Social Philosophy Today

Volume 25, 2009

Gender, Diversity, and Difference

Claudia Leeb
Pages 47-60

The Im-Possibility of a Feminist Subject

It is widely acknowledged that the notion of a stable feminist subject, which refers to the category “woman” as a shared identity for all women, has led to the exclusion of all those women who do not fit neatly into its boundaries. Against the giving up of the subject or the invoking of the feminist subject as a pragmatic strategy, as suggested by Judith Butler, this paper suggests that we need a feminist subject-in-outline for an emancipatory feminist politics. Such a subject emerges in what Jacques Lacan has termed the moment of the real, the remainder or the gap in the total signifier “woman.” It is in this moment where all those women who have been rendered invisible and without a proper place in the feminist community can become subjects and transform its boundaries.