Extreme Depictions of Feminism Essay

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Extreme Depictions of Feminism in John Irving's The World According to Garp and Catherine MacKinnon's Sexuality

In the classroom, in popular culture and in suburbia, to call someone or something 'extreme' is enough to completely eliminate his, her or its credibility. 'Extreme' has become a derogatory comment. In this paper, I will be dealing with two extreme depictions of feminism; one from John Irving's novel The World According to Garp and the other Catherine MacKinnon's essay "Sexuality." It is important to keep in mind that some have argued that the extreme views of any movement for social change are important because they push boundaries and make other voices of the movement sound more reasonable (thus gaining more support).
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Similarly, Irving is successful in presenting a feminist movement that I would hesitate to involve myself in.

My aim is to examine the ways in which apocalyptic discourse is generated around issues of reproductive freedom in both The World According to Garp and Catherine MacKinnon's essay "Sexuality." Specifically, I will be examining MacKinnon's characterization of men and Irving's characterization of feminism to examine what apocalypticism promotes within these representations when gender is at issue. This becomes especially useful today as women's reproductive rights are so fraught with debate and inflamed rhetoric over issues like abortion and genetic engineering. My goal is to examine how apocalypticism in both these representations of feminism can be potentially dangerous.

It is also important to stress that both MacKinnon and Irving=s versions of feminism are depictions. Much of feminist thought today does not encourage self-mutilation or anti-male sentiments. Feminism today is a very diverse discipline with a plentitude of different, sometimes cacophonous, voices.

First, to briefly summarize The World According to Garp (some of you may remember the film starring Robin Williams and Glenn Close): The novel begins with Garp's mother, Jenny, a progressive-minded nurse in a Boston hospital during World War II. Jenny decides that she wants a child without the constraints that accompany the traditional method

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