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Not woman enough: Irigaray's culture of difference

Bray, A. (2001) Not woman enough: Irigaray's culture of difference. Feminist Theory, 2 (3). pp. 311-327.

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This article examines the limitations associated with Irigaray’s concept of a culture of difference. I suggest that her concept of sexual difference depends upon a conservative fiction of sameness. I argue that a fiction of phallic sameness underpins her evangelical championing of difference, and that such a fiction retains a conservative blindness to the complexities of contemporary social relations and erases the positive effects oppositional discourses have had on the culture of modernity. I question the debt Irigaray disavows to other non-difference feminism, her insistence that woman are radically marginalized and suggest that her culture of difference is prescriptive and normative. Egalitarian feminism, understood as a postmodern project, is far more strategic, insofar as it offers a multiply-situated analysis of the relationship between women and power within modernity. I replace Irigaray’s negative image of the egalitarian feminist as an unnatural woman with the figure of the cyborg who embraces ontological impurity and strategically works within culture.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Copyright: © 2001 by SAGE Publications
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