Anchorage paper hosts legacy book for Mary Daly, Boston lesbian author
Mary Daly, radical lesbian feminist author of Gyn/Ecology and Beyond God the Father, passed away on Jan. 3, and the Anchorage Daily News opened a legacy book for the Boston professor who didn’t live in Alaska and probably never visited.
The ADN reprinted her obituary from the Associated Press, and the guest book currently has 105 entries, mostly from New England. Only 2 entries are from Alaska, although a few entries do not give locations.
Daly was a major voice in the women’s movement and a central figure in eco-feminism. Several of her books are among the classics of women’s studies courses. Her first book, The Church and the Second Sex published in 1968, argued that the Church systematically oppressed women for centuries. In later years, she considered herself “post-Christian.”
“Ever since childhood, I have been honing my skills for living the life of a Radical Feminist Pirate and cultivating the Courage to Sin,” she wrote in the opening of “Sin Big,” a 1996 autobiographical article for the New Yorker magazine. “The word ‘sin’ is derived from the Indo-European root ‘es-,’ meaning ‘to be.’ When I discovered this etymology, I intuitively understood that for a woman trapped in patriarchy, which is the religion of the entire planet, ‘to be’ in the fullest sense is ‘to sin.’ ”
Daly made headlines when she retired from Boston College (a Jesuit university where she taught for 30 years) rather than admit men to some of her advanced women’s studies classes, saying that the presence of men made the women less likely to speak. She did let men enroll in her introductory feminism courses and tutored them in the advanced subjects. Her anti-trans opinions were as controversial in the LGBT community as her anti-patriarchy stance was at Boston College.Tags: Christianity, Mary Daly