Rethinking Hegemonic Masculinity with Mary Wollstonecraft

Duva Kaya Ö.

The Contrubution of Mary Wollstonecraft to Contemporary Issues in Philosophy, İstanbul, Turkey, 1 - 02 June 2017

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: İstanbul
  • Country: Turkey
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


From past to present we have often witnessed some dichotomies in mainstream philosophy. Since the Pythagorean table of opposites  they have established ontological statutes of existence and the nature of the  “woman” and “man”. Aforementioned disjunctive dichotomies like limit/unlimited, one/many, rest/motion, good/bad, man/woman, should be considered moral as much as epistemological. As Irigaray points out, all these opposites from the Pythagorean to Plato's cave ideal imply the difference of nature between man and woman. Embedded moral codes in epistemological assumptions created the main problems of social constructions and reinforced the hegemony or power created by the ideal of masculinity.  The emergence of feminism haven’t been sufficient to abandone the hegemonic masculinity yet. Although feminist movements objected to masculine ideals and its hegemonic character in general,  some radical feminists stayed connected to Pythagorean/Platonic ideals in reverse order.  Especially second wave feminism changed the course of the critics on sexism-hegemony relationship to expression of nature and problem of difference.  Marry Wolstonecraft’s political approachment has a strong emphasis on critizing social inequality and unfairness. I assert that her feminism should rereading for analyzing hegemonic masculinity and to offer an alternative.  Her legal struggle is a rebellion to hegemonic masculinity in her way. She also reminds us the masculine character of reason should be come up with  political grounds and . I would like to open a discussion about Wolsstonecraft’s political struggle against especially “hegemonic masculinity” and useful aspects of her theory surpassing the dichotomies of second wave feminism which inherited from the Platonic ideals.