I Still Live in the Hope that God Will Find a Way to Give Me My Liberty: The Limitations of Firestone's Notion of Love as Demonstrated by The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself
Perhaps dated, and maybe even slightly offensive, Chapter 6 of Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex exhaustively considers the role of love (of a heterosexual nature) in the oppression of women. Here, she asserts that a rigorous analysis of love is not only an illuminating enterprise but absolutely imperative to the radical feminist cause (126). In drawing upon an array of clichés, anecdotes, and scholarly material, Firestone ventures to illustrate the manner in which politics have usurped the significance of sexual attraction and affection in the realm of heterosexual relations. But, as I’ve already mentioned, this analysis is plagued with shortcomings, for it is held against a largely white and heterosexual backdrop. Thus, in an attempt to expand the horizons of Firestone’s discussion so as to encompass a broader stock of demographics, I read her argument against The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself. Although Prince does not discuss the dynamics of her marriage extensively, there is sufficient detail to support a substantial analysis of the emotional and political role of love in her narrative. In positioning my argument between the two texts, I demonstrate the manner in which they both converse and conflict with each other before finally introducing a novel path forward.
Lisa Anna Robertson
Fucs, Ryan, "I Still Live in the Hope that God Will Find a Way to Give Me My Liberty: The Limitations of Firestone's Notion of Love as Demonstrated by The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave, Related by Herself" (2021). IdeaFest. 383.