Tag Archives: genderless

Big Question: What is the goal of feminism?

As Christine Delphy speculates that “we shall only really be able to think about gender on the day when we can imagine nongender” (Delphy 67) she concludes that not only is it nearly impossible to conceptualize a genderless world, but it is also rarely the goal of the feminist movement. While some feminists appear to advocate that women embrace their femininity and be empowered by gender, others suggest that it is a spectrum or something irrelevant to individual identity. It’s a question linked with the debate over whether feminism should be organized by a gender binary: should there be one group designated as feminists and the others as “male feminists” or does that special distinction only compound the issue?

As a feminist who believes that the goal is to change the process by which we arrive at our identity, removing arbitrary constructs, I don’t consider feminism to be a movement belonging solely to women so there can be no “male feminists,” only feminists. The final goal would be for gender to exist not as a limiting, dictator of identity but as an enabler of self-expression. The next step is to figure out what that looks like, and if perhaps it is a goal only achievable in Delphy’s genderless utopia.

Source:

Delphy, Christine. Feminist Theory Reader: Local and Global Perspectives. McCann and Kim, eds. New York: Routledge, 2003.

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Big question: What is power?

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines power as “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events” (incidentally, the example phrase the dictionary provides is “the idea that men should have power over women”). However, I think this definition is incomplete. Power is not only the ability to control the external, but also ability to establish the internal. Reading David Colapinto’s “As Nature Made Him,” I was struck by the actions Brenda undertook to make her self-perceived male gender harmonize with how the world saw her. I think most of Brenda’s childhood behavioral issues were a product of her fruitlessly attempting to establish her power. Wittingly or not, Dr. Money, Brenda’s parents, and most everyone around her took away her power by forcing her to be a girl. I think this is perhaps why some parents choose to raise their children as “genderless”—they do not want society taking away their children’s power to establish who they are by imposing upon them preconceived notion of what gender is.

Colapinto, John. As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. New York: HarperCollins, 2000. Print.