Sally Haslanger (2006) is concerned with the debate between so-called social constructionists and error theorists about a given category, such as race or gender. For example, social constructionists about race claim that race is socially constructed, that is, the kind or property that unifies all instances of the category is a social feature (not a natural or physical feature, as naturalists about race would hold). On the other hand, error theorists about race claim that the term ‘race’ is an empty (...) term, that is, nothing belongs to this category, since the conditions that something should satisfy in order to fall under ‘race’ are not satisfied by anything. What kind of evidence could we use in order to support one or another of these theories? It seems that this debate is in part semantic: what makes the case that a category is an empty one (and therefore error theory about it holds), as opposed to it being socially constructed, has to do with the meaning of the corresponding expression. In particular, in the case of race, some people have argued that our concept RACE is such that something will fall under it only if it is a natural property that can explain certain features. Arguably, there are no natural properties of human beings that can do the explanatory work that races are supposed to do, and therefore, error theorists have concluded that ‘race’ is an empty term, that is, there are no races (Appiah (1996)). (Some theorists have introduced new terms for a new property that is very similar to that of race and can do part of the explanatory work that races were supposed to do, but it does not have to satisfy all the conditions that races are supposed to satisfy. For instance, Appiah (1996) has introduced the notion of ‘racial identity’ to that effect.) These considerations suggest that if we want to find out whether a certain category is socially constructed, or whether an error theory about it is correct, we have to engage in.... (shrink)
This paper responds to Kathleen Stock’s attempt to explain a puzzling fact, at least from her standpoint: widespread assertions that some people who are biologically male are women and some people who are biologically female are men. She regards these assertions as made while immersed in a fiction. Stock rejects an alternative explanation – that a lot of these people have read Judith Butler or 1970s feminism. Clarifying that explanation reveals it to be not so easy to dismiss.
Alex Byrne contends that women are (simply) adult human females, claiming that this thesis has considerably greater initial appeal than the justified true belief (JTB) theory of knowledge. This paper refutes Byrne’s thesis in the same way the JTB theory of knowledge is widely thought to have been refuted: through simple counterexamples. Lessons are drawn. One lesson is that women need not be human. A second lesson is that biology and physical phenotypes are both irrelevant to whether someone is a (...) woman, and indeed, female in a gendered sense. A third lesson is that trans women, cis women, alien women, and robot women are all women because to be a woman is to be an adult gendered female. This paper does not purport to settle complex normative questions of ethics or justice, including whether the ordinary meaning of “woman” ought to be retained or changed—though I do note plausible implications for these debates. This paper does purport to settle what the ordinary meaning of “woman” is, and in that regard contribute to important conceptual ground-clearing regarding what constitutes an ameliorative or revisionary definition of “woman.”. (shrink)
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) lists 1571 as the year of the first recorded use of the English word ‘masculinity’; the Ancient Greek ανδρεια (andreia), usually translated as ‘courage’, was also used to refer to manliness. The notion of manliness or masculinity is undoubtedly older still. Yet, despite this seeming familiarity, not only is the notion proving to be highly elusive, its understanding by the society being in a constant flux, but also one which is at the root of bitter (...) division and confrontation, and which has tangible and far-reaching real-world effects. At the same time, while masculinity has been attracting an increasing amount of attention in academia, the large body of published work seldom goes to the very foundations of the issue, failing to explicitly and with clarity reach a consensus as to how masculinity ought to be understood. Herein I critique the leading contemporary thought, showing it to be poorly conceived and confounded, and often lacking in substance which would raise it to the level of the actionable and constructive. Hence, I propose an alternative view which is void of the observed deficiencies, and discuss how its adoption would facilitate a conciliation between the currently warring factions, focusing everybody’s efforts on addressing the actual ethical, deconfounded of specious distractions. (shrink)
Charlotte Witt has argued that gender is essential to women and men, in a way that unifies them as social individuals but precludes each of them from being identified with the corresponding person or human organism. We respond to Witt’s modal and normative arguments for this view, and we argue that they fail to support anything stronger than a moderate version of kind essentialism, which generally allows women and men to be identified with people. We finish by pointing out that (...) several of Witt’s central claims about gender roles and gender norms could be endorsed while rejecting her ontology of coincident individuals. (shrink)
The recently published ‘Scientific Review’ by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport about transwomen’s participation in female sport doesn’t deserve its name; it is wholly unscientific. This publication follows a familiar pattern. The body is not important anymore when it comes to categorisation and eligibility in sport; instead, it’s all about a psychological phenomenon: gender identity. This side-lining of the body (which makes the side-lining of female athletes and the inclusion of male-born athletes possible) is now reinforced by an (...) attack on the bio-medical sciences. (shrink)
Human-sciences research often focuses on social problems to create tools for solving them. Yet, in using common prejudices in gathering and sorting data on their subjects, they risk propagating those same prejudices. This article proposes that a major subject matter of human sciences is human concepts themselves. Concepts about “what we are,” individually and as a species, are deeply embedded, if not essential. It concludes that for greater precision, practitioners in human sciences must take maximum advantage of this characteristic of (...) the subject, making individuals’ concepts about what they consider themselves to be integral criteria of data gathering and sorting. (shrink)
Upon Brexit & Trade War, the research took a supply-side analysis in macroeconomic paradigm for the purpose and cause of the actions. In the geopolitical competitions on crude oil resources between the allied powers & the Russian hegemony, the latter of which has effective control over P. R. China’s multilateral behaviors, the external research induced that trade war, either by complete information in intelligence or an unintended result, was a supply chain attack in prohibiting the antisatellite weapon supplies in the (...) Northern regions of mainland China in relation to Russia. Although no substantive change to international relations, the Trade War’s prohibitive effect on the high frequency trading in the monetary domain of CNY was observed, which had been the source of economic bubbles in the import-export control regime with centralized banking. The paper argues that by realism in economy & military strategy, trade war was ineffective in deterring the covert operations of the People’s Liberation Army by their territorial strategies and raises questions in humanitarianism in conflict situations. Moreover, with gross privacy breaches by mass surveillance in domain politics, totalitarianism with coercions, and counterfeit of drone strikes, traditional methods of threat elimination are rendered less pragmatic apart from the adversaries’ cyber security breaches. With the scientific approach, I offer an ecological paradigm with historic analysis of the Chinese military’s conducts in terms economics. The territorial methods of the PLA are contextualized into the ecological paradigm in regionalism & public administration. Electronic combats of the Chinese regime with the Great Firewall and Denial-of-Service attacks not only contribute to the diminishing natural freedoms of the population, but also transgress the fundamental right to health along with non-traditional nuclear threats to P.R.C. itself. (shrink)
Supporters of conceptual engineering often use Haslanger’s ameliorative project as a key example of their methodology. However, at face value, Haslanger’s project is no cause for optimism about conceptual engineering. If we interpret Haslanger as seeking to revise how people in general use and understand words such as ‘woman’, ‘man’, etc., then her project has been unsuccessful. And if we interpret her as seeking to reveal the meaning of those words, then her project does not involve conceptual engineering. I develop (...) and defend an alternative interpretation of Haslanger’s project and argue that, so interpreted, it is a successful conceptual engineering project after all. In so doing, I develop what I call a particularist account of the success conditions for conceptual engineering. (shrink)
We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize (...) a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members collectively destabilize one or more pieces of dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as a critical gender kind that destabilizes the ‘binary axis’, or the piece of dominant gender ideology that says that the only possible genders are the binary, discrete, exclusive, and exhaustive kinds men and women. (shrink)
Chinese translation courtesy of Zhuanxu Xu. We want to know what gender is. But metaphysical approaches to this question solely have focused on the binary gender kinds men and women. By overlooking those who identify outside of the binary–the group I call ‘genderqueer’–we are left without tools for understanding these new and quickly growing gender identifications. This metaphysical gap in turn creates a conceptual lacuna that contributes to systematic misunderstanding of genderqueer persons. In this paper, I argue that to better (...) understand genderqueer identities, we must recognize a new type of gender kind: critical gender kinds, or kinds whose members collectively resist dominant gender ideology. After developing a model of critical gender kinds, I suggest that genderqueer is best modeled as a critical gender kind that stands in opposition to `the binary assumption', or the prevalent assumption that the only possible genders are the binary, discrete, exclusive, and exhaustive kinds men and women. (shrink)
As sports have become more professional, winning has become more important. This emphasis on results, rather than sporting virtue and winning in style, probably explains the rising incidence of the Strategic Foul. Surprisingly, it has found some apologists among the philosophers of sport. The discussion of the Strategic Foul in the literature has produced subtle distinctions (e.g. Cesar Torres: constitutive skills versus restorative skills) as well as implausible distinctions (e.g. D’Agostino: ‘impermissible’ but ‘acceptable’ behaviour). In this paper I will review (...) Robert Simon’s defence of strategic fouling and conclude that his justification is not convincing. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...) I argue, are multiply realizable kinds. I depart from the Wilson by further arguing that an appeal to grounding is not otiose when it comes to social construction. Social construction, I claim, belongs to the “big-G” Grounding genus, but it is the specific “small-g” relation of realization at work in cases of human kind social construction. (shrink)
In a recent article in this journal, Mona Simion argues that Sally Haslanger’s “engineering” approach to gender concepts such as ‘woman’ faces an epistemic objection. The primary function of all concepts—gender concepts included—is to represent the world, but Haslanger’s engineering account of ‘woman’ fails to adequately represent the world because, by her own admission, it doesn’t include all women in the extension of the concept ‘woman.’ I argue that this objection fails because the primary function of gender concepts—and social kind (...) concepts in general—is not (merely) to represent the world, but rather to shape it. I finish by considering the consequences for “conceptual engineering” in philosophy more generally. While Haslanger’s account may escape Simion’s objection, other appeals to conceptual engineering might not fair so well. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to bring recent work on metaphysical grounding to bear on the phenomenon of social construction. It is argued that grounding can be used to analyze social construction and that the grounding framework is helpful for articulating various claims and commitments of social constructionists, especially about social identities, e.g., gender and race. The paper also responds to a number of objections that have been leveled against the application of grounding to social construction from Elizabeth Barnes, (...) Mari Mikkola, and Jessica Wilson. (shrink)
Social constructionist claims are surprising and interesting when they entail that presumably natural kinds are in fact socially constructed. The claims are interesting because of their theoretical and political importance. Authors like Díaz-León argue that constitutive social construction is more relevant for achieving social justice than causal social construction. This paper challenges this claim. Assuming there are socially salient groups that are discriminated against, the paper presents a dilemma: if there were no constitutively constructed social kinds, the causes of the (...) discrimination of existing social groups would have to be addressed, and understanding causal social construction would be relevant to achieve social justice. On the other hand, not all possible constitutively socially constructed kinds are actual social kinds. If an existing social group is constitutively constructed as a social kind K, the fact that it actually exists as a K has social causes. Again, causal social construction is relevant. The paper argues that (i) for any actual social kind X, if X is constitutively socially constructed as K, then it is also causally socially constructed; and (ii) causal social construction is at least as relevant as constitutive social construction for concerns of social justice. For illustration, I draw upon two phenomena that are presumed to contribute towards the discrimination of women: (i) the poor performance effects of stereotype threat, and (ii) the silencing effects of gendered language use. (shrink)
In this paper, I wish to reflect upon the insistence on the use of gender neutral language and its implications for freedom of speech in Canada. There has been much controversy in Canada over recent legislation that adds gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds under the Canada Human Rights Act- i.e. Bill C-16, Jordan B. Peterson, Professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, has expressed his dissatisfaction with Bill C-16 and its implications for free speech. Peterson argues (...) that free speech is the mechanism by which democracies have survived over the centuries! He has further argued that the imposition of language on people can have devastating effects. For example, there is a clear distinction between legislation concerning What one ought not to say, such as screaming "fire!" in a crowded cinema and mandating speech about what one must say, such as compelling the use of gender-neutral pronouns. In order to understand the background behind Bill C-16, and in order to gather insights as to what is motivating certain cultural trends and what is at stake, I will examine two distinct philosophical approaches. First, will examine the thought of Jordan Peterson, who I would dub the "defender of objectivity." Second, I will present some of the views of the postmodern epistemologist, Jacques Derrida, Derrida can be dubbed the "wishful mortician of the absolute" for his methodology of deconstructionism. Through examining these distinct approaches, I wish to put a clearer finger on the complex issues surrounding Bill C-16, political correctness, and free speech. (shrink)
The paper indicates how social kinds may be internally and objectively unified in a way continuous with physical kinds. It argues that the practice of theorizing is continuous with other practices to the extent that theorists, like anyone engaged in a practice, needs to make choices that are responsive to purposes (and corresponding values) guiding the practice. The paper discusses Epstein's theory of anchoring, and argues for a theory of scaffolding social kinds.
To determine whether or not Buffy Sommers represents a successful subversion of femininity, I draw extensively upon seminal works in feminist phenomenology, which describe feminine embodiment as a collection of disciplinary practices that produce a subordinate subject. In sections one and two below, I use these aspects of feminine embodiment to analyze how Buffy the Vampire Slayer both reflects and challenges these norms, concluding that Buffy represents a gender hybrid, one who melds feminine and masculine being-in-the-world. Then, in section three, (...) I examine what this depiction of gender hybridity offers for ordinary young women, that is, those without the mystically endowed powers of the Slayer, through a deconstruction of the episode “Helpless” (3.12). I argue that, instead of presenting a “docile body” inspiring sexual objectification and victimization, Buffy the Vampire Slayer offers viewers a representation of female resilience. (shrink)
This book examines contemporary structural social injustices from a feminist perspective. It asks: what makes oppression, discrimination, and domination wrongful? Is there a single wrongness-making feature of various social injustices that are due to social kind membership? Why is sexist oppression of women wrongful? What does the wrongfulness of patriarchal damage done to women consist in? In thinking about what normatively grounds social injustice, the book puts forward two related views. First, it argues for a paradigm shift in focus away (...) from feminist philosophy that is organized around the gender concept woman, and towards feminist philosophy that is humanist. This is against the following theoretical backdrop: Politically effective feminism requires ways to elucidate how and why patriarchy damages women, and to articulate and defend feminism's critical claims. In order to meet these normative demands an influential theoretical outlook has emerged: for emancipatory purposes feminist philosophers should articulate a thick conception of the gender concept woman around which feminist philosophical work is organized. However, Part I of the book argues that we should resist this move, and that feminist philosophers should reframe their analyses of injustice in humanist terms. Second, the book spells out a humanist alternative to the more prevalent gender-focus in feminist philosophy. This hinges on a notion of dehumanization, which Part II of the book develops. The argued for understanding of dehumanization is used to explicate the wrongness-making feature of social injustices, both in general and of those due to patriarchy. Dehumanization is not another form of injustice-rather, it is that which makes forms of social injustice unjust. The book's second part then provides a regimentation of social injustice from a feminist perspective in order to spell out the specifics of the proposed humanist feminism, and to demonstrate how it improves some non-feminist analyses of injustice too. (shrink)
The attributes of gender in the media are disputable. This can be explained by a conflict generated by culturally acquired alternative imagined hierarchies which are not compatible or may be even contradictory. This article is a philosophical enquiry that examines the representation of gender and the environment in which it is conditioned.
É muitas vezes aceite que certas categorias, tipicamente as de género, raça, orientação sexual ou doença mental, são construções sociais e não divisões naturais no mundo. A distinção entre categorias naturais e categorias sociais, como pretende ser a distinção entre o sexo e o género, tem servido no âmbito da crítica e ciência social para advogar a abolição de certas normas sociais, e para a implementação de políticas mais equitativas. Contudo, há aspectos centrais do construtivismo que são pouco claros. O (...) que é que se nega ao rejeitar que as categorias construídas socialmente são naturais? E o que significa dizer que essas categorias são construções sociais? E será de todo verdade que certas categorias, como o género, são sociais e não naturais? Não tenho a pretensão de responder a todas estas complexas questões neste artigo, mas espero pelo menos iluminar parte do debate contemporâneo sobre estes problemas. Por uma questão de espaço, concentrar-me-ei na noção de género. (shrink)
This paper critically evaluates the semantic externalist conception of Race and Gender concepts put forward in Sally Haslanger's 2012 essay collection "Resisting Reality". I argue that her endorsement of "objective type externalism" limits the options for critique compared to social externalist approaches.
In this paper the sameness and difference between two distinguished Indian authors, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880–1932) and Mahasweta Devi (b. 1926), representing two generations almost a century apart, will be under analysis in order to trace the generational transformation in women’s writing in India, especially Bengal. Situated in the colonial and postcolonial frames of history, Hossain and Mahasweta Devi may be contextualized differently. At the same time their subjects are also differently categorized; the former is not particularly concerned with subalterns (...) whereas the latter specifically focuses on the effect of race and class on gender. The quest for the ‘self’ and ‘subjectivity’ is more pertinent in the latter and consequently the appeal for agency is based on a crude power struggle. Hossain, a philanthropist who championed the woman question, believed that striving for equality should be a collective process which could be achieved by spreading awareness among fellow-inmates inhabiting the prison of patriarchy. Like Euro-American first-wave feminists, Rokeya advocated the necessity of education among women in order for them to be able to comprehend their plight and ‘awake’ for the cause. She addresses fundamental issues of feminism like education and the systematized claustrophobia within the domestic space. Whereas Mahasweta Devi, has been an activist writer who is regarded as the brand ambassador for the support of the marginalized, deprived and denotified tribes of India. It is her mission to provide succour to the marginalized sections, especially tribes from the Purulia district of West Bengal, like the Kherias and Shabars. As an activist writer she explores tribal life and allied socio-political issues which reflect their agony. (shrink)
This article deals with women-centred prose texts of the 1990s and 2000s in Russia written by women, and focuses especially on generation narratives. By this term the author means fictional texts that explore generational relations within families, from the perspective of repressed experiences, feelings and attitudes in the Soviet period. The selected texts are interpreted as narrating and conceptualizing the consequences of patriarchal ideology for relations between mothers and daughters and for reconstructing connections between Soviet and post-Soviet by revisiting and (...) remembering especially the gaps and discontinuities between (female) generations. The cases discussed are Liudmila Petrushevskaia’s ‘povest’ Vremia noch [The Time: Night] (1991), Liudmila Ulitskaia’s novel Medeia i ee deti [Medea and her Children] (1996) and Elena Chizhova’s novel Vremia zhenshchin [The Time of Women] (2009). These novels reflect on the one hand the woman-centredness and novelty of representation in women’s prose writing in the post-Soviet period. On the other hand, the author suggests that they reflect the diverse methods of representing the Soviet era and experience through generation narratives. The texts reassess the past through intimate, tactile memories and perceptions, and their narration through generational plots draws attention to the process of working through, which needs to be done in contemporary Russia. The narratives touch upon the untold stories of those who suffered in silence or hid the family secrets from the officials, in order to save the family. The narration delves into the different layers of experience and memory, conceptualizing them in the form of multiple narrative perspectives constructing different generations and traditions. In this way they convey the ‘secrets’ hidden in the midst of everyday life routines and give voice to the often silent resistance of women towards patriarchal and repressive ideology. The new women’s prose of the 1980s–90s and the subsequent trend of women-centred narratives and generation narratives employ conceptual metaphors of reassessing, revisiting and remembering the cultural, experiential, and emotional aspects of the past, Soviet lives. (shrink)
Using a theoretical framework derived from my ongoing engagement with what I have called a ‘Gynocentric matrix’ of Indic sensibility, along with James Hillman’s polytheistic psychology and Wallace Stevens’ notion of a Supreme Fiction, this paper offers a reading of Jhumpa Lahiri’s (b. 1967) short stories beyond postcolonial criticism. Stemming from a depth consciousness where life, living and death, joy, indifference and sorrow, generation, de/re-generation, and transformation are intricately intertwined, Lahiri’s fictional multiverse, opposed to universe, is peopled by a new (...) generation of characters who speak to the soul of the reader, while in the process, she sculpts a reality that does not tolerate any homogenizing impulse in the name of an abstract unity. (shrink)
This essay offers an overview of the diversity of women’s prose writing that emerged on the Czech cultural scene in the post-communist era. To that end it briefly characterizes the work of eight Czech women authors who were born within the first two decades after World War II and began to create during the post-1968 era of ‘normalization’. In this broad sense they belong to a single generation. With rare exception their work was not officially published in their homeland until (...) the 1990s. The writers included are: Lenka Procházková, Tereza Boučková, Alexandra Berková, Zuzana Brabcová, Daniela Hodrová, Sylvie Richterová, Iva Pekárková, and Eva Hauserová. The overview is followed by a concise comparative analysis of texts by three very different writers (Procházková, Pekárková, and Hodrová), using a feminist critical approach. There is also an appendix of works by these writers available in English translation. (shrink)
In January 1995, at the age of 22, Annabel Chong (whose real name is Grace Quek), a former pornographic actress/director set a world record (which has since been topped) for having the most number of sex acts, 251 with about 70 men, over a period of about ten hours, for a film called the World’s Biggest Gangbang. Chong claims in subsequent interviews that more than anything else, she did it to challenge the stereotypical notion that female sexuality is passive—that women (...) like to be “seduced, kissed and cuddled, and [are] basically biologically monogamous”. She quips that “if a guy did 251 women in one day . . . everyone would think he’s a real stud”; But if a girl does the same “she’s considered a terrible slut.” This paper is my attempt to investigate what Annabel Chong’s dissent means for feminism: Is Annabel Chong the quintessential feminist, defying an oppressive system, asserting her individuality, redefining the parameters of a gender-determined sexuality? Or is she a victim of her own misguided ideals, objectifying herself in the belief that this affirms her subjectivity, submitting herself to domination to reclaim control, eventually propagating the same oppressive system she professes to end? I want to approach this inquiry using Foucault’s framework of power-discourse-sexuality for two reasons: First, I believe that Foucault’s genealogy of sexuality successfully exploits how sexuality as a discursive construct is used as a technique of control; Second, I believe that Foucault provides us a way of understanding how an individual responds to various systems of control, as well as a framework that explains the many power relations that determine an individual’s mode of existence. However, since in effect, I would be presenting a Foucauldian analysis of the gendered experience of a feminist subject, I find it necessary to first overcome what I consider as theoretical barriers, alluding to the ongoing debate concerning the usefulness of Foucault’s framework for feminists. To address this issue, I will present a brief survey of the criticisms directed to the inadequacy of Foucault’s theory of the subject posed by some notable feminists, as well as the proposed resolutions to them. This also establishes the framework on which I ground my inquiry. My contention is that to some extent these criticisms have already been resolved, and that it is now possible to present an analysis of the gendered experience of the feminist subject using a Foucauldian framework. (shrink)
This paper develops an alternative for (what feminists call) ‘the sex/gender distinction’. I do so in order to avoid certain problematic implications that the distinction underpins. First, the sex/gender distinction paradigmatically holds that some social conditions determine one’s gender (whether one is a woman or a man), and that some biological conditions determine one’s sex (whether one is female or male). Further, sex and gender come apart. Since gender is socially constructed, this implies that women exist mind-dependently, or due to (...) productive human social activities; thus, it should be possible to do away with them just by altering the social conditions on which gender depends. In addition, some feminists take gender to depend on oppressive social conditions. Changing our social environments, then, would not only unwittingly eradicate women; doing away with women should be feminism’s political goal. I argue that both implications are unacceptable. In response, I argue for a view that has ontological commitments which are more congenial to ordinary thinking, and that doesn’t have the goal of eradicating women. (shrink)
The gender concept woman is central to feminism but has proven to be notoriously difficult to define. Some feminist philosophers, most notably Sally Haslanger, have recently argued for revisionary analyses of the concept where it is defined pragmatically for feminist political purposes. I argue against such analyses: pragmatically revising woman may not best serve feminist goals and doing so is unnecessary. Instead, focusing on certain intuitive uses of the term ‘woman’ enables feminist philosophers to make sense of it.
Sport acts as a vehicle for the social realization of certain traditional normative frameworks of gender construction and interpretation. Women participating in traditionally male defined sports challenge those frameworks and open the possibility of a redefinition of women’s gender identity, while also raising practical questions concerning women’s control over the means and direction of that redefinition. This paper traces, in both general and personal terms, several of the issues faced by women in “male” sports, especially hockey. These include the problems (...) of being seen within the sport, of learning gender proscribed traits, the impact of the differential validational import of athletic participation for men and women (which generates issues concerning cross- and intra-gender hostility, heterosexism and homophobia), and the importance of both self- and mutual respect for female athletic success. (shrink)
Written and directed by Paul-Thomas Anderson, Punch-Drunk Love exposes the complexity and kitsch superficialities of masculine gender constructions. The following essay provides a summary of gender theory in order to uncover and better understand the film's post-patriarchal vision of masculinity.
Spelman has famously argued against gender realism (the view that women have some social feature in common that makes them women). Many feminist philosophers have accepted Spelman’s argument and gender realist positions are, generally speaking, rejected. I show that Spelman’s arguments are inadequate and do not give good reasons to reject gender realism per se. I also propose a gender realist position that makes use of David Armstrong’s work on complex universals.
It is always awkward when someone asks me informally what I’m working on and I answer that I’m trying to figure out what gender is. For outside a rather narrow segment of the academic world, the term ‘gender’ has come to function as the polite way to talk about the sexes. And one thing people feel pretty confident about is their knowledge of the difference between males and females. Males are those human beings with a range of familiar primary and (...) secondary sex characteristics, most important being the penis; females are those with a different set, most important being the vagina or, perhaps, the uterus. Enough said. Against this background, it isn’t clear what could be the point of an inquiry, especially a philosophical inquiry, into “what gender is”. (shrink)
The irony of the rejection of the sex/gender distinction is that it renders sociology per se an impossible enterprise. For it is my submission that, contra Hood-Williams (1996) and others, the biological and the social constitute distinct, irreducible levels of reality: to conflate (in a ‘downwards’ or ‘upwards’ direction) the two levels is immediately to render analysis of their relative interplay at best intractable. It is indeed arguable that Hood-Williams is not so much concerned with (rightly) rejecting the so-called ‘additive’ (...) approach to the biological and the social where the biological base is seen a priori as immutable, but more fundamentally with rejecting the necessary dualism of nature and culture (ie the biological and the social). In contradistinction, a realist defence of the sex/gender distinction will be made, involving critical reference to various major writers in the field and offering a brief but tentative discussion of the provenance of gender. (shrink)
This is a book on feminist theory from a socialist-feminist (materialist feminist) perspective. I categorize existing paradigms of Western feminist theory in the 1980s and contrast them with my own view, which adds to a critique of capitalism inspired by Marxism another system in which male domination persists, which I call the system of "sex-affective production" (inspired but going beyond Freud, Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari). I also discuss motherhood and sexuality using my paradigm personally, politically and philosophically.