1st Edition

Same Difference Feminism and Sexual Difference

By Carol Lee Bacchi Copyright 1990
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    Are women the same as or different from men? Should women seek ‘equality’ with men or admit their ‘difference’? First published in 1990, Same Difference explores these highly-charged political questions by examining how the women’s movement has engaged with them over time and in three countries—Australia, Britain, and America. Case studies include disputes about maternity leave, protective legislation, affirmative action, custody, pornography, rape, and women’s supposed metaphysical differences from men—their greater nurturing and caring capacity.

    Challenging a common view of the women’s movement as perpetually riven into ‘sameness’ and ‘difference’ camps, Same Difference highlights the political conditions which impel some feminists to argue in these terms. The implication of the analysis is that debates about sexual difference divert attention from important social issues such as how society is to reproduce itself and what kind of society we wish to create.

    This book will be a beneficial read for students and researchers of feminist theory, women’s studies, and sociology.

    Introduction Part I: The historical dilemma 1. The nineteenth century: equal but different 2. The split (part I): ‘equalitarian’ versus ‘reform’ feminism 3. The split (part II): ‘ultra’ versus ‘new’ feminism 4. The 1960s resurgence: from equal rights to post-feminism Denouement Part II: Current controversies Prologue 5. ‘Equal’ versus ‘special’ treatment 6. Protective legislation and industrial health hazards 7. Sex discrimination and affirmative action 8. Divorce, custody and Baby ‘M’ 9. The sexuality debates 10. The construction of ‘Women’ Conclusion



    Carol Lee Bacchi is Professor Emerita of Politics in the Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide, Australia. She researches and writes primarily in feminist political theory and policy theory. Bacchi is best known for her approach to policy analysis called “What’s the Problem Represented to be?” or the WPR approach.