Introduction
in The futures of feminism
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This chapter opens with a discussion of the political importance of the vocabulary and concepts available to us, and the ways in which knowledge is bound up with power. It argues that man-made language and perspectives cannot adequately express women’s experiences and needs, and that when feminists ‘name’ men’s abuse of power, this is a first step towards ending it. The next section focuses on feminist analyses of the ‘sex/gender distinction’; it finds that, although this can be problematic and difficult to sustain, it remains politically useful. The final section discusses the importance of developing a woman-centred feminist vocabulary around ‘rape’ and ‘sexual harassment’ to enable us to see the extent of men’s sexual violence by men against women, to link this with male power and to act collectively to resist it (for example, through the #MeToo movement).

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