Are Feminists Afraid to Leave Home? The Challenge of

Are Feminists Afraid to Leave
Home? The Challenge of
Conservative Pro-family Feminism
By Judith Stacey
Retreat from Sexual Politics
Rise of conservative Pro-family
Feminism in the 1980s
Noted feminists repudiates the core
sexual politics of earlier feminism that
directly challenges male domination
Claims that politicization of private
sphere threatens the family
Betty Friedan
The Second Stage The First Stage
•1960s and 1970s: Women’s
Liberation Movement
• Pitting women against Men
• Struggle against the
feminine mystique
Betty Friedan批判第一階段女性主義
First Stage feminism is said to have created a
rigid ideology, “Feminist Mystique,” that
adopts a male model of careerism and public
achievement as female goals.
 Denied women’s needs for intimacy, family,
and children
 Based on a “serious ideological error”,認
Betty Friedan新局勢、新策略
The Second Stage
Women join with men to complete the “sex
role revolution”  雙薪雙親家庭
 Transcending female/male polarization to
achieve new “human wholeness”
 AlphaBeta mode
Betty Friedan
Make the family our “new frontier”
 Avoid polarization between women & men,
feminists & antifeminists, and we can do so
if we centre our struggle on the right to
choose to have children.
Betty Friedan
As women and men share familial and public
responsibilities and values they will be able to
humanize capitalist corporations and the armed
Take advantage of the flexibility of the capitalist
system and restructure it to meet their new needs.
Calls for a massive self-help effort that builds
upon American tradition of self-reliance and the
existing foundation of voluntary organizations.
Definition of the Family
“The Family is who you come home to.”
No going back to the “classical family of
Western nostalgia”
Tolerance for a broad array of contemporary
forms of family life and of purposeful
efforts to establish voluntary communities
on the basis of shared interests and needs.
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Sexual politics: “the personal is the political”
Represents the collapsing of all boundaries
between public and private life
Private→family→personal life
Alternative family: Inauthentic,
individualistic, irresponsible (215)
Female labor force: needs to recognize the
biological differences between two sexes
Social feminism: traditionally feminine
values of nurturance is rooted in private
sphere→ethical polity
Retreat from Sexual Politics – Greer
Core- “against interventions
by Western population
planner in the fertility
behavior in the ‘Third
 Western Culture
(including feminist culture) :
classically patriarchal
1. Sisterhood in the big Family
- female collectivity
- 不受限於丈夫
2. Despair of the alternatives
- Romantic love  Sexual Love
- retreat from sexual radicalism  defense of
chastity as a form of eroticism, birth control
The Great Leap Backward
None of the 3 feminists cited identify male
domination as a problem that requires
political or any other attention.
Friedan shifts to concern for “human”
problem; Elshtain evaluates femaleidentified virtues; Greer preoccupied with
imperialism of global population
Friedan thinks we cannot win sexual
equality if we antagonize men.
Elshtain is hostile to the subject of male
domination, interested only in preserving
female moral and social sensibilities, which
links to the social subordination of women.
→Fails to threaten male domination, the
economic or political structures of
Giving up the sex/gender system means a
loss of capacity to analyze the social
processes of domination
Disappearance of a feminist critique of the
Retreat to gender essentialism
The Challenge of Conservative