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Feminist Theory Final

Terms in this set (102)

In this essay, Rubin discussed the trafficking of women, which she believes results from the "sex/gender system," a phrase she originated, meaning "the set of arrangements by which a society transforms biological sexuality into products of human activity, and in which these transformed sexual needs are satisfied."
-She takes as a starting point writers who have previously discussed gender and sexual relations as an economic institution (Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) which serves a conventional social function (Claude Lévi-Strauss) and is reproduced in the psychology of children (Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan).
-She asserts that these writers fail to adequately explain women's subjugation; therefore, Rubin offers a reinterpretation of their ideas.
-Rubin addresses Marxist thought by identifying women's role within a capitalist society.
--> She argues that the reproduction of labor power depends upon women's housework to transform commodities into sustenance for the worker.
--> A capitalistic system cannot generate surplus without women, yet society does not grant women access to the resulting capital.

-Rubin argues that historical patterns of female oppression have constructed this role for women in capitalist societies.
-She attempts to analyze these historical patterns by considering the sex/gender system.
-According to Rubin, "Gender is a socially imposed division of the sexes."
--> She cites the exchange of women within patriarchal societies as perpetuating the pattern of female oppression, referencing Marcel Mauss' Essay on the Gift and using his idea of the "gift" to establish the notion that gender is created within this exchange of women by men in a kinship system.
--> Women are born biologically female, but only become gendered when the distinction between male giver and female gift is made within this exchange.
--> For men, giving the gift of a daughter or a sister to another man for the purpose of matrimony allows for the formation of kinship ties between two men and the transfer of "sexual access, genealogical statuses, lineage names and ancestors, rights and people" to occur.
-When using a Marxist analysis of capitalism within this sex/gender system, the exclusion of women from the system of exchange establishes men as sellers and women as their commodities fit for exchange.
-She ultimately hopes for an "androgynous and genderless" society in which sexual difference has no socially constructed and hierarchical meaning.
-psychoanalysis: "description of the mechanisms by which the sexes are divided and deformed, of how bisexual, androgynous infants are transformed into boys and girls"
--> "one can read Freud's essays on femininity as descriptions of how a group is prepared psychologically, at a tender age, to live with its oppression"
-Freud is being very experimental with trying out explanations to female sexuality/theory/feminism
-Q: Why are women more prone to neurosis/hysteria than men? (why are most of my patients women?/have more emotional problems)
-->A: "Normal" adult female sexuality requires more difficult and self-sacrificial repression or original libidinal position (it is harder to become a woman than a man)
-Freud believed all children are masculine, and that women must give up this masculinity to become feminine
-Freud believed that civilization results in psychic costs

-3 components of "how women are made":
1) oedipus complex: in love with mom; trades this love in order to not lose his penis (castration by the father) so that he can become a man for other women
--> the male oedipus complex is resolved by the castration complex and leads to the creation of super-ego and thus becoming "civilized" in society
2) castration: girls fall in love with mom too and must give up all women, and realizes her position as without a penis (castration) and assumes a passive role in life
3) penis envy: the girl doesn't get power like the boy does, instead she has to be passive for the rest of her life
-penis=symbol for power
-MacKinnon's work largely focuses on the difference between quality of social and economic conditions for women in both the private and public spheres of life.
-MacKinnon believes that society fails to recognize the existing hierarchies present within it that have subordinated women in particular for such a long time that they have been perceived as natural.
-"Men's forms of dominance over women have been accomplished socially as well as economically, prior to the operation of law, without express state acts, often in intimate contexts, as everyday life"

-MacKinnon writes about the interrelations between theory and practice, recognizing that women's experiences have, for the most part, been ignored in both arenas.
-Furthermore, she uses Marxism to critique certain points in feminist theory and uses feminism to criticize Marxist theory.
-She sees hypocrisy in much of Marx's theory due to his failure to mention women's oppression in relation to class oppression.
-MacKinnon notes Marx's criticism of theory that treated class division as a spontaneous event that occurred naturally.
-Marx saw class as an unnatural status quo resulting from the ownership of the means of production while at the same time thinking of women's responsibility for child-rearing as a "natural" sex role.
-She understands epistemology as theories of knowing and politics as theories of power.
-She explains, "Having power means, among other things, that when someone says, 'this is how it is', it is taken as being that way. . . . Powerlessness means that when you say 'this is how it is,' it is not taken as being that way. This makes articulating silence, perceiving the presence of absence, believing those who have been socially stripped of credibility, critically contextualizing what passes for simple fact, necessary to the epistemology of a politics of the powerless."

MacKinnon's ideas may be divided into three central—although overlapping and ongoing—areas of focus:
(1) sexual harassment
(2) pornography
(3) international work

1) Sexual Harassment: In her book, MacKinnon argued that sexual harassment is sex discrimination because the act reinforces the social inequality of women to men.
-She distinguishes between two types of sexual harassment:
--1) "quid pro quo": meaning sexual harassment "in which sexual compliance is exchanged, or proposed to be exchanged, for an employment opportunity"
--2) the type of harassment that "arises when sexual harassment is a persistent condition of work"

2) Pornography: MacKinnon, along with late feminist activist Andrea Dworkin, has been active in attempting to change legal postures towards pornography by framing it as a form of sex discrimination and, more recently, a form of human trafficking
-She (and Dworkin) define pornography as follows: "We define pornography as the graphic sexually explicit subordination of women through pictures and words that also includes
--(i) women are presented dehumanized as sexual objects, things, or commodities; or
--(ii) women are presented as sexual objects who enjoy humiliation or pain; or
--(iii) women are presented as sexual objects experiencing sexual pleasure in rape, incest or other sexual assault; or
--(iv) women are presented as sexual objects tied up, cut up or mutilated or bruised or physically hurt; or
--(v) women are presented in postures or positions of sexual submission, servility, or display; or
--(vi) women's body parts—including but not limited to vaginas, breasts, or buttocks—are exhibited such that women are reduced to those parts; or
--(vii) women are presented being penetrated by objects or animals; or
--(viii) women are presented in scenarios of degradation, humiliation, injury, torture, shown as filthy or inferior, bleeding, bruised, or hurt in a context that makes these conditions sexual."
-MacKinnon writes, "Pornography, in the feminist view, is a form of forced sex, a practice of sexual politics, and institution of gender inequality."
-MacKinnon chooses a few points to focus on specifically, depicting the sexual exploitation of women as a means of showing their inferiority by displaying them as sexual objects, things or commodities, which dehumanizes them.
-She argues that any display of women enjoying humiliation or pain should be a violation of the law.
-She writes, "Pornography contributes causally to attitudes and behaviors of violence and discrimination which define the treatment and status of half the population."
-"Pornography, in the feminist view is a form of forced sex, a practice of sexual politics, an institution of gender inequality"

3) International Work: we don't focus on this in our class
-divergentist view of feminism because she believes every political issue will marginalize some and benefit others
-"by supporting black male suffrage and denouncing women's rights, men are showing their sexism"
-black movement simply wanted more inclusion in society, rather than a change of society which is what women's suffrage wanted
-"endurance is not to be confused with transformation"
--> when white women see black women's struggle and say "they are so 'strong'," they are saying that it is better for them to endure the suffrage than to change it
--> endurance becomes another word for acceptance of poor treatment/discrimination
-if white women were to acknowledge black women as an existing entity/a thing, then the analogy between gender as forms of oppression would be unnecessary
-the word woman usually means white women and the term blacks usually means black men
--> reveals a sexist-ract attitude toward black women within the civil rights moments
-"silence of the oppressed": flipside of the endurance talk
--> women are told to be quiet to be ladylike and blacks are told to be quiet to be objective

-Her writing has focused on the interconnectivity of race, capitalism, and gender, and what she describes as their ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression and class domination
-Noting a lack of diverse voices in popular feminist theory, bell hooks published this work in 1984. In Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center, she explains that those voices have been marginalized. "To be in the margin is to be part of the whole but outside the main body."
--> Hooks argued in her work that if feminism seeks to make women equal to men, then it is impossible due to the fact Western society does not view all men equal.
--> She claimed, "Women in lower class and poor groups, particularly those who are non-white, would not have defined women's liberation as women gaining social equality with men since they are continually reminded in their everyday lives that all women do not share a common social status."
--She used the work as a platform to offer a new, more inclusive feminist theory.
--> Her theory encouraged the long-standing idea of sisterhood but advocated for women to acknowledge their differences while still accepting each other.
-Bell hooks challenged feminists to consider gender's relation to race, class, and sex, a concept coined as intersectionality.
-Hooks covers the importance of male involvement in the equality movement, that in order to make change men must do their part.
-Hooks also calls for a restructuring of the cultural framework of power, one that does not find oppression of others necessary.
-Additionally, she shows great appreciation for the movement away from feminist thought as led by bourgeois white women, and towards a multidimensional gathering of both genders to fight for the raising up of women.
-Another part of restructuring the movement comes from education; bell hooks points out that there is an anti-intellectual stigma among the masses:
--> Poor people don't want to hear from intellectuals because they are different and have different ideas.
--> As bell hooks points out though, this stigma against intellectuals leads to poor people who have risen up to become graduates of post secondary education, to be shunned because they are no longer like the rest of the masses.
--> In order for us to achieve equality, people must be able to learn from those who have been able to smash these stereotypes.
--> This separation leads to further inequality and in order for the feminist movement to succeed, they must be able to bridge the education gap and relate to those in the lower end of the economic sphere.
she's interested in cultures' purity-seeking/chastity and how that affects women
-when we don't recognize our white privilege, we reinforce the dominant system/racist system

-Anzaldúa is highly known for this semi-autobiographical book which discusses her life growing up on the Mexican-Texas border.
-Borderlands examines the condition of women in Chicano and Latino culture.
-The first half of the book is a series of essays, which feature a view into a life of isolation and loneliness in the borderlands between cultures.
-The latter half of the book is poetry.
-Anzaldúa writes this book in two variations of English and six variations of Spanish.
--> By doing this she makes it difficult for non-bilinguals to read without being frustrated.
--> This was done on purpose in order for people to understand the frustrating life Anzaldúa grew up in. Language was one of the barriers Anzaldúa dealt with as a child. She wanted readers to understand how frustrating things are when there are language barriers.
-This book was written as an outlet for her anger and encourages one to be proud of one's heritage and culture.

-She made contributions to ideas of feminism and contributed to the field of cultural theory/Chicana and queer theory.
-One of her major contributions was her introduction to United States academic audiences of the term mestizaje, meaning a state of being beyond binary ("either-or") conception, into academic writing and discussion.
-In her theoretical works, Anzaldúa called for a "new mestiza," which she described as an individual aware of her conflicting and meshing identities and uses these "new angles of vision" to challenge binary thinking in the Western world.
-She points out that having to identify as a certain, labelled, sex can be detrimental to one's creativity as well as how seriously people take you as a producer of consumable goods.
-The "new mestiza" way of thinking is illustrated in postcolonial feminism.
-In the same way that Anzaldúa felt she could not be classified as only part of one race or the other, she felt that she possessed a multi-sexuality.
--> When growing up, Anzaldúa expressed that she felt an "intense sexuality" towards her own father, to animals and even to trees.
--> She was attracted to and later had relationships with both men and women.

-While race normally divides people, Anzaldúa called for people of different races to confront their fears in order to move forward into a world that is less hateful and more useful.
-In "La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness," a text often used in women's studies courses, Anzaldúa insisted that separatism invoked by Chicanos/Chicanas is not furthering the cause, but instead keeping the same racial division in place.
-Many of Anzaldúa's works challenge the status quo of the movements in which she was involved.
--> She challenged these movements in an effort to make real change happen to the world, rather than to specific groups.
--> Scholar Ivy Schweitzer writes, "her theorizing of a new borderlands or mestiza consciousness helped jump start fresh investigations in several fields -- feminist, Americanist [and] postcolonial."
-main point: biology does not define a woman - even if it is that male violence is "biologically inevitable"
-radical lesbians: lesbians felt excluded from the gay-liberation movement which seemed to be all male; also fought to destroy the heterosexual norm for a woman
--> "you can't build a strong movement if your sisters are out there ****ing with the oppressor" --> questioning male-female relationships
-"lesbians are not women": she explains that "what makes a woman is a specific social relation to a man"
-The word "feminist" actually reinforces the idea of "women" as a different group/ species

-Wittig's essays call into question some of the basic premises of contemporary feminist theory.
-Wittig was one of the first feminist theorists to interrogate heterosexuality as not just sexuality, but as a political regime.
-Defining herself as a radical lesbian, she and other lesbians during the early 1980s in France and Quebec reached a consensus that "radical lesbianism" posits heterosexuality as a political regime that must be overthrown.
-Wittig criticized contemporary feminism for not questioning this heterosexual political regime and believed that contemporary feminism proposed to rearrange rather than eliminate the system.
-While a critique of heterosexuality as a "political institution" had been laid by certain lesbian separatists in the United States, American lesbian separatism did not posit heterosexuality as a regime to be overthrown.
--> Rather, the aim was to develop within an essentialist framework new lesbian values within lesbian communities.

-Wittig was a theorist of material feminism.
-She believed that it is the historical task of feminists to define oppression in materialist terms.
-It is necessary to make clear that women are a class, and to recognize the category of "woman" as well as the category of "man" as political and economic categories.
-->Wittig acknowledges that these two social classes exist because of the social relationship between men and women.
--> However, women as a class will disappear when man as a class disappears.
--> Just as there are no slaves without masters, there are no women without men.
-The category of sex is the political category that founds society as heterosexual.
-The category of "man" and "woman" exists only in a heterosexual system, and to destroy the heterosexual system will end the categories of men and women.
-analysis of discursive, conceptual, historical, economic, geopolitical, ideological sources, legacies, effects of Western colonial and imperial occupation and rule
-viewing these eastern or other cultural, economic, and historical situations that these women are in and determining how to come up with strategic coalitions based on the positions and situations that these women are in RATHER than simply declaring them backward
-investigates how colonialism has affected women
-Mohanty says that western feminist discourse creates the idea of the "3rd world woman" and how the Western feminists want to change the 3rd world women to become more like them

-defined the term subaltern: "subaltern is not just a classy word for "oppressed", for The Other, for somebody who's not getting a piece of the pie... In postcolonial terms, everything that has limited or no access to the cultural imperialism is subaltern—a space of difference. Now, who would say that's just the oppressed? The working class is oppressed. It's not subaltern.... Many people want to claim subalternity. They are the least interesting and the most dangerous. I mean, just by being a discriminated-against minority on the university campus; they don't need the word 'subaltern'... They should see what the mechanics of the discrimination are. They're within the hegemonic discourse, wanting a piece of the pie, and not being allowed, so let them speak, use the hegemonic discourse. They should not call themselves subaltern."
-Spivak also introduced the terms essentialism and strategic essentialism to describe the social functions of postcolonialism:
--> The term essentialism denotes the perceptual dangers inherent to reviving subaltern voices in ways that might (over) simplify the cultural identity of heterogeneous social groups, and, thereby, create stereotyped representations of the different identities of the people who compose a given social group
--> The term strategic essentialism denotes a temporary, essential group-identity used in the praxis of discourse among peoples.
--> The important distinction, between the terms, is that strategic essentialism does not ignore the diversity of identities (cultural and ethnic) in a social group, but that, in its practical function, strategic essentialism temporarily minimizes inter-group diversity to pragmatically support the essential group-identity.
-Spivak developed and applied Foucault's term epistemic violence to describe the destruction of non-Western ways of perceiving the world, and the resultant dominance of the Western ways of perceiving the world
--> Conceptually, epistemic violence specifically relates to women, whereby the "Subaltern [woman] must always be caught in translation, never [allowed to be] truly expressing herself", because the colonial power's destruction of her culture pushed to the social margins her non-Western ways of perceiving, understanding, and knowing the world
-She became known for her essay "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses", in which she states: "The relationship between 'Woman'—a cultural and ideological composite other constructed through diverse representational discourses (scientific, literary, juridical, linguistic, cinematic, etc.)—and 'women'—real, material subjects of their collective histories—is one of the central questions the practice of feminist scholarship seeks to address."
-In this essay, Mohanty critiques the political project of Western feminism and its discursive construction of the category of the "Third World woman" as a homogenous entity.
-Mohanty states that Western feminisms have tended to gloss over the differences between Southern women, but that the experience of oppression is incredibly diverse, and contingent upon geography, history, and culture.
-Her paper was a seminal work, highlighting the difficulties faced by feminists from the Third World in being heard within the broader feminist movement, and it led to a "redefining of power relationships" between feminists within the First and Third worlds.

-In 2003, Mohanty released her book "Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity".
-In this work, she argues for a bridging of theory and praxis, and the personal and the political.
-Major themes addressed include the politics of difference, transnational solidarity building, and anticapitalist struggle against neoliberal globalization.
-Mohanty "reiterates her belief in the possibility, indeed necessity, of building common political projects between Third World and Western feminisms"
-interested in critiquing what representation (self-representation) means
-->according to Spivak, no, the subaltern cannot speak
-she's interested in who is left out of the discussion regarding what is knowledge, science, moral
-subaltern is inside the circuit of epistemic violence and also outside because they have no clue it's happening
--> thus they cannot speak
-no work is apolitical
-subaltern has no happy ending
-western intellectual
-given the international division of labor, how can the Western realize the subaltern?
-"white men are saving brown women from brown men" vs. "the women actually wanted to die"
--> represents the subaltern because they are assuming what the women desire, saying that she cannot speak
--> these statements are political and impose Western culture
--> in neither statement do the women speak for themselves
--> geopolitical, social construction of what is desired

-In "Can the Subaltern Speak?" Spivak discusses the lack of an account of the Sati practice (refers to a funeral ritual within some Asian communities in which a recently widowed woman commits suicide by fire, typically on the husband's funeral pyre), leading her to reflect on whether the subaltern can even speak.
-Spivak recounts how Sati appears in colonial archives.
-Spivak demonstrates that the Western academy has obscured subaltern experiences by assuming the transparency of its scholarship.
-Spivak writes about the process, the focus on the Eurocentric Subject as they disavow the problem of representation; and by invoking the Subject of Europe, these intellectuals constitute the subaltern Other of Europe as anonymous and mute.
In this essay, she asks "how and why women's choice of women as passionate comrades, life partners, co-workers, lovers, community, has been crushed, invalidated, forced into hiding"

-Writes about Compulsory heterosexuality - idea that heterosexuality is a social norm and anything that deviates from it is deviant
-heterosexual privilege in society
-"heterosexuality, like motherhood, needs to be recognized and studied as a political institution - even, or especially, by those individuals who feel they are, in their experience, the precursors of a new social relation between the sexes"
-personal experience cannot be extracted from a larger social structure
-not all women are forced into relations
-even the most egalitarian relationships (between a man and woman), it still exists within a bigger structure in which heterosexuality is the norm/reigns
-areas of critique: pornography, rape, heterosexual romance
-she isn't condemning individuals, she's insisting that individual choices are constrained by societal norms

-Rich argues that heterosexuality is a violent political institution making way for the "male right of physical, economical, and emotional access" to women.
-She urges women to direct their energies towards other women rather than men, and portrays lesbianism as an extension of feminism.
-Rich challenges the notion of women's dependence on men as social and economic supports, as well as for adult sexuality and psychological completion.
-She calls for what she describes as a greater understanding of lesbian experience, and believes that once such an understanding is obtained, these boundaries will be widened and women will be able to experience the "erotic" in female terms.

-Rich claims that women may not have a preference toward heterosexuality, but may find it imposed, managed, organized, propagandized, and maintained by society.
--> She holds that women receive messages every day that promote heteronormativity in the form of myths and norms perpetuated by society.
-Rich argues that part of the lesbian experience is an act of resistance: specifically, a rejection of the patriarchy and the male right to women.
-Rich writes that lesbians have been denied a continuity of their personal and political history, and that when included in history, they have been simply the female versions of male homosexuals, with no distinctiveness.
--> At certain points in history, homosexual men and lesbians have shared a social existence, and acknowledged a common fight against society; but Rich writes that to treat the lesbian experience as a version of male homosexuality is to discard it, denying the female experience and the realities it brings, falsifying lesbian history.
-Rich proposes that all women should separate themselves from men and engage in some form of lesbian relationship, whether it leads to a mere lesbian expression at one time or another or an identified lesbian sexuality.
--> Only then, will it be possible for a woman to truly decide if heterosexuality is the right thing for her.
Although these three are performed simultaneously, their 3 definitions are nuanced:
1) Active: gender as an activity
--> performance as activity
--> we ACT OUT genders - we DO gender or ACT gender (ex. dressing as a woman)
--> gender is not a natural product of the body, but something that we act out based on what society determines a "man" or "woman" should do
2) Theatrical: impersonating a character
--> critical aspect of theatrical performance is the presence of witnesses to the performance (audience) as well as their reaction or response to the performance
3) Constitutive: speech-acts that change or create conditions, relations, events
--> ex: "I now pronounce you man and wife", actually makes something happen by speaking
--> ex: naming a child, leaving a will
--> all examples of not just saying soothing, but creating/making something by saying it

-Butler sees gender not as a noun but actually as a verb: "Gender proves to be performative - that is, constituting the identity it is purported to be. In this sense, gender is always a doing" (25).
-These three aspects of gender performativity are interrelated and can occur simultaneously
-In addition, anyone can perform any kind of gender; the performance of gender is not related to the genitals of a subject. That is to say, gender stereotypes of what is considered "masculine" or "feminine" does not necessarily pertain to certain genitalia.
--> For example, a man can have a penis but not be considered "masculine"
--> It is in this sense that Butler argues that gender is completely determined by performativity.
-representation of women is circular: the very concept of women and subordination is synonymous
-temporal fiction: femininity comes first and legal and political structure are a reflection of that nature
--> ex: gender is one of the things first printed on a birth certificate, but gender comes with cultural signification whereas height/weight do not
--> THUS, naming someone a boy or girl is MAKING them a boy or girl

-original vs. copy: "gay is to straight not as copy is to original, but, rather, as copy is to copy."
--> what it means: we know what it means to "act out" gender roles in a relationship. the heterosexual couple is not the "original" because it is not natural, it is copying an already-formed model. so when a "butch-femme" couple takes on gender roles (or a "drag-man" couple), they are not copying an original, they are copying a copy
--> gender is continually being copied/multiplied: there is no "original" idea of a man or a woman
--> drag queens: if a man dresses up just as much as a woman does to achieve the same look, it shows much much femininity is imitated as opposed to natural

-Butler is most well known for her books "Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity and Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex"", which challenge notions of gender and develop her theory of gender performativity
-The crux of Butler's argument in Gender Trouble is that the coherence of the categories of sex, gender, and sexuality—the natural-seeming coherence, for example, of masculine gender and heterosexual desire in male bodies—is culturally constructed through the repetition of stylized acts in time
-These stylized bodily acts, in their repetition, establish the appearance of an essential, ontological "core" gender
-Regulative discourse includes within it disciplinary techniques which, by coercing subjects to perform specific stylized actions, maintain the appearance in those subjects of the "core" gender, sex and sexuality the discourse itself produces
-Thus, by showing both terms "gender" and "sex" as socially and culturally constructed, Butler offers a critique of both terms, even as they have been used by feminists
--> Butler argued that feminism made a mistake in trying to make "women" a discrete, ahistorical group with common characteristics.
--> Butler said this approach reinforces the binary view of gender relations because it allows for two distinct categories: men and women.
-Butler aims to break the supposed links between sex and gender so that gender and desire can be "flexible, free floating and not caused by other stable factors".
-The idea of identity as free and flexible and gender as a performance, not an essence, is one of the foundations of Queer theory
-Definition: "The ways in which the location of women of color at the intersection of race and gender makes our actual experience of domestic violence, rape, and remedial reform qualitatively different than that of white women"
- "Many women who seek protection are unemployed, and a good number of them are poor. Shelters serving these women cannot afford to address only the violence inflicted by the batterer; they must also confront the other multilayered and routinized forms of domination that often converge in these women's lives, hindering their ability to create alternatives to the abusive relationships that brought them to shelters in the first place"
-Marriage fraud provisions of immigrant/nationality act: 1990 amendment includes a provision allowing a waiver for hardship caused by domestic violence
-"Intersectional subordination need not be intentionally produced; in fact, it is frequently the consequence of the imposition of one burden that interacts with preexisting vulnerabilities to create yet another dimension of disempowerment. In the case of the marriage fraud provisions of the immigration and nationality act, the imposition of a policy specifically designed to burden one class—immigrant spouses seeking permanent resident status—exacerbated the disempowerment of those already subordinated by other structures of domination"
-"The enactment of the domestic violence waiver of the marriage fraud provisions similarly illustrates how modest attempts to respond to certain problems can be ineffective when the intersectional location of women of color is not considered in fashioning the remedy. Cultural identity and class affect the likelihood that a battered spouse could take advantage of the waiver. Although the waiver is formally available to all women, the terms of the waiver make it inaccessible to some"
-Who has the criteria necessary to demonstrate that you are a victim of assault?
-Representational intersectionality: bc focus on white woman's rape case rather than black woman's rape puts white woman into a higher standard or more purity
-law itself is often one-sided
-part of Crenshaw's interest is the ways in which its very difficult for black women to represent themselves in the court in legal rape cases
-shes interested in the ways in which the paradigm of a black male perpetrator on a white female victim leaves out the black female cases

-On April 19, 1989, a white woman jogging in Central Park is attacked, beaten, and raped by a group of black youth
-That same week, 28 other first degree rapes or attempted rapes occur in NYC, none of which attract media attention
--> Why did this rape attract attention?
-"Historically, the dominant conceptualization of rape [has been] as quintessentially Black offender/ white victim"
-Antiracists work to confront and dispel the construction of black masculinity as a threat to white womanhood
-Feminists work to attack the good women/bad woman dichotomy that devalues the testimony of sexually autonomous women
-"The primary beneficiaries of policies supported by feminists and others concerned about rape tend to be white women; the primary beneficiaries of the Black community's concern over racism and rape, Black men"
-"Blacks have long been portrayed as more sexual, more earthly, more gratification-oriented. These sexualized images of race intersect with norms of women's sexuality, norms that are used to distinguish good women from bad, the madonnas from the whores. Thus Black women are essentially prepackaged as bad women within cultural narratives about good women who can be raped and bad women who cannot"
-Gendered sexual system (constructs rules appropriate for good/bad women) and a race code (images defining allegedly essential nature of black women)
-Effect that these discourses can have on black women
-Feminists used the central park rape case to draw attention to violence against women, consequences for black men—contributing to stereotypes of black men by only focusing on this case
-prosecution of a rap crew for obscenity in the 90s
-stirred up a lot of debates about racial and gendered oppression
-two sides: both were lead by men and erased the intersexual experience of black experience
--> one side: the sexually explicit, absolutely misogynistic lyrics encouraged misogyny and rape and therefore must be prosecuted as obscenity
--> other side: the attack on the crew stemmed from a racist and ignorant position on black music
--> both sides were missing something, neither side put sex and race together, they only focused on one

-First time a music group was put on trial for obscenity
-2 Main positions
1) George Willin (Newsweek): a misogynistic attack
2) Henry Louis Gates Jr.: an elaboration of distinctively African American forms of cultural expression
-"This article has presented intersectionality as a way of framing the various interactions of race and gender in the context of violence against women of color. Yet intersectionality might be more broadly useful as a way of mediating the tension between assertions of multiple identity and the ongoing necessity of group politics"
-"Vulgar constructionism thus distorts the possibilities for meaningful identity politics by conflating at least two separate but closely linked manifestations of power..."

-possible final exam q on the topic: we could compare Spivak's "white men saving brown women" to this trial
---> in both cases, black women are left completely absent. inability to see black women as both "black" and "women", people don't see how these two identities intersect
3 main questions she asks:
1) what happens when the revolutionary aims of feminism are required to work within a nonrevolutionary (liberal constitutional) framework?
2) what if one has revolutionary goals to change society itself, and yet is working as a lawyer or legal scholar, constrained to think within the actual limits or potential limits of the law, the courts and legislation?
3) do rights have any value for feminists who wish to undo the constraints and equal power relations that the formation of individual subjects constituted by the law sets into action?

-She has established new paradigms in critical legal studies and feminist theory; she is widely taught in courses in political theory, anthropology, sociology, geography, public policy, feminist theory, education, cultural and critical theory.
-In particular, she has produced a body of work that draws upon:
--> Marx's critique of capitalism
--> Nietzsche's usefulness for thinking about power and the ruses of morality
--> Max Weber and the modern organization of power
--> Freudian psychoanalysis and its implications for political identification
--> the early Frankfurt School
--> Michel Foucault's work on governmentality, sovereignty, and neo-liberalism
--> and other contemporary continental philosophers to diagnose modern and contemporary formations of political power, and to discern the threats to democracy entailed by such formations
-She has offered a trenchant critique of the discourse of "tolerance", showing how it is differentially used to augment forms of official intolerance.
-Brown returns time and again in her work to the question of democracy, posing the question within the present state of things of how to make a world together, emphasizing that sharing power for the purposes of making a common world must remain an ideal, however far from realization it remains at this time.
3 topics she covers:
1) Gender
2) Sexuality
3) Embodiment

-Halberstam's writing focuses on the topic of tomboys and female masculinity and has published a book titled after the concept of female masculinity.
-"Female Masculinity" famously discusses a common by-product of gender binarism, termed "the bathroom problem," outlining the dangerous and awkward dilemma of a perceived gender deviant's justification of presence in a gender-policed zone, such as a public bathroom, and the identity implications of "passing" therein
-In Female Masculinity (1998), Halberstam seeks to identify what constitutes masculinity in society and within the individual.
-The text first suggests that masculinity is a construction that promotes particular brands of male-ness while at the same time subordinating "alternative masculinities."
-The project specifically focuses on the ways female masculinity has been traditionally ignored in academia and society at large.
-To illustrate a cultural mechanism of subordinating alternative masculinities, Halberstam brings up James Bond and Goldeneye as an example, noting that gender performance in this film is far from what is traditional: M is the character who "most convincingly performs masculinity," Bond can only perform masculinity through his suave clothing and gadgets, and Q can be read "as a perfect model of the interpenetration of queer and dominant regimes."
-This interpretation of these characters challenges long-held ideas about what qualities create masculinity.
-Halberstam also brings up the example of the tomboy, a clear case of a youthful girl exerting masculine qualities—and raises the complication that within a youthful figure, the idea of masculinity expressed within a female body is less threatening, and only becomes threatening when those masculine tendencies are still apparent as the child progresses in age.

-Halberstam then focuses on "the bathroom problem.": Halberstam argues that the problem of only having two separate bathrooms for different genders, with no place for people who do not clearly fit into either category to use, is a problem.
-The assertion is further made that our bathroom system is not adequate for the different genders found in society.
-The problem of policing that occurs around the bathrooms is also a focal point for examination of the bathroom problem; not only is this a policing on the legal level, but also on the social level.
-The social aspect of policing, according to Halberstam, makes it even more difficult for people who do not clearly and visibly fall into one category or another to use public restrooms without encountering some sort of violent or uncomfortable situation.
3 sources that Garland-Thompson draws on for stigma:
1) Goffman
2) Douglas "Purity and Danger"
3) Foucalt "Discipline and Punish"

1) Goffman: sociological study of stigma
- highlights 3 characteristics from which stigma is constructed
-1) physical disability
-2) individual behaviors (addiction, lack of education, sexual habits)
-3) race, religion, ethnicity, or gender
-sees stigmatization "as an interactive social process" and "a form of social comparison" that deems certain human traits deviant and certain traits normal
-Sees stigmatization as an interactive social process and a form of social comparison that deems certain human traits deviant
-Understands disability as defined by social relations (the fraught interaction between the subject and an object)
-Stigmatization privileges what's considered normal or natural
-Given than the normal subject is illusory, the minority is much more the majority
-understands disability as defined/the definition

2) Douglas: anthropological study that assesses cultural responses to difference
-"Dirt is matter out of place": Garland-Thompson aligns dirt with disability
-suggesting that culture is based on order and that dirt is a metaphor for what doesn't fit/is out of place

3) Foucalt: emphasis on historical change
-he suggests that "classification and stigmatization... are nevertheless complicated by history" (139)
-beginning in feudal society, all bodies were accepted: disabled bodies might have been just another distinction among individuals like eye or skin color
-Shift from individual to collective
-Idea of the norm comes to regulate human bodies
-a notion that time is valued as long as it follows the Western linear-progessive model
--> as time goes on, things get more liberal, progressive, rational, and better
-seen as problematic because it not only sees progress in Western, but also sees the West as the paradigm of modernity and progress while it sees the East as always a little behind
-modernist ideology which deems history in linear terms as moving from the primitive to the developed, confers similarity on the other as the past of the self
-What western nations have achieved ideologically, politically, socially, is seen as the pinnacle of progress with non western peoples and nations having to catch up
-Geographical and cultural difference is mapped on to cultural difference
--> Asymmetrical Cosmopolitanism

Ex: Chinese history of women's rights
1) liberal feminism (1920s)
2) revolutionary feminism (1930s)
3) socialist, state-sponspored feminism (1949-980s)
4) refeminization (mid-1980s on)
-in Chinese history of women's rights and feminist movements, Chinese women actually achieved legal equal rights as men in the 50s (which is what US women were just starting to fight for)
-"refeminization" occurred as communism was starting to be banned, and capitalism was slowly replaced it
-because Chinese women had been assimilated with men for so long, and had been considered "equals" for so long, they felt that it was necessary to reestablished their feminism/"regender women"
--> this was seen as a step backwards to Westerners, who are trying to achieve equality with men

2 Myths about Chinese Women
1) Chinese women's liberation in the 1950s: "Western women did not realize that we entered society in the condition of a very low productivity standard, and because of the heavy burden of labor, including social and domestic labor, Chinese women had not really achieved real liberation. You said we were liberated, and we said we were exhausted." (99)
--> You said we were liberated by being able to work as much as men for the same pay, they said they were exhausted
--> "You said, we said" represents Westerner's assimilation of Chinese women
--> Women were legally defined as workers and given all of the same rights before the law as men were
--> Chinese women were assimilated into category of men
--> Because of low productivity standard and heavy burden of labor Chinese women were given the right to work as hard, for as little money, and as awful conditions as men
2) Chinese women's "double oppression": double oppression by tradition/the traditional family and by undemocratic politics and an underdeveloped economy
--> In the 1980's when China reentered global markets, Chinese women adopted new tension to what it means to be a woman as opposed to a girl
--> From the western perspective this wasn't seen as progress, but backsliding—the antithesis of progress
--> Return to tradition and the traditional family as one form of oppression

-"In these two diametrically opposed myths, there is an unquestioned, contradictory assignation of temporal value to Chinese women, first as "forerunners," thus ahead of Western women, and then as backward sisters living in an "underdeveloped" country under "double oppression."" (99)
--> Depends on taking western timeline as an objective truth as opposed to merely one perspective on what time and progress mean
--> "The obsessive critique of temporalizing the Other, Fabian's "chronopolitics" always already posits Chinese women as the perennial Object of study and does not presume the necessity of equal and genuine dialogue and exchange" (103)
-How do the border crossings of these two women expose and confront the Western centric regime of power and representation where difference is variously value coded in terms of time, space, ethnicity, and subjectivity
--> Time= the backward/past
--> Space=under developed and remote geographical areas
--> Ethnicity=the racialized/ethnicized
-All of these factors are saturated with subjective values, not neutral objective terms, they are value encoded terms
-She wants to think about how do the border crossings of the two women she talks about expose and confront a western centric regime of power and representation of difference

There are two problems that she analyzes in the essay
1) The non West's mimeticism of the west consolidates western universalism and passively participates in the colonial and neocolonial circulation of knowledge
-Universalizing western postcolonialism
2) The affective technologies of nativism and cultural nationalism produce another set of legitimizing conterdiscourses that often reproduce and replicate the very dynamics that are being opposed

The 3rd critique: Chinese, or the Limits of Chineseness
-"Nation-bound US multiculturalism has always ethnicized minority peoples as embodiments of ethnic cultures where ethnicity is displayed and commodified as the site of difference. With globalization, we increasingly see national cultures in geographical locations outside the U.S. being readily transformed into ethnic cultures" (113)
-Problem with US multiculturalism in the domestic sphere is that it assumes that US born white people share an innate culture; non US born non white people born in the US share an ethnic heritage
-Isn't tied to any history or socioeconomic background
-Ethnicity replaces history
-A cultural heritage replaces actual experiences of other political social economic places
-Specificity of difference is drained away and culture or ethnicity replaces understandings of national and geographic history and difference
-With globalization this becomes increasingly translatable to the global realm where other countries are seen not as placed within particular concrete orders but instead groups of cultures
-Limits of multiculturalism and limits of ethnicization and why they are particularly dangerous in political terms
-When Chineseness is reduced to ethnicity the infinitely complex institutional, political, ethnic, class, and gender determinations of Chineseness within China appear by one stroke of the magic ant to be homogenized
-Chinese ethnicity is conflicted with Chineseness
-All difference get reduced to one's ethnic heritage

-Shih's solution: pose an Ethics of transnational encounter beyond affect and recognition
-Ethics may be defined as that relationality beyond affect and recognition
-Wider analysis of gender positions
-Argue for a wider analysis of gender positiosn to think about gender including men not just women
-Attention to original historical, geographical, political, economic context
-Attention to other factors not just allowing ethnicity to stand in for all of those things
-Multidimensional analysis of simultaneity of loss and gain for all ideologoies from multiple and contradictory perspectives
-Min and Li with regards to Chinese women would be seen as 2 among many perspectives as opposed to competing truths about what Chinese women feel

Universal: essentialism, idea that there is one set gender binary, male or female that applies to everyone
-Sinha critiques this and wants to bring a global perspective on gender to feminism

Global: we want to build a global idea of feminism where we are keeping different meanings of gender
-"a truly global perspective on gender - rather than merely the extension of an [earlier/older] conception of gender to different parts of the globe - must give theoretical weight to the particular contexts in which it is articulated. It offers, in lieu of an already known understanding of gender, a radically open conception that derives meaning from the work it does in particular contexts."
--> different meanings of gender dependent on different contexts and locations
-"we must dare to risk the disassociation of gender from its one-dimensional modern European association with binary sexual difference."

1) Example 1: gender is so hopelessly compromised by its particular European constitutions as to have no relevance for understanding social relations in precolonial Africa
-core to African identity is seniority and social class, NOT gender. gender is a distinction like eye color but not an identity
2) Example 2: "beardless male" belonged to a different logic of gender in which the point of reference for masculinity was not femininity but an adult male masculinity
-how does the "beardless male" represent masculinity without thinking of gender?
--> age: a boy is more different from a grown man than he is different from a girl
3) Example 3: Bengali language domestic manuals
-"the genre serves precisely in the fashioning of a new masculine gender identity constructed in opposition to family elders"
-Bengali manuals were written by men (English manuals were written by women), these were written for a male audience who were trying to redefine their masculinity from the context of age to the context of the couple
4) Example 4: MSM (men who have sex with men)
-"MSM was designed to capture the multiplicity of frameworks for sexual behavior that did not fit within the standard framework of sexual orientation or gender identity"

-all of these are examples of the larger argument: "the larger point, however, is not merely the predictable one of contrasting theoretical abstractions with the immediacy of practice. It is, rather, about deriving the theoretical abstractions and the conceptual categories - in this case, the concept of gender - from the empirical material itself."
--> she wants to draw out general/theoretical concepts from particular/empirical cases, whereas feminists do the opposite
--> feminists keep folding gender back into male vs. female
-based on pity and cultural superiority of the West
-European bourgeois sympathy for the suffering of the colonized Other has historically gone hand in hand with a feeling of superiority as a sympathizer, an agent of change, and a purveyor of civilization, thereby producing "the very inequalities it decries and seeks to bridge."
--> critiquing structure of pity/sympathy: when you feel pity, you're also recognizing the difference between you and Other
-reblogging feels like action, but it's an easy REaction rather than deep political debate
- "This discourse has mobilized Western LGBTQ rights to produce a stronger distinction between a presumably tolerant, modern, and secularized West and a presumably intolerant, antimodern, and religious (Islamic) East, which underscores and feeds the emotional repertoire of anti- Muslim/Arab racism in the United States and Western Europe."

-she thinks about 3 specific emotions and what these emotions bring to politics:
1) Love
-feelings of identification with the "gay" — and therefore presumably innocent — victims seen as expressing their individuality against religious conventions
-"by pairing the claims that the youths were in love and that they were innocent, these statements imply that they could not both be in love with each other and participate in a rape of another boy."
--> sympathy is held for victims who we identify with, and identification depends on the victims' innocence (because we see ourselves as innocent), which is established by describing the teens as in love
2) Fear
-feelings of sympathetic terror for what the youths experienced at the hands of religion, resonating with many other fears articulated in both Western LGBTQ experience and the war on terror
-"Despite this explicit disassociation between the Western and Iranian con-texts, there is also an implicit resonance articulated in a fear of homophobic violence as crossing many borders."
--> LGBTQ people identifying with these boys leads to fear... "that could've been me"
-the fear encapsulated in the photographs was also generalized and amplified to be a fear experienced by all Americans, or Westerners, of what is deemed an Islamic threat
3) Disgust
-feelings of revulsion at violence that could be seen as religious in source and therefore wholly distinct from Western secular forms of violence
-While love is often expressed as a form of identification, a feeling that "that could have been me," expressions of disgust produce a strong differentiation and feeling of the superiority of the (Western) sympathizer

-Fear in turn bridges these two emotions, at times serving to intensify the identification with the victims, while at other times amplifying disgust at what is deemed a wholly foreign and horrifying violence, although one that also threatens "us" in the "civilized West."
-Therefore, through these three emotional responses, identification and differentiation with the sympathetic victim were produced in a manner that reinforced an essential civilizational difference that undergirds anti- Muslim/Arab racism.
-these photos generalized Islam and the EAST, leading to fear of what they do "over there", thus increasing cultural distinctions and fear, leading to a "war on terror" which is a war fighting what we are afraid of
-she wants to move away from the assumption that happiness is "the goal" (for both feminism and for life)
-general project of her book: "I am interested in how happiness is associated with some life choices and not others, how happiness is imagined as being what follows being a certain kind of being."
--> 1st being = "means"
--> 2nd being = "becoming", attempting to become
--> 3rd being = "a person"
--> repetition of the word being is central to her argument: the word being as performative

3 figures that she focuses on (they overlap):
1) Happy Housewife
-she doesn't care about whether or not these individual women are happy, she's interested in how this image creates job separation between genders
-classic feminist response would be that the answer is for a woman to leave the house and work
--> Ahmed critiques this because although it seems to be aimed at all women, it is really just aimed at white women, and left to make minority women do the domestic labor
-the woman who embraces the "happy housewife" and is happy to do the domestic labor: her job is not only the domestic labor, it's also to be happy while doing it
2) Feminist Killjoy
3) Angry Black Woman

-Ahmed's The Promise of Happiness (2010) "takes on the long-standing philosophical affinity for happiness in exposing ways in which the concept of happiness functions to justify oppression and to recast social norms and human goods."
-"Ahmed is not concerned with what happiness 'is' but with the kinds of cultural, phenomenological, and political work it does. She historicizes the concept, attending to the 'happiness turn' at work in popular culture and in science, arguing that 'by finding happiness in certain places, [the science of happiness] generates those places as being good, as being what should be promoted as goods' —or as 'happiness objects,' which orient us or compel us to turn toward them to generate "accumulative positive affective value as social good'."
-Ahmed argues for the space to be unhappy as a sign of political will and freedom, given that happiness is conditional to proper subjectivity and citizenship within heteronormative and multicultural societies
-The book includes the essay "Feminist Killjoys," in which Ahmed critiques the role of happiness in women's culture and the depiction of feminists as unhappy, bitter, or "killjoys" because they disrupt our ability to enjoy the things that make us happy.
-According to Ahmed, feminism is largely constructed around the fantasies of the happy housewife, which as she quotes is "a fantasy figure that erases the signs of labor under the sign of happiness."
--> This figure operates under the assumption that working for the family makes women happy and that happiness motivates the work they do.
--> This figure also conceals the domestic labor done by women of color and working class women whose work done outside of the home is not a matter of choice.
-From here, Ahmed moves through an analysis of how happiness is used to justify unequal divisions in labor and education as an orientation device to a particular type of social values to an argument about how happiness is used as a sort of boundary on gender roles.
-From there, Ahmed explicates several different philosophies of happiness, including conditionality, sociality, communities of feeling, and fellow-feeling.
-Ahmed argues that the happy housewife's "happiness" is not really about happiness but that happiness is used as an instrument as hegemony.