Letting Go
159 pages

Vous pourrez modifier la taille du texte de cet ouvrage

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris
Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
159 pages

Vous pourrez modifier la taille du texte de cet ouvrage

Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus


At a time when women are being exhorted to "lean in" and work harder to get ahead, Letting Go: Feminist and Social Justice Insight and Activism encourages both women and men to "let go" instead. The book explores alternatives to the belief that individual achievement, accumulation, and attention-seeking are the road to happiness and satisfaction in life. Letting go demands a radical recognition that the values, relationships, and structures of our neoliberal (competitive, striving, accumulating, consuming, exploiting, oppressive) society are harmful both on a personal level and, especially important, on a social and environmental level.

There is a huge difference between letting go and "chilling out." In a lean-in society, self-care is promoted as something women and men should do to learn how to "relax" and find a comfortable work-life balance. By contrast, a feminist letting-go and its attendant self-care have the potential to be a radical act of awakening to social and environmental injustice and a call to activism.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 septembre 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826520678
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1000€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Letting Go
Letting Go
Feminist and Social Justice Insight and Activism
Donna King and Catherine (Kay) G. Valentine ,
©2015 by Vanderbilt University Press
Nashville, Tennessee 37235
All rights reserved
First printing 2015
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file
LC control number 2014045417
LC classification HQ1155.L47 2015
Dewey class number 305.42—dc23
ISBN 978-0-8265-2065-4 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-0-8265-2066-1 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-8265-2067-8 (ebook)
Letting Go Feminism: Reconnecting Self-Care and Social Justice
Catherine (Kay) G. Valentine
Part One: Theoretical Perspectives
1. Toward a Feminist Theory of Letting Go
Donna King
2. On the Interdependence of Personal and Social Transformation
David R. Loy
3. Leaning In and Letting Go: Feminist Tools for Valuing Nonwork
Jennifer Randles
4. Letting Go of Normal when “Normal” Is Pathological, or Why Feminism Is a Gift to Men
Robert Jensen
Part Two: Personal Essays
5. When “Straight-Acting” Lost Its Luster: Letting Go of Masculine Privilege
Anthony C. Ocampo
6. The Gold Pen
Deborah J. Cohan
7. Whether Willing or Unwilling: The Personal, the Professional, and Two Years of Too Much
Meghan M. Sweeney
8. Letting Go: How Does a Feminist Retire?
Diane E. Levy
9. When Enough Is Enough: African American Women Reclaiming Themselves
Shirley A. Jackson
Part Three: Ethnographies
10. What to Let Go: Insights from Online Cervical Cancer Narratives
Tracy B. Citeroni
11. Stay-at-Home Fathers: Are Domestic Men Bucking Hegemonic Masculinity?
Steven Farough
12. From Retail Banking to Credit Counseling: Opting Out and Tuning In
Kevin J. Delaney
13. Keeping Up Appearances: Working Class Feminists Speak Out about the Success Model in Academia
Roxanne Gerbrandt and Liza Kurtz
14. Letting Go and Having Fun: Redefining Aging in America
Deana A. Rohlinger and Haley Gentile
Part Four: Ecological Perspectives
15. Letting Go and Getting Real: Applying Buddhist Principles to Address Environmental Crisis
Janine Schipper
16. Consuming Violence: Oil and Food in Everyday Life
Patricia Widener
17. Growing Food, Growing Justice: Letting Go by Holding On to the Feminine Principle
Leontina Hormel and Ryanne Pilgeram
Part Five: Visionary Feminism
18. Dig Deep: Beyond Lean In
bell hooks
Letting Go
Letting Go Feminism
Reconnecting Self-Care and Social Justice
Catherine (Kay) G. Valentine
What is letting go and how might it contribute to feminist and social justice insight and activism? In this introduction we address this question by explicitly critiquing neoliberal feminism and the radical individualism it promotes as exemplified in Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In (2013).
A letting go feminist perspective as we envision it demands a radical recognition that the values and structures of our neoliberal (competitive, striving, accumulating, consuming, exploiting, oppressive) society are harmful and destructive both on a personal level (something some of the more privileged of us discover when we can’t “keep up” with performance demands, for example) AND, especially important, on a social and environmental level. In other words, letting go is a practice of self-awareness in the service of a more humane, interconnected, interdependent social system, and it is a critique and rejection of unreflective neoliberal individualism and its destructive social forms and structures. We argue that a feminist letting go and its attendant self-care has the potential to be a radical act of awakening to social and environmental injustice and a call to activism for more humane and sustainable alternative structures. This is our basic orientation in moving toward a feminist theory of letting go and thus the context of this book.
In what follows we briefly define neoliberal capitalism and neoliberal feminism, offer a short critique of neoliberal feminism’s notion of care, further discuss the theory and practice of letting go, and show how the contributions in this collection address these issues from various perspectives. While our focus is the contemporary United States, the issues are global in their reach and consequences.
Neoliberal Capitalism
Neoliberal capitalism is an ideology and a form of political economy that favors unregulated markets and radical individualism. Neoliberalism emphasizes the necessity and desirability of “transferring economic power and control from governments to private markets” (Centeno and Cohen 2011, 1). Under neoliberalism, corporate expansion into all walks of life, from education to health care, is viewed as good for everyone (“What’s good for business is good for the nation”), and individual choice and responsibility are elevated to moral imperatives (“Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies”). 1 Neoliberalism is, in many respects, an extreme expression of the American Dream, where the heroes are the self-made men or women who can stand on their own two feet and look after themselves with minimal reliance on others. Margaret Thornton (2004, 7) captures the essence of neoliberalism—it is “the shift away from the familiar relationship of citizen and state to that of consumer/entrepreneur and market,” a shift that signals the replacement of “social justice and common good” by “individual desire and private profit.” 2
Neoliberal Feminism
Neoliberal feminism (also referred to as free market or choice feminism) emerged in tandem with the normalization of neoliberalism. In the United States, neoliberal feminism took center stage with the 2013 publication of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In , a New York Times bestseller for seventy weeks and counting as we write this in the summer of 2014. Reinforcing the neoliberal sanctification of self-determination, Lean In ’s central focus is the individual woman and her responsibility for overcoming internal obstacles (e.g., lack of confidence) that prevent her from getting ahead in corporate America. “We can dismantle the hurdles in ourselves today,” says Sandberg (2013, 9). Touting the neoliberal mandates for women to be successful through striving, accumulating, and attention-seeking, Lean In spawned a very profitable industry including the Lean In Foundation, Lean In Circles, a movie deal, and a second book aimed at women college graduates (Sandberg 2014).
It is not surprising that Lean In has been wildly successful in this era of neoliberalism. Although Sandberg acknowledges a few institutional barriers to women’s success in the workplace (e.g., the gender pay gap), she glosses over any meaningful analysis of those barriers in favor of emphasizing her argument that individual women can rise to the top by freeing themselves from holding themselves back. Sandberg is the quintessential neoliberal. Her vision of freedom rests on women accepting full responsibility for our own well-being. Professional success (power through corporate leadership) and personal fulfillment (happiness at home and work) will come to women who follow Sandberg’s prescriptions for getting ahead by becoming an entrepreneur of the self.
But Lean In is more than a celebration of privatization, corporatization, and the self-made woman. It is “symptomatic of a larger cultural phenomenon in which neoliberal feminism is fast displacing liberal, social justice feminism” ( Rottenberg 2013, 419) as well as feeding the ongoing marginalization of radical and socialist feminisms (see discussion below). Sidelining twentieth century feminisms built on collective identity, basic rights, and shared sacrifice, neoliberal feminism promotes the belief that gender inequality will be resolved through the hard work and generosity of the entrepreneurial women (supported by entrepreneurial “husbands”) who climb the ladder (or jungle gym, per Sandberg) to success. The social inequalities that undergird that ladder are never questioned by Sandberg. Catherine Rottenberg (2013) astutely summarizes the flawed thinking underlying Sandberg’s lean in philosophy: “her feminism is so individuated that it has been completely unmoored from any notion of social inequality and consequently cannot offer any sustained analytic of the structures of male dominance, power, or privilege” (224–25, emphasis in the original).
Care-Lite and Faux Feminism
Care, a major theme across the essays in this book and historically a central concern of feminism and other social justice movements, is one of the victims of neoliberalism and its feminist proponents. Judith Butler (2012) reminds us that care is a precondition of life, an absolute necessity for a livable life, but care is diminished and degraded by the neoliberal ideology of radical individualism. Butler observes that, “Our very bodily existence depends upon systems of support that are both human and non-human” (165). We are vulnerable, all of us, and our vulnerability is key to our need for social relations and institutions that make life worth living. Butler continues, “Vulnerability not only designates a relation to the world, but asserts our very existence as a relational one. To say that any of us are vulnerable is thus to establish our radical dependency not only on others, but on a sustaining and sustainable world” (184). However, the profit-driven machinery of unfettered capitalism an

  • Accueil Accueil
  • Univers Univers
  • Ebooks Ebooks
  • Livres audio Livres audio
  • Presse Presse
  • BD BD
  • Documents Documents