Mary Daly died on 3 January. I was deeply influenced by her thinking when I was a young Catholic woman, and I remain grateful for that. But there were aspects of her work as a feminist that were deeply disturbing, in particular her distrust, and dislike, to the point of hatred, of trans-women, and her inability to see how white women were privileged in feminism.
Sady has an excellent post about Daly at Tiger Beatdown: Acts of Contrition: Feminism, Privilege, and the Legacy of Mary Daly, cross-posted at Feministe.
The assumption that ‘most women are innately heterosexual’ stands as theoretical and political stumbling block for many women. It remains a tenable assumption, partly because lesbian existence has been written out of history or catalogued under disease; partly because to acknowledge that for women heterosexuality may not be a ‘preference’ at all but something that has had to be imposed, managed, organized, propagandized, and maintained by force, is an immense step to take if you consider yourself freely and ‘innately’ heterosexual. Yet the failure to examine heterosexuality as an institution is like failing to admit that the economic system called capitalism or the caste system or racism is maintained by a variety of forces, including both physical violence and false consciousness.
Adrienne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” Signs 5/4, 1980