chapter  12
3 Pages

Vandana Shiva, 'Women in Nature' (1989)

Feminists first began to develop a critique of the "politics of the body", however, not in terms of the body as represented, but in terms of the material body as a site of political struggle. The role of American feminism in developing a "political" understanding of body practice is rarely acknowledged. In describing the historical emergence of such an understanding, Don Hanlon Johnson leaps straight from Marx to Foucault, effacing the intellectual role played by the social movements of the sixties in awakening consciousness of the body as "an instrument of power". While honoring French feminists Irigaray, Wittig, Cixous, and Kristeva for their work on the body "as the site of the production of new modes of subjectivity" and Beauvoir for the "understanding of the body as a situation", Linda Zirelli credits Foucault with having "showed us how the body has been historically disciplined"; to Anglo-American feminism is simply attributed the "essentialist" view of the body as an "archaic natural".