Written over a span of more than two decades, the essays by Iris Marion Young collected in this volume describe diverse aspects of women's lived body experience in modern Western societies. Drawing on the ideas of several twentieth century continental philosophers-including Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Heidegger, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty-Young constructs rigorous analytic categories for interpreting embodied subjectivity. The essays combine theoretical description of experience with normative evaluation of the unjust constraints on their freedom and opportunity that continue to burden many women. The lead essay rethinks the purpose of the category of "gender" for feminist theory, after important debates have questioned its usefulness. Young's classic essay, "Throwing Like a Girl," is reprinted here, along with a comment of the impact of that essay twenty years later. Newer essays include reflection on the meaning of being at home, and the need for privacy in old age residences.
Other essays analyze aspects of the experience of women and girls that have received little attention even in feminist theory-such as the sexuality of breasts, or menstruation as punctuation in a woman's life story. Young describes the phenomenology of moving in a pregnant body and the tactile pleasures of clothing. While academically rigorous, the essays are also written with engaging style, incorporating vivid imagery and autobiographical narrative. On Female Body Experience raises issues and takes positions that speak to scholars and students in philosophy, sociology, geography, medicine, nursing, and education.
Iris Marion Young is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where she is affiliated with the Center for Graduate Studies. Her works in feminist theory, theory of justice, and democratic theory have been published in major journals in the U.S. and translated into seven languages. Her previous books include Justice and the Politics of Difference (Princeton 1990), Intersecting Voices: Dilemmas of Gender, Political Philosophy and Policy (Princeton, 1997), and Inclusion and Democracy (Oxford, 2000).