Full Text

Anarchism and gender

Jesse Cohn


Subject History
Philosophy » Feminist Philosophy
Applied Psychology » Political Psychology

Place World

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

People Goldman, Emma

Key-Topics gender, libertarianism, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00062.x


Extract

Pierre Joseph Proudhon (1809–65), the first to write the words “I am an anarchist” in 1840, was at the same time a convinced anti-feminist, regarding women as intellectual and moral inferiors and dedicating an entire book to attacking feminism as a form of modern decadence or “pornocracy” (1858, 1875). These arguments led feminist radical Jenny d'Héricourt (1809–75) to reply not only that his accounts of women were contradicted by historical and scientific fact, but that “you contradict your own principles” (1864: 117). Joseph Déjacque went further, admonishing Proudhon either to “speak out against man's exploitation of woman” or “do not describe yourself as an anarchist” (1857/2005: 71); he went on to denounce the patriarchal family, “a pyramid with the boss at its head and children, woman and servants at its base.” The inference made by both – that the egalitarian and anti-authoritarian principles which Proudhon opposed to the domination of church, state, and capital must also be consistently applied to relations between men and women – did, in fact, become the preeminent interpretation of anarchism vis-à-vis gender, in theory if not always in practice, from the late nineteenth century on. Well before Proudhon, proto-anarchist thinkers such as Gerrard Winstanley (1609–76) laid down some notable precedents for anarchist feminism. A radical Christian, Winstanley suggested that ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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