chapter  1
17 Pages

‘Race’, Gender and the Concept of ‘Difference’ in Feminist Thought

WithMary Maynard

This chapter is concerned with theorizing the interrelationships between ‘race’ and gender oppression and the extent to which this is furthered by using the concept of ‘difference’. It hardly needs stating that second-wave Western feminism has come under sustained criticism for its universalistic, homogenized and ‘white’ assumptions about women, since so much has been written on the subject (Frye, 1983; Collins, 1990; hooks, 1982, 1984, 1989, 1991; Ramazanoglu, 1989; Spelman, 1988). Much of this critique has concentrated on diversity among women, rather than, as previously, the things that might be said to unite them. Not only do women diverge in terms of how ‘race’, ethnicity, class, age, sexuality and disability effect their experiences, other factors, such as historical context and geographical location, also need to be part of the framework of feminist analyses.