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Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism

Currently reading Gyn/Ecology by Mary Daly (1978) for my dissertation. I’m 197 pages in and have at least two hundred more. Ooph. 


Daly’s approach and ideas are radical and nothing if not thought-provoking.  Daly is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea.  Well, some versions of Daly may be, as her theory and writing style changed so drastically from the late ’60s up until the time of her death last year.  (Which I am working to demonstrate in the chapter I am currently writing.) So I provide the following quotations without further comment:

"There is no way to remove male/masculine imagery from God.  Thus, when writing/speaking ‘anthropomorphically’ of ultimate reality, of the divine spark of be-ing, I now choose to write/speak gynomorphically.  I do so because God represents the necrophilia of patriarchy, whereas Goddess affirms the life-loving be-ing of women and nature.”  (xlv)

"What happens, then, when the cauldron of women-identified transforming power is stolen, that is, reversed by christian myth into the chalice, a symbol of the alleged transforming power of an all male priesthood?  Just this: patriarchy asserts its power over others in the name of the male god by using the ancient symbol of nonhierarchical, gynocentric transforming energy.  The priest is playing priestess.  Hiding behind her symbol, he attempts to change wine into ‘sacred’ blood—the christian version of Male Menstruation.”  (82)

"Physical rape is not necessary when the mind/will/spirit has already been invaded." (85)

"Seventh, there is legitimation of the ritual by the rituals of ‘objective’ scholarship—despite appearances of disapproval.  The basic cultural assumptions which make the atrocious ritual possible and plausible remain unquestioned, and the practice itself is misnamed and isolated from other parallel symptoms of the planetary patriarchal practice of female maiming and massacre.”  (133 This statement references suttee, but she reiterates this basic point when discussing other woman-hurting practices.) 

"The second element of the syndrome—erasure of male responsibility—is evident in footbinding…. After all, women ‘did it to themselves.’" (137)

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