Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Legacy and Respect: The Usefulness of Feminism Essay -- Gender Sexuali

Legacy and Respect: The Usefulness of Feminism In a letter to students who participate in Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges' bi-college Feminist and Gender Studies department, Head of the Department Anne Dalke outlined an argument in favor of changing the program's name. She wrote, "Our argument for re-naming the F&GS program "Gender and Sexuality" is based on 3 claims: 1. that it will be enticing for prospective and current students and faculty, because it names their personal and intellectual interests and investments (while avoiding the word "feminism," which is off-putting to a large range of individuals) 2. that it accurately represents the current state of scholarship in the field 3. that it accurately names--and invites exploration of--where the interesting questions lie." At the date in which this statement was composed last April, I probably would have agreed with its relevancy and reasoning. I no longer accept this line of thinking, however, due to my education and involvement in Anne's co-taught class I am taking this semester, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender. It is ironic that I began my study of gender four years ago as a freshman vehemently against feminism, and only now as a senior taking the only class required for every major or concentrator in that field have I come to appreciate the legacy and usefulness of feminism as a theory of practice and of education. My original concepts of feminism were that it was a theory that denounced men and elevated women beyond a fair or equitable place in society. I recognize now the stereotyping that I inadvertently allowed myself to feel. "Equating feminist struggle with living in a counter-cultural, woman-centered world erected barriers that closed... ...of a more perfect understanding. Works Cited Dalke, Anne. "Re-Naming the Feminist & Gender Studies Concentration: An Account of the Past Process of Deliberation--and a Sketch Towards the Future." CAP doc. April 14, 2004 Fuss, Diana. "Inside/Out." Critical Encounters: Reference and Responsibility in Deconstructive Writing. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995. 233-240. hooks, bell. "Feminism: A Movement to End Sexist Oppression." Feminist Theory Reader. Ed. Caroline McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim. New York: Routledge. 2003, 50-57. Johnson, Allan G. The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal Legacy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. 1997. Rubin, Gail. "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality." American Feminist Thought at Century's End : A Reader. Ed. Linda S. Kauffman Cambridge, Ma : Blackwell, 1993. 3-64.

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