If you missed it last month, Miri of Brute Reason (Free Thought Blogs) has a post on how critiquing flaws in our theories can lead to a stronger, more holistic approach to discussing gender, culture, and feminism. I was initially a bit worried about the “devil’s advocate” position mentioned in the caveats because when I experience that position with critiquing (current) feminist theory, it tends to come with a tip of the fedora. However, this is the right sort of challenging and engaging and comes from a place of hoping to better the field.
The three models examined are gender as performance, rape culture, and privilege. That is, instead of approaching gender as performance alone, to look at Julia Serano’s theory of rejecting both gender determinism (pure biology) as well as gender artifactualism (purely a social construct) for a more holistic approach. I personally see gender as a largely social construct that is placed upon a person from the minute the parents, guardians, and doctors know the sex of their child, but that does not account for transpeople’s experiences, such knowing that you are not your sex assigned at birth, or for other genderqueer experiences, such as identifying as androgynous or bigender or two-spirited.
Additionally, the discussion of rape culture vs. consent culture and ways of discussing privilege productively are useful and challenging. Our models in contemporary feminism are some of the best we’ve come up with thusfar, but 3rd (3.5? 4th?) wave feminism can still be improved, and, not to sound overly 1st wave, but we should always seek progress and improvement in our theories and practices.
Read the full piece on Brute Reason.