Her father, Alexis Grugnardi, is a Corsican syndicalist, communist and libertarian. Her mother, of Italian origin, emigrated from Calabria to France for economic reasons and settled in a popular district of Marseille.
After studying literature in Aix-en-Provence, Antoinette Fouque married René Fouque. She moves to Paris to study literature at the Sorbonne. In the 1960s, she enrolled at the EPHE for a thesis on literary avant-gardes, which she abandoned preferring her activism alongside women, but passed a "DEA with Roland Barthes”. It was during a seminar of Barthes, in January 1968, that she met Monique Wittig.
She gave birth to a daughter, Vincente, in 1964. This event contributed to make her realise the difficulties that women face when they are mothers and married, especially in the intellectual environment. Above all, her pregnancy made her aware of the irreducibility of gender differences and of women's specific competence of gestation.
Antoinette Fouque is appalled by the sexism surrounding the intellectual and activist environments at the time of May 1968, which motivates her to create a Movement for the Liberation of Women (MLF). In 1968, she initiated with the writer Monique Wittig and Josiane Chanel, the first independent and non-mixed meeting of women, whose first public demonstration took place in 1970.
The MLF is neither an organization nor an association (no membership card, no elected office, no representatives), but a place for discussions and speeches by women, the collective being non-mixed.
Within the MLF, from 1968, she drives the "Psychoanalysis and Politics" trend, a place of meeting and of discussions fighting for the liberation of women from a perspective both psychoanalytic and revolutionary. This articulation of the unconscious and of history - psychoanalysis and politics - has made the specificity of a part of the French movement.
In April 1971, she signed the Manifesto of the 343 for the right of abortion.
Antoinette Fouque asserts that "there are two sexes", the title of her first book, and affirms that "the women's liberation movement is a movement that attacks the omnipotence of a phallocentric culture, that is to say that it was necessary to deconstruct”.
Antoinette Fouque proposes the existence of a specifically feminine libido "located at a post-phallic genital stage", of oral-genital type: a "uterine libido" or "female libido" that she names "libido 2" and, in the years 2000, "libido creandi". She thus wishes to lay the foundations of a theory of genitality on the threshold of which Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan would have stopped. Articulating psychoanalysis and politics, she believes that, at the root of misogyny, there is the primordial envy of the procreative capacity of women, which she calls "the envy of the uterus", more powerful than the "penis envy" conceptualized by Freud about girls.
According to the psychoanalyst Martine Ménès, Lacan was interested in the debates of the MLF but rejected Fouque’s notion of libido, without denying the specificity of a feminine sexuality.
Antoinette Fouque opposes the idea that women are unfinished men and sees it as the source of misogyny, inducing "in all fields, the real and symbolic violence inflicted to women". This dimension of political analysis integrated within the clinical approach of psychoanalysis characterizes this new "epistemological field in women's sciences" baptized by Antoinette Fouque "feminology".
As Elisabeth Roudinesco says in The Battle of One Hundred Years: "The current [of the MLF] which she represents is, moreover, the only one who truly interrogates the Freudian discourse without rejecting it straightway under the label of a pure and simple phallocratism, as many beauvoirian women do. She adds: "For her, one does not become a woman, one is a woman. But as well we find ourselves as woman going beyond the phallic or feminist stage, of a sexuality made in the image of the paternal phallus".
In addition, Antoinette Fouque "insists on the" production of living things "as a fundamental contribution of women to humanity", as the French psychoanalyst Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel writes.
According to Élisabeth Roudinesco, she met Jacques Lacan, followed some of his seminars since 1969 and began an analysis with him. She practiced as a psychoanalyst, from the year 1971, while refusing to belong to the Freudian School of Paris.
In 1972, she takes part with some women of the MLF in a "wild UV" on female sexuality in the Department of Psychoanalysis of the University of Vincennes, at the invitation of Luce Irigaray.
In 1977, Serge Leclaire, who considers that the MLF movement led by Antoinette Fouque, Psychoanalysis and Politics, revives the psychoanalytic movement by introducing "the body and otherness", proposes to Jacques Lacan to hold a seminar within the framework of the Freudian School of Paris with Antoinette Fouque, which Lacan refuses. In 1983, she leaves France and goes into exile in the United States.
Reader of the Seuil publishing house, she became herself a publisher by creating Editions des femmes, the first women's publishing house in Europe, in 1972. Her commitments for the liberation of women led her to carry out numerous activities in the field of publishing. Considering that the French intellectual environment is very macho and that women are underrepresented, especially among writers, and considering women as a "people without writing", she works to open the world of books and writing to women.
From the start, this publishing house has a twofold perspective: political commitment and literary commitment. Its aim is to promote literature but also more generally the struggles of women.
Bookstores of the same name open in Paris (1974), Marseille (1976) and Lyon (1977). She creates the first collection of audio books in France "La Bibliothèque des voix" (1980). She is also involved in newspapers, Le Quotidien des femmes (from 1974 to June 1976) and Des femmes en mouvement, a monthly magazine (13 issues from December 1977 to January 1979) and then weekly (from 1979 to 1982).
She created various organizations such as the Women's Science Research Institute in 1980, the College of Women's Studies in 1978, the Women's Alliance for Democracy (AFD) and the Misogyny Observatory in 1989, as well as the Parity Club 2000 in 1990. The bookshop activities were reborn with a "Espace des femmes" center dedicated to the creations of women, with a gallery and the organization of meetings and debates in Paris.
Doctor of political science, Antoinette Fouque is director of research at Paris 8 University since 1994, and member of the Observatory of Gender Equality since 2002.
Antoinette Fouque runs for the European elections of 1994 on the list Énergie radicale (Radical Energy) led by Bernard Tapie.
A radical left-wing member of the European Parliament from 1994 to 1999, she joins the PES Group and sits on the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Civil Liberties and Women's Rights (Vice-President)
In 2007, she calls to vote for Ségolène Royal, in a text published in Le Nouvel Observateur, "against a right wing of arrogance", for "a left of hope".
Antoinette Fouque died on the 20th of February 2014 in Paris, and right-wing and left-wing politicians paid her homage. On February 26, she was buried in the cemetery of Montparnasse, in the presence of many people including politicians and performers.