Antisocial feminism? Shulamith firestone, monique wittig and proto-queer theory

Lisa Downing*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
693 Downloads (Pure)


Recent iterations of feminist theory and activism, especially intersectional, ‘third-wave’ feminism, have cast much second-wave feminism as politically unacceptable in failing to centre the experiences of less privileged subjects than the often white, often middle-class names with which the second wave is usually associated. While bearing those critiques in mind, this article argues that some second-wave writers, exemplified by Shulamith Firestone and Monique Wittig, may still offer valuable feminist perspectives if viewed through the anti-normative lens of queer theory. Queer resists the reification of identity categories. It focuses on resistance to hegemonic norms, rather than on group identity. By viewing Wittig's and Firestone's critique of the institutions of the family, reproduction, maternity, and work as proto-queer — and specifically proto-antisocial queer — it argues for a feminism that refuses to shore up identity, that rejects groupthink, and that articulates meaningfully the crucial place of the individual in the collective project of feminism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-379
Number of pages16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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