David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (2):135-153 (2004)
This article revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism, the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists widespread rejection of essentialism has threatened to undermine feminist politics. Re-evaluating two responses to this problemstrategic essentialism and Iris Marion Youngs idea that women are an internally diverse seriesI argue that both unsatisfactorily retain essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of womens lives. I argue instead that women have a genealogy: women always acquire femininity by appropriating and reworking existing cultural interpretations of femininity, so that all women become situated within a history of overlapping chains of interpretation. Because all women are located within this complex history, they are identifiable as belonging to a determinate social group, despite sharing no common understanding or experience of femininity. The idea that women have a genealogy thus reconciles anti-essentialism with feminist politics.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Mikael Stenmark (2012). Is There a Human Nature? Zygon 47 (4):890-902.
Cathryn Bailey (2009). Embracing the Icon: The Feminist Potential of the Trans Bodhisattva, Kuan Yin. Hypatia 24 (3):178 - 196.
Similar books and articles
Brooke A. Ackerly (2000). Political Theory and Feminist Social Criticism. Cambridge University Press.
Patrice Diquinzio (1993). Exclusion and Essentialism in Feminist Theory: The Problem of Mothering. Hypatia 8 (3):1 - 20.
Lena Gunnarsson (2011). A Defence of the Category ‘Women’. Feminist Theory 12 (1):23-37.
Cressida J. Heyes (1997). Anti‐Essentialism in Practice: Carol Gilligan and Feminist Philosophy. Hypatia 12 (3):142-163.
Alison Bailey (2008). On Intersectionality, Empathy, and Feminist Solidarity. Peace and Justice Studies 18 (2):14-36.
Uma Narayan (1998). Essence of Culture and a Sense of History: A Feminist Critique of Cultural Essentialism. Hypatia 13 (2):86 - 106.
Charlotte Witt (2011). What Is Gender Essentialism? In , Feminist Metaphysics. Springer Verlag. 11--25.
Cressida Jane Heyes (1997). 'Back to the Rough Ground!': Wittgenstein, Essentialism, and Feminist Methods. Dissertation, Mcgill University (Canada)
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads79 ( #20,267 of 1,413,361 )
Recent downloads (6 months)14 ( #15,266 of 1,413,361 )
How can I increase my downloads?