By Denise Riley
Writing approximately alterations within the inspiration of womanhood, Denise Riley examines, within the demeanour of Foucault, transferring historic buildings of the class of "women" relating to different different types significant to suggestions of personhood: the soul, the brain, the physique, nature, the social. Feminist events, Riley argues, have had no selection yet to play out this indeterminacy of ladies. this is often made undeniable of their oscillations, because the 1790s, among ideas of equality and of distinction. to completely realize the paradox of the class of "women" is, she contends, an important situation for a good feminist political philosophy.
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Additional info for ‘Am I That Name?’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History
Richardson's Clarissa is a clear example of a sexualised religiosity which is being deployed in order to scrutinise religious conviction. ' 76 There is indeed nothing unprecedented about the conviction that there are close proximities between the spiritual and the erotic, exemplified by the mediaeval mystics of both sexes. But a different phenomenon altogether occurred when the slow extension of a homogenising Nature, aided by independent revisions in theological thought, pervaded the idea of the soul of woman so as to displace it.
Yet why, she wonders, are there so few works by women authors, with the honourable exceptions of a few like Mrs Philips and Mrs Behn? Because, she believes, potential women writers may be thwarted at the outset, persuaded by custom never to enquire so far into themselves and their own Abilities, as to bring such a thought into their Heads. This last I fancy is the true Reason, why our Sex, who are commonly charged with talking too much, are Guilty of writing so little. 33 Vanity and incompetence are vices generously scattered throughout the population of men, too; she digresses to satirical denunciations of the Pedant and the Country Squire among others, to attacks on the Beau, the Bully, the Poetaster, the Coffee-House Savant and the tedious breed of Natural Historians, 'Vertuoso's' who never know when to subside.
14 One of the peculiarities of 'women' in its proximity to 'the social' is a doubled feminisation. In so far as the concerns of the social are familial standards- health, education, hygiene, fertility, demography, chastity and fecundity- and the heart of the family is inexorably the woman, then the woman is also solidly inside of that which has to some degree already been feminised. The 'social' does not merely admit women to it; something more constructive than a matter of entry or access is going on; it is as if 'women' become established as a new kind of sociological collectivity.
‘Am I That Name?’: Feminism and the Category of ‘Women’ in History by Denise Riley