With the recent revival of interest in feminist ideas, theories about the relationship between the sexes which had prevailed in adacemic sociology for many years have been subjected to much-needed criticism. Laudable as such criticism has been, it has nevertheless failed to emancipate itself from the paradigms that provided the framework for the very theories it sought to refute. In Althusserian language, the Women’s Liberation Movement’s critique of sexism has, with few exceptions, continued to operate on the ideological ‘terrain’ of sexism. Since the Marxist analysis of the oppression of women (by far the most significant alternative critique) suffers from a similar deficiency, our present understanding of the relationship between the sexes remains inadequate in the most fundamental respects.