Featured Article: From the Signs Archive


Young modifies political theorist Catharine MacKinnon’s characterization of men as ontologically selfish and aggressive by identifying the element of chivalry as inherent to the logic of masculinist protection, making its ingenuous ability to mobilize and then assuage fear among Americans unsurpassed. Hence, the logic of masculinist protection is not domineering; its impulse is protective and seemingly benign. Young extends the application of the analogy male/female :: public/private to critically assess the imperialist tendencies of the United States as protector of all nations, and specifically, in 2001, as protector of the women of Afghanistan.

The profundity of Young’s capacity to thicken this early feminist analogy is that such descriptive thickening results in an ability to theorize the effects of the analogy as multiscalar, as existing within the United States and also well beyond its borders. In this article, Young accomplished what few feminists have: the augmentation of one of the most basic concepts of feminist scholarship beyond the conceptual confines of the United States so that its descriptive capacities can encompass the experiences of women and men not living in the United States. She manages to accomplish this augmentation by simultaneously addressing the concerns of many contemporary transnational feminist theorists.

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