END NOTES FOR CHAPTER SIX
1. The term gynocentricity as it was coined by Mary Daly forms the pivot for her project for a feminism of autonomy. When writing about the intention behind her work Gyn/Ecology she writes :
The primary intent of women who choose to be present to each other, however, is not a invitation to men. It is an invitation to our Selves... The journey of this book therefore is for the ‘Lesbian Imagination in All Women’... She, and she alone, can dis-cover the mystery of her own history, and find how it is interwoven with the lives of other women (1979, p, xiii).
She does this through Spinning, through Weaving her way through the maze of gynocentric truths, yielded by a journey of dis-covery of her own nature, by becoming-woman in an autonomous feminist sense.
2. In her essay ‘Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence’ (1980) Rich distinguishes between the lesbian continuum, which connects all women to other women in any sort of relationship, and lesbian existence which bares witness to the erotic consummation of those woman to woman relationships. She writes about these categories as follows:
Lesbian existence suggests both the fact of the historical presence of lesbians and our continuing creation of the meaning of that existence. I mean the term lesbian continuum to include a range through each woman’s life and throughout history of woman-identified experience, not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman. If we expand it to embrace many more forms of primary
intensity between ad among women, including the sharing of a rich inner life, the bonding against male tyranny, the giving and receiving of practical and political support, if we can hear in it such associations as marriage resistance and the "haggard" behaviour identified by Mary Daly, we begin to grasp breadths of female history and psychology which have lain out of reach as a consequence of limited, mostly clinical, definitions of lesbianism (pp. 5l-52 her emphasis) .
I find this distinction helpful when considering the embodied affective sustenance women offer each other when working toward a common goal. 1 suggest that Rich's lesbian continuum underpins any feminist community, but especially one that is aiming to enabling each woman to define her self autonomously.
3. When I use the term ‘gynocentric being-in-the-world’ I am talking about the necessarily sexuate existential condition of autonomous female being-in-the-world, as opposed to the phallocentric being-in-the-world that currently defines both the necessarily sexuate existential condition of male and female being-in-the-world.