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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 17, 2001

Communication, Conflict, and Reconciliation

Heidi Nelson Hochenedel, Douglas Mann
Pages 163-178

On the Impotence of Cultural Post-Feminism

In this paper, we argue that the Cultural Left and what we call cultural post-feminism has done little to alleviate conditions of subjugation and oppression of girls and women outside of academia and has in fact been complacent with patriarchal social structures. Cultural post-feminism, with its focus on difference and identity and its fear of speaking on behalf of the down-trodden for fear of "colonizing" them with Western ideologies, has made few serious attempts to evoke a real alternative to super-tolerant liberal pluralism. Further, we argue that academic feminism's traditional involvement with textual analysis rather than pragmatic social and political action has cooperated with the conservative academic climate in colleges and universities, giving students an overly abstract and elitist view of the feminist project. We call for a more active and progressive form of academic feminist thought, one that focuses less on difference, identity, and textuality, and more on social and political equality and justice.

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