommends. For the fifth I am in a bookring that got stalled). Secondly, because the language is both beautiful, expressive and is a very thought provoking and stimulating example of exposing patriarchy and offering a feminist alternative both in its form and content (I apologise for not following suit). Thirdly, for showing me again all the patriarchy I carry around in myself. And, together with A vindication of the rights of woman and Three guineas, for showing the historical perspective on gender equality, where it's been, why it's taking so long, the progress that has been made, and why it will take 740 more years, and a glimpse of what it will mean to achieve it. I also think this book started a trend for me to find the right book at the right time. The only negative thing I found about this book is that there is nothing on ecology in it, but the title is consistent with MD's efforts to redefine words in a women identified way. I read this pre-BC, and lent it to a colleague. I would like to reread it, but not right now, so I will offer it as a bookring.
participants so far:
CatharinaL
gaysocialworker
dakotamidnight (skipped)
pelikanol (Denmark)
pam99 (UK)
al3xa (UK)
prilade (Bulgaria, post within EU)
okyrhoe (Greece)
Stoxasths (Greece)
scrutiny (China)

This ring is still open.

Journal Entry 2 by CatharinaL from Pirkkala, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Thursday, August 11, 2005
Gyn/Ecology arrived via mail this morning. Thank you for organizing the ring, martinburo!

Journal Entry 3 by CatharinaL from Pirkkala, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Monday, August 15, 2005
Daly's writing is exquisitely accessible poetry, full of neoformations and linguistic puns, excellent to read out loud. Her language and style are a mixture of imaginative poetic insight and quality journalism.

A thought-provoking source of awareness and inspiration, Gyn/Ec should be offered as standard classroom reading. I can very well see how these interpretations of "our" culture(s) and history would be a wake-up call to women of all ages and nationalities [or: of all areas of male-dominated existence?]. It is written in a fantastic yet accessible language that makes each paragraph a revelation almost -- whether or not you're attracted to all aspects of Daly's underlying ideology.

Most of Daly's ideas/claims certainly are suggestive, but their validity is not always unquestionable. Also, some of the passages are overly repetitive, while the significance of some others has faded over the course of time (e.g. bra burning).

Now reading Daly for the first time, I pondered on a couple of issues:

1) GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION. Daly attacks all males (regardless of orientation), male-to-female transsexuals, as well as non-conscious women. According to Daly, all men are originators, planners, controllers, and legimitators of patriarchy, whether or not they understand that they are communicating gynocidal messages. In this respect, a gay male (boosting the patriarchal models and Apollonian male bonding) is no better than a straight male (boosting the patriarchy by consciously or unconsciously oppressing women). Also, male-to-female transsexuals supposedly portray wrong images of 'femininity'. All of these represent nonsupport for the ideology; the difference is that non-conscious women may be partially 'saved', while there is absolutely no mercy for men. Daly writes: "[Women] seek each other in all the wrong places --, and, most tragically, in the male." True, women can stop this seeking, women can cut next to all our ties of dependency to mankind, but, heterosexual/bisexual women cannot choose not to be heterosexual/bisexual. All women are not free to convert to lesbianism even after they come to feminist consciousness! For a while, I toyed with the deceptive idea of psychological conditioning as the dominant reason for acting out the (male-imposed) heterosexual/sexist models. To what extent does psychological conditioning distort one's biological inclination and construct one's sexual orientation? And further: must all true radical feminists also be lesbian by default?

2) DEFINITIONS AND TARGETS. Daly concentrates on defining men, the patriarchy, the various presentations of phallocracy etc., but fails to define the actual womanhood. Instead, she defines at length what womanhood is not. Neither does she define the desirable role of men in an ideal world. Daly also lumps pollution, technocracy etc. together under 'phallocratic technology', without clearly proving or justifying the reason behind her model of phallocracy+necrophilia. Is all technology phallocratic? If not, what criteria is to be used to distinguish between phallocratic technology and non-phallocratic technology? If the aim is to reverse the phallocratic reversal, where does that lead in regard to men? It is clear that radical feminists attack the Dionysian 'Male Approval Desire'. It is not at all as clear whether the aim is to eliminate men altogether.

3) SELF/OTHER. According to Daly, a spinster is vaguely described as "she who has chosen her Self, -- neither in relation to children nor to men, who is Self-identified." I can't see how this should in practice be any different from the male competitive individualism, hedonism, and idolatry of scarcity. Also, one of Daly's methods is to attack the "implanted pseudodichotomies between the self and "other" reality, while it unmasks the unreality of both "self" and "world" as these are portrayed, betrayed, in the language of the fathers' foreground." However, it's not once explained whether she is attacking the Lacanian self/other dichotomy in its entirety. I missed a deeper psychological insight in these passages.

*****
[17/08] Sent to the next person on the ring.


Journal Entry 4 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Thursday, September 01, 2005
Arrived! Will get to ASAP, and then send on.

Journal Entry 5 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Monday, October 03, 2005
Just to update, I still have the book. My reading has gotten a bit behind due to a death in the family. I'll be getting this one read and out during the month of October.

Journal Entry 6 by trevor4551 from Caloundra, Queensland Australia on Sunday, November 13, 2005
PM'ed dakotamidnight a couple of times. Appears that s/he is the last on the list. I've gotten no response. I'll hold until I get the name of the next person. :)

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