In less than two weeks, our class has read and discussed articles, essays, as well as a TED talk show, from a variety of feminist leaders. We have used feminism as an introduction and a means to better understand the study of sexuality and gender.
Starting with our first assigned reading, we learned from Lorde that feminism encompasses more than just equality among men and women. For many women (myself included) are targets of oppression because of our race, sexual orientation, class, nationality, etc. Often times, individuals, who don’t perfectly fit into to what Lorde names the “mythical norm,” only acknowledge equality among those differences that specifically apply to them, in vain hope of aligning themselves with the suppressors. She reiterates that this noninclusive mentality halts the progress of equality for all women.
In Gayle Rubin’s essay “The Traffic in Women,” Rubin refuted several perspectives of human behavior—including Marxism, Kinship and Psychoanalysis. The biggest qualm Rubin had with Kinship is that women were viewed as gifts and men were the gift givers—meaning women did not have the same rights as men nor would they realize any notable benefits from being exchanged.
Then, we viewed Confessions of a bad feminist, a Ted Talk by Roxanne Gay, and bell hooks critical review of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. While I find hook’s critique of Lean In necessary, after watching Gay’s Ted Talk, I would not go as far to call Sandberg a “faux-feminist.” Sandberg’s book may not be perfect, and she may just be a bad feminist—yes, that’s okay. Even while, I would rather hear her be more inclusive of all women, I believe she is playing to her target audience. For her, I am thankful she has been so successful, and would look forward to seeing her mature as a feminist, who could one day be a role model to women of many different backgrounds.
Most recently we have read “The Technology of Gender,” and of all the readings, this one most closely examines the relationship between sex and gender and the possibility of the absence of either label. The author, Teresa De Lauretis, talks about how gender is both a social and self representation. How it was learned will ultimately effect how it will be deconstructed.
Thanks for reading—have a great weekend!