The daodejing: Resources for contemporary feminist thinking

Journal of Chinese Philosophy 27 (2):131–153 (2000)
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This paper explores the contribution of early Daoist thought to contemporary feminist philosophy. It has often been noted that the Daodejing stands in contrast to other texts of the same period in its positive evaluation of femininity and of values associated with the feminine. This paper takes a cautious approach to the Daoist concept of the feminine, noting in particular its emphasis on the characteristic of feminine submissiveness. On the other hand, the paper seeks to demonstrate that the Daoist treatment of contrastive pairs--in particular, the Daoist notion of complementarity--provides a powerful conceptual scheme within which the notions of both femininity and masculinity may be articulated.
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