PCT and Feminisms: asking again...

Alessandra Iantaffi (A.Iantaffi@reading.ac.uk)
Mon, 20 May 1996 14:23:42 +0100 (BST)

Dear Wendy, Bob, Lois, Reid, Ana and all the others involved in this

I have followed with interest the debate I seem to have generated on
feminism, and I can't resist making a few comments.
There have been many definition of feminism (explicit or implicit), and
many comments on the various definitions, it is really exciting to see
what feminism means to people, and how men (in particular) react to the
word (please do not take offence guys:-)). I agree with Wendy that there
are many feminisms in the world at the moment, however I do think that
they have something in common: they all focus on women, and their
situation in their societies and cultures. I like the comments made by
Lois about feminism as a way of deconstructing our society/culture, etc.
Regard the discussion on why use the word feminism, if by it we mean a
general humanism, I must say that,
personally, I don't see feminism as the opposite pole for masculinism, as
they are (to me) two incommensurable realities. With this I don't mean
that there is no understanding and/or compromise between the two or that
equality is impossible. I do mean, though, that it is a basic difference
humankind has in itself, a dichotomy that is not only social, but
physical as well. Unfortunately, in many societies, this difference has
become a way of justifying the supremacy of half of the population on the
other half. Within this we have also managed to develop other forms of
supremacy, oppression and discrimination towards people with different
skin colour, different abilities (mental and physycal), different
religions, and so on. While I value the struggle of many minorities
groups, and support the work of some that specifically relate to my
identity and experiences, I still use the word 'feminist' to describe
myself. Why? Basically, because I believe that this world (in its many
parts) is still, and it has been for a long time, dominated by men who
make women feel as a minority group when we aren't. Women count for
roughly the 50% of the population (more or less), and men (of various
colours, religions, abilities) still tend to be on top. However, my main
concern is not about getting women to the top, but to change the
paradigm. Some women at the top have values that are no different from
those of the men in similar jobs, and that is no surprise when they have
grown up 'breathing' those values all around them. We live in a world
that, by large, ignores, (through laws, customs, traditions, etc..) that
women exist or, better, that they have equal rights. Personally, I don't
want to be hired on a job _because_ I am a woman and that company needs
more women in their staff for their E.O. image, but i don't want to be
_stopped_ getting _any_ job I want because I am a woman either. (Sorry, I
realise this is not very clear). EO is not, IMHO, about creating more
creches and giving more training, but about getting laws, a government
and a tradition that value and include my existence as a woman (and that
might mean creating more creches and training, but in a different light).
Say whatever you like, but at the moment we don't have one either in the UK
or in Italy. It might be useful to say that 'my' feminist model comes
from women like Luce Irigaray (who does, by the way, a brilliant critique
of Freud) and that does not always fit with what people in the UK and in
the USA understand by feminism. To cut a long story short I am a feminist
because I want a more 'inclusive' society, but this inclusion, sometimes,
might have to come through the acceptance of differences.

In this light,
I dare come back to my original question: what about PCT and Feminisms?
Can they cohabit under the same sky? I honestly know too little of PCT
to have an answer, any ideas/comments?

P.S. I know this is not neatly said, so excuse me for these streams of
thoughts but when it comes to personal beliefs I find difficult to
express them.