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 A dense examination of the complexity of lesbian identity. Card (Philosophy/Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; Feminist Ethics, not reviewed) introduces Lesbian Choices as the result of learning ``to speak with [her] own voice as a lesbian feminist philosopher with a certain set of histories.'' While the subject of this volume is highly personal to Card and is born from her identity as ``a semi-rural white-anglo woman, a woman-lover, and a survivor of domestic abuse,'' her book is by no means a memoir. It is in fact ruthlessly academic and may prove difficult for the general reader. Card explores lesbian culture, ethics, and friendship and expands this more personal construction of identity onto a broader societal panorama through her discussion of lesbians in the military, closeting, and homophobia. Card is at her most insightful in a chapter that explores sexual agency; she observes there that in patriarchal society lesbians are more likely to actively choose their sexuality while heterosexual women are less conscious of the decision they make vis-Ö-vis their sexual preference. She offers a lesbian ``genealogy'' from ancient Greek and Roman Amazons to 19th- century ``passionate friends'' as a means of grounding this choice historically; she also references the lives and work of writers Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf, among others, as examples of an early awareness, though not explicit, of lesbian possibility. Card is delicate and brave when speaking out about lesbian battering and stalking and female incest, giving voice to what some feminists want left unspoken. Her breaking the silence around mother-daughter incest is especially important in that much of the writing on this is found in personal narratives and is left out of academic and clinical literature. A learned inquiry into lesbianism, more useful to Card's colleagues in academia than to popular readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-231-08008-5
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Columbia Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994


NonfictionA YEAR STRAIGHT by Elena Azzoni
by Elena Azzoni