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118 the minnesota review Finally, although it is beyond the scope of this work as currently conceived, the author ought to have considered the relation of the different conceptions of reason to the progressive or regressive features in the culture in which these works are situated. For example, can we speculate on the move from the Platonic exclusion of the feminine to the Thomist subordination of the feminine as a move from an intellectual environment of homosexual eroticism, where the female is shut up in a gynaceum and barred from both intellectual and erotic intercourse , to a heterosexual one, where the female is living among men and only excluded from intellectual intercourse? Does this material difference mean that her presence and influence must be differently neutralized in the ideal of Reason? Or can we see the move from Aquinas to Bacon and Descartes as one in which a new wave ofrepression occurs: one evidenced by the witch-hunting of the seventeenth century? Lloyd's carefully developed discussion of the different forms of the exclusion of women from what is rational (and the definition of women by virtue of that exclusion) prompts us to ask: what is significant in these differences? are they related to actual changes in the sex/gender system? One of the consequences Lloyd does point to is that definitions of difference and impulses toward universality all must be formulated with great care; that we must attend to the way in which the concepts emerge from a male norm and a male-dominated tradition. This is an important point too often overlooked in the zealous efforts to project a feminist vision. But if you tie putatively universal concepts—concepts which, by virtue of their universality, are supposed to transcend the particularity of gender—to the fact of their male origins, then you already introduce the view that concepts never fully shed their material origins. In that case, it becomes all the more pressing to situate these ideas within their historical and material context. To do so would also pave the way for the conceptions of reason and gender that might avoid the traps Lloyd points out. EVA FEDER KITTAY Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars, edited by Margaret Higonnet, Jane Jenson, Sonya Michel and Margaret Collins Weitz. New Haven, London: Yale Univ. Press, 1987. pp. 336. $22.50 (cloth). It is now almost a truism that the two world wars permanently changed Western civilization . What they did not change, however, was the relationship between the sexes. The wars did nothing to affect the gender balance of power, and despite their wartime challenges to assumptions about their social roles, women found themselves, after the wars, still subordinate to men—politically, economically and culturally. Behind the Lines, an important and welcome contribution to the debate on war and gender, takes up the task of examining the reasons for this lack of permanent change in gender relations. These essays reveal that, "behind the lines," wartime and post-war discourses redefined traditional gender roles and thereby limited any potential for permanent change. There are many wartime discourses. The most direct and explicit is, of course, propaganda, but others—popular media, industrial and state social policy—endorse, and at the same time, curtail the propaganda messages. Thus, wartime posters may exhort women to "Come into the Factories," but underlying this appeal are constant reminders that, in so doing, women are not being "themselves," that they are being asked to behave temporarily "like men," and that their new roles are valid onlyfor the duration. Only perhaps in poetry and fiction are the traditional and expected gender identities and roles sometimes questioned and subverted. One major theme to emerge from this collection of essays is the gender implication of state social policies, particularly those of family welfare and pro-natalism. Hidden behind the rhetoric promoting the continuation and/or the re-establishment of "natural" family relationships, particularly that of mother and child, lay political and social processes which, at one and the same time, protected and constrained women. Thus, as Sarah Fishman points Reviews 119 out, in France during World War II, the Vichy government, anxious to preserve the patriarchal family unit...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 118-120
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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