chapter  5
32 Pages

‘Men’s violence’ on the agenda – proliferating feminisms

Confining feminist perspectives to two chapters as originally planned has proven to be impossible. Feminist interjections have peppered this book from the start; such is our determination to legislate the ‘proper’ handling of the fraught social problem of men’s violence. We are, it could even be said, constitutionally incapable of remaining silent whenever non-feminist commentators say something spectacularly silly, as they so often do, in defence of violent men. But who, exactly, are ‘we’ and what do we think is the best way to tackle the ‘Man’ question? Four decades of proliferating feminisms has ensured that there is no single feminist viewpoint on this or any other sex/gender issue, and the movement’s conceptualisations of sex, violence and crime are all the more enriched for it. There has even been a hearty discussion, in various feminist camps, about whether ‘women’ exist. As for the thorny question of how to tackle men’s violence against women, such is the depth and diversity of feminist theoretical and political work in that field that whenever I hear or see a reference to ‘the’ feminist view, I reach for my revolver.1