Sexism, Class and Violence


  • Nancy Lindisfarne
  • Jonathan Neale



sexism, class societies, sexual violence, gender, inequality, neoliberalism, ideology


Without a theory of gender – of what it is and what it does in the world -we cannot explain why sexual imagery, notions of masculinity and femininity, sexual experiences and gendered relations differ in different times and places, and how and why such differences come about. We know that in class societies, elites use racism and other ideologies to divide us and make inequality seem natural. Here we suggest that gendered inequality and sexism - that is, systematic patterns of inequality between women and men in any particular setting - is found everywhere in class societies because it does this job particularly well. Our argument is radical. We argue that systematic gendered inequality is so effective in naturalizing inequality because it is always doubled-sided: one side is love, the other is imbued with gendered violence. Love and kindness are aspects of all our closest human relationships – with our parents, our children, our friends and our lovers, straight or gay. But at the same time. Our close relationships are riven with gendered differences and inequality. So love locks us in, and sexism hurts and angers us. Our theoretical argument starts from the top, from class privilege and the systematic gendered inequality found in all class societies and the inevitable resistance these provoke. Our focus, however, is on neoliberalism as a laboratory for exploring how the rich and powerful combine the use of violence with reconfigurations of ideologies of gender to respond to changes in their material circumstances to protect their economic interests and class dominance.


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How to Cite

Lindisfarne, N., & Neale, J. (2019). Sexism, Class and Violence. Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women’s Studies, 17(1), 1–17.