Revolutionary Love: Feminism, Love, and the Transformative Politics of Freedom in the Works of Wollstonecraft, Beauvoir, and Goldman
Romantic love poses a problem for feminists. Controlled by the church and state and subject to the tyrannies of capitalism, love is a deeply personal relationship embedded in institutional structures that are oppressive to women. In the relations of love we ﬁ nd women bound by marriage, housework, family, children, sex, violence, and femininity, and it is the oppressive nature of these relations that compels the feminist critique of romantic love, for the ideology of love is the glue that helps keep these oppressive relations intact. The feminist critique of love rises to the challenge of collapsing the personal and the political, as it is here that feminist theory intersects with practice and where love and sexuality, hitherto considered “private matters” dismissed by the most revolutionary of groups, become public concerns worthy of struggle. As will be explored in this chapter, love for the feminist theorist is very much a political and intellectual issue, and it is the political dimension of love that I wish to emphasize: not only do the feminist theorists examined here insist on the compatibility of love and political work, they also demonstrate how love, rather than being accepted in its current form, can indeed be revolutionized so as to conform to a political and social ideal-and a feminist ideal-rooted in the practice of freedom.