vol 20 - 1994

As Cora Kaplan notes in her review essay in this issue of Feminist Studies, there has been a shift in feminist thinking in the direction of more serious and thorough "explorations of the social and psychic scenarios of mothers and children." A maternal narrative of some kind has informed second-wave US. feminism from the beginning, of course, in the form of the search for "foremothers" and for early matriarchies. But, as Kaplan suggests, the writings of Nancy Chodorow and Carol Gilligan (in the late 1970s and early 1980s), together with the reproductive experiences of a generation of young women who were feminist activists in the 1970s, generated a new cycle of thought about the meaning of the maternal. Kaplan, however, in reviewing two recent studies of authors often viewed as feminist "foremothers" (Woolf, Rhys, Stead, and Lessing), ends her review with the warning that metaphors of maternity and/or sisterhood "offer no simple or benign solutions to the inequalities and oppressions that women (and men) face today at every turn." Yet this recent intellectual and creative strand-skeptical, sophisticated, deconstructing, often playful and impious about maternal "verities"-is visible in a variety of forms in articles included in this issue.

Stacy Alaimo's "Ecofeminist and Cyborg Interventions: Challenges for an Environmental Feminism" outlines an approach to environmentalism which, while skeptical about Donna Haraway's welcoming of technology, also questions the ecofeminist reliance on maternal metaphors (Mother Earth, Mother Nature, the rape of the planet). These admittedly appealing figures of speech are too compatible with traditional patriarchal images of women, Alaimo argues, to fuel a powerful international movement; instead, they lead politically to efforts to get mother in the kitchen recycling and using biodegradable cleaners rather than to attacks on the world's colossal industrial polluters. Philosopher Iris Marion Young, in her "Punishment, Treatment, Empowerment: Three Approaches to Policy for Pregnant Addicts," takes on a subject rarely explored in her discipline, the debates now raging over the best approach to a group of undeniably "bad mothers," pregnant women who use illegal drugs. A growing number of states and cities have been punishing such women with loss of child custody, mandatory treatment, and even prosecution for child neglect or abuse. "There is a particular rage often being directed at mothers," in particular, she argues because most of this legislation and regulation does not offer parallel punishment to men or to nonpregnant women. Young looks at more reasonable and effective alternative programs to get addicted women safely through pregnancy.


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Amy Kaminsky
Gender, Race, Raza

Iris Marion Young
Punishment, Treatment, Empowerment:
Three Approaches to Policy for Pregnant Addicts

Molly Hite
Mother Underground (Fiction)

Susan Fraiman
Geometries of Race and Gender:
Eve Sedgwick, Spike Lee, Charlayne Hunter-Gauh

Joan Cusack Handler
Before the Bath; Between Parents (Poetry)
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Judith Kegan Gardiner
Empathic Ways of Reading:
Narcissism, Cultural Politics, and Russ's
Female Man

Patricia Duncker
The Stations of the Cross (Fiction)

Betty LaDuke
Yolanda Lopez: Breaking Chicana Stereotypes
(Art Essay)

Susan Tichy
In a Charity Clinic (Poetry)

Stacy Alaimo
Cyborg and Ecofeminist Interventions:
Challenges for an Environmental Feminism

Cora Kaplan
Fictions of Feminism: Figuring the Maternal (Review Essay)

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