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Daly, Mary (1928–)


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


US radical lesbian feminist philosopher. Daly's first major books, The Church and the Second Sex (1968) and Beyond God the Father (1973), criticized misogyny in the Christian churches and argued that men's spiritual authority over women is a major component of P atriarchy and must be rejected. Her third and most controversial book, Gyn/Ecology (1978), initiated new formal and thematic directions in Daly's work. Arguing that patriarchy constructs reality primarily through language, Daly deconstructs patriarchal T exts as she seeks a new language with which to realize radical feminist consciousness and spirituality. Gyn/Ecology , while excitedly praised, was also criticized in an “Open letter” by Audre Lorde as racist in its rhetorical strategies, falsely universalizing, and exclusive. Although Daly never responded to Lorde in print, the subsequent debate among feminists productively clarified arguments for and against radical feminism, E ssentialism , and separatism. Academic feminists in the United States rarely cite Daly's later work, including Pure Lust (1984), Webster's First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language (1987), and Outercourse (1992), but Daly remains popular and influential among radicals, especially those influenced by French feminism, who value Daly's increasingly bold experimentation with language. See also E ssentialism ; L esbian ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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