White Feminist Gaslighting

Hypatia 35 (4):733-758 (2020)
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Abstract

Structural gaslighting arises when conceptual work functions to obscure the non-accidental connections between structures of oppression and the patterns of harm they produce and license. This paper examines the role that structural gaslighting plays in white feminist methodology and epistemology using Fricker’s (2007) discussion of hermeneutical injustice as an illustration. Fricker’s work produces structural gaslighting through several methods: i) the outright denial of the role that structural oppression plays in producing interpretive harm, ii) the use of single-axis conceptual resources to understand intersectional oppression, and iii) the failure to recognize the legacy of women of color’s epistemic resistance work surrounding the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. I argue that Fricker’s whitewashed discussion of epistemic resistance to sexual harassment in the United States is a form of structural gaslighting that fails to treat women of color as knowers and exemplifies the strategic forgetting that is a central methodological tactic of white feminism.

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Author's Profile

Nora Berenstain
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Citations of this work

The Predicament of Patients.Havi Carel & Ian James Kidd - 2021 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 89:65-74.
Towards a Critical Social Epistemology of Social Media.Joshua Habgood-Coote - forthcoming - In Jennifer Lackey & Aidan McGlynn (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Epistemology.
The Metaphysics of Intersectionality Revisited.Holly Lawford-Smith & Kate Phelan - 2022 - Journal of Political Philosophy 30 (2):166-187.

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