“Abolishing the rights and privileges of one genderover another means working for the possibility of a world democratic culture. But this can only happen in the respect of differences, in order to avoid this culture being abstract and not real.” For Luce Irigaray, one of the most original French feminist theorists, deconstructing the patriarchal tradition is not enough. She admits that it is not an easy task, but she believes that it is necessary to also define new values directly or indirectly suitable to feminine subjectivity and to feminine identity. She begins this project by analyzing and interpreting the absence of the feminine subject in the definition of dominant cultural values. She then wonders how these new values can be constructed without simply reversing the roles. Far from implying a hierarchy, difference affirms the coexistence and fruitful encounter of two different identities. These two heterogeneous identities, masculine and feminine, are not socially but ontologically constructed and describing the feminine requires establishing methods other than those already used by the masculine subject.
Why Different? is a collection of interviews, conducted in both France and Italy, that deal explicitly with the relationship between daughter and mother, the sexuation of language, the symbolic order, and the importance of both history and philosophy for the liberation of the feminine subject. In Why Different? Irigaray elaborates on issues brought up in her other books, Speaking is Never Neutral, I Love to You, Thinking the Difference, and To Be Two and brings them to fruition.