I love it when some thoughts have been tumbling around in my head for a while and I open a book and out pops a paragraph or two that speaks what has been troubling me. I love that I'm in school again, so that this happens to me fairly often. And I love that I have a blog where I can randomly toss these thoughts to the wind as if the wind gave a fig for what is tumbling about in my brain.
From The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problem of Domination by Jessica Benjamin:
In adopting the feminist critique of gender polarity, I am aware that it has sometimes tended to reinforce the dualism it criticizes. Every binary split creates a temptation to merely reverse its terms, to elevate w hat has been devalued and denigrate what has been overvalued. To avoid the tendency toward reversal is not easy--especially given the existing division in which the female is culturally defined as that which is not male. In order to challenge the sexual split which permeates our psychic, cultural, and social life, it is necessary to criticize not only the idealization of the masculine side, but also the reactive valorization of femininity. What is necessary is not to take sides but to remain focused on the dualistic structure itself.
The stakes of this enterprise are high. A sharper perspective on this matter is particularly important to feminist thought today, because a major tendency in feminism has constructed the problem of domination as a drama of female vulnerability victimized by male aggression. Even the more sophisticated feminist thinkers frequently shy away form the analysis of submission, for fear that in admitting woman's participation in the relationship of domination, the onus of responsibility will appear to shift from men to women, and the moral victory from women to men. More generally, this has been a weakness of radical politics: to idealize the oppressed, as if their politics and culture were untouched by the system of domination. To reduce domination to a simple relation of doer and done-to is to substitute moral outrage for analysis. Such a simplification, moreover, reproduces the structure of gender polarity under the guise of attacking it. (9-10)