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Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism

39 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807014134
ISBN-10: 0807014133
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Editorial Reviews


"In this deeply original, provocative book, outrage, hilarity, grief, profanity, lyricism and moral daring join in bursting the accustomed bounds even of feminist discourse." —The New York Times Book Review

"Daly's insights into the background of radical feminism…are brilliant, and her synthesis of theology, mythology, philosophy, history, and medicine is absolutely overwhelming." —Library Journal

"Gyn/Ecology is a great leap forward in feminist theory…It defies simplistic categorizations of political theory, philosophy of religion, or even poetry. The book is all of these yet none, because it goes beyond them." —Janice Raymond, New Women's Times Feminist Review

"A vivid and exciting work, destined to become of landmark in the radical feminist process." —Chrysalis

"Brilliant and soaring, Mary Daly's Gyn/Ecology is the most amazing book I've ever read. It set me spinning. A wonderfully dangerous book." —Gena Corea

"Daly writes with deep healing anger and uncompromising vision. Her book gives a shock of awakening such as is found in the works of Simone de Beauvoir." —Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Mary Daly (1928–2010) was a world-renowned radical feminist philosopher who held doctorates in theology and philosophy from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. Her groundbreaking books include Church and Second Sex, Beyond God the Father, Gyn/Ecology, Pure Lust, Websters' First New Intergalatic Wickedary of the English Languague (Conjured in Cahoots with Jane Caputi), and Outercourse.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (November 12, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807014133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807014134
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

112 of 118 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
I'm a man, which I think matters on this topic. I read this book when it was originally published back in the 80's, and it blew me away. I do not believe that Mary hates men. She certainly hates the world that men have built. Her analysis of the language men have constructed to understand that world is absolutely brilliant---you have to consider that she has, other than that tendentious language itself, no other tool with which to describe the language's inherent violence. We live entirely within a media-constructed world that is loaded with value, very much angled to exclude and diminish (to put it mildly) women, people of color, non-heteros, non-academic thinkers, etc. The shock some people experience on reading this work is basically caused by Mary's unwavering determination to hold even the most mundane and seemingly value-free details of this constructed world up to her merciless view.
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100 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Cathleen M. Walker VINE VOICE on July 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
Goddess, I love this book! Hateful? Racist? I think not. Angry? Unladylike? Absolutely! Mary Daly begins by challenging language which keeps us oppressed as women. It was the work of women that gave a name to the experiences so many of us share, but could not speak at one time: rape, battering, incest. There were no words, once, for what was considered, "a woman's lot in life." These things still happen, but at least now they can be spoken, at least now they can be challenged, at least now there may be hope. The title 'Gyn/Ecology,' according to the Introduction, is a way of wrenching back some wordpower. It is men, after all, who up until now have always had the power of naming, often naming something the opposite of what it really is (i.e. Military Intelligence, Peacekeeper, sanitary napkin). This book is primarily concerned with the mind/spirit/body pollution inflicted through patriarchal myth and language on all levels.
The fact that most gynecologists are males, says Daly, is in itself a collosal comment on our society. It is a symptom and example of male control over women and over language, and a clue to the extent of this control. Add to this the fact that self-appointed soul doctors, mind doctors, and body doctors who "specialize" in women are perpetrators of iatrogenic disease (the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, and have since come to specialize in its research).
"The courage to be logical -- the courage to name -- would require that we admit to ourselves that males and males only are the originators, planners, controllers, and legitimators of patriarchy. Patriarchy is the homeland of males; it is Father Land; and men are its agents.
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79 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Gibbs on February 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a man who has met and spoken at length to Mary Daly, I can definitively say that she does not hate men (as this seems to be the topic of discussion in these reviews). Her anger in this book is valid and purposeful. The anger is present to energize people for change. The statement that this book is racist seems incredible to me. The cultural realativist "trump card" of tradition cannot be extended to practices that directly harm people. Condemming genital mutilation and footbinding on the same grounds as the American medical establisment (the grounds that they cripple, kill and disable women) seems less racist than assuming these practices are "primitive" and thereby sacred. Daly is not an imperialist, she speaks for the unification of women (and those men willing) across all superficial borders to break the bonds of patriarchy. This is an angry book, but is enjoyable and, at times astounding, nonetheless. Daly is disgusted by the patriarchal world that has been created by men and with the complicity of women, but you should be too. Things don't seem so bad here in the US (if you are happy with $.75 to the dollar), but the picture overseas is entirely different. Across all cultures (yes even our own) rape and spousal abuse are incredibly prevelant, affecting up to 85% of women in some countries. Feminism is as needed now as it ever was, and the assumption that it only applies to "developed" cultures allows governments to block and qualify international legislation such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This book is a direct challenge to this cultural realativism.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Fiore on September 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Anyone who gave this book a low rating either didn't understand it or was threatened by it. Mary Daly was one of the most brilliant philosophers to live, and certainly the most brilliant feminist philosopher. Her analysis is so clear, so deep, that once you start unraveling the delusion that is contemporary patriarchal capitalist experience, there's no coming back. This book, more than any other, changed my life and set me on a new course. It's certainly not an easier path but it's far more authentic. Seeing the delusion of the modern world for what it is enables one--man or woman--to resist and live according to more life-affirming values. If you want to wake up and unplug from the nightmare, read this book. I thank Mary Daly every day of my life for it.
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