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Abstract

Interweaving personal anecdotes, feminist theory, and literary and popular culture references, this article attempts to provide answers to the question of how we build a social movement and establish solidarity among women while still recognizing and respecting difference. The article traces historical accounts of feminists contending with the “difference impasse” and argues that we should return to and revise the feminist thought that preceded us, weaving together theories from our feminist past with contemporary models, including those of feminist psychoanalyst Jessica Benjamin and her ideas of “mutual recognition” and intersubjectivity. Drawing on fictional accounts from literature by women writers, the middle section of the article illustrates what intersubjective relating can mean for the feminist movement and provides a discussion of how differences and interdependencies can be sources of connection rather than division. The article ends with examples of divisions among women drawn from popular culture, wherein the author recognizes the difficulty of establishing solidarity in the face of the neoliberal cooptation of the feminist movement, the intensely materialist and individualistic images and ideas bombarding us daily, and the polarizing economic conditions faced by women today. Ultimately, the article acknowledges that finding solidarity is just a starting point, as we really need a pervasive change in consciousness.

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