By Kristan Poirot
By way of the mid-1990s feminist theorists and critics started to problem traditional puzzling over intercourse distinction and its courting to gender and sexuality. students resembling Anne Fausto-Sterling and Judith Butler afflicted the sex-gender/nature-nurture divide. a few have asserted that those questions about intercourse are a lot too summary to give a contribution to a useful figuring out of the fabric politics confronted via feminist activities. In a query of intercourse, Kristan Poirot demanding situations this assumption and demonstrates that modern theories approximately intercourse, gender, identification, and distinction compel a rethinking of the background of feminist pursuits and their rhetorical practices. Poirot makes a speciality of 5 case reviews -- the flow of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" in early and modern feminist contexts; the visible rhetorics of the feminist self-help well-being circulation; the general public discourse of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and early nineteenth-century rules approximately suffrage, intercourse, and race; the conflicts over lesbian sexuality within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies; and the discourse that surrounds twenty-first-century SlutWalks. within the strategy, Poirot rethinks the phrases in which we comprehend U.S. feminist hobbies to discover the methods feminism has puzzled sexed differences and practices through the years. She emphasizes the significance of analyzing feminist engagements with intercourse as rhetorical endeavors -- practices which are formed through the instrumental calls for of routine, the exigent events that decision for feminists to reply, and the iconic philosophical traditions that flow in U.S. political contexts.
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Extra info for A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences That Matter
48 This account of the relationship between sex and gender, Chambers warns, risks moving feminists “to the full-scale abandonment of sex and gender to the political realm. ”49 As I discussed in the opening pages of this introduction, the scholarly revolution surrounding “sex” might be better described as a sex/gender one, wherein critics are constantly reminded that any claim about sex is always already circumscribed by gender. In that way gender, not sex, functions as the crucial concept for feminist analysis— rhetorical or otherwise.
These cases do not confine, in other words, questions of sex to abstract debates in feminist philosophical registers; these questions lie at the heart of women’s movements’ most defining struggles. Chapter 1 begins this process by demonstrating what I envision as a questionable engagement with feminism and sex. ” speech. ” nevertheless continues to be a celebrated statement of feminist advocacy. This celebration, however, is riddled with controversy as feminists debate, on multiple grounds, what Truth’s question should reveal about feminist commitments 18 In t rodu c ti on to women and its deeply troubled racial past (and present).
To do so, I argue, would be to engage the relationship between Truth and sex as questionable, sustaining the historicity and contingency of sexed distinctions and remembering that many black bodies experienced sex in radically different ways from those of white reformers. This kind of questionable engagement with Truth works in the spirit of feminist commitments to alterity without subjecting the so-called other to the recognizable (sexed and raced) terms of the status quo. In many ways, chapter 1 reminds us that a look at sex difference is always imbricated in various traditions of human differentiation.