Retrieving Experience- Enakshi Roy

Creating the base…

Postmodernist Feminism: Postmodern Feminists accept the male/female binary as a main categorizing force in our society. Following Simone de Beauvoir, they see female as having being cast into the role of the ‘Other’. They criticize the structure of society and the dominant order, especially in its patriarchal aspects. Postmodern Feminism is the ultimate acceptor of diversity. Multiple truths, multiple roles, multiple realities are part of its focus.

Simone De Beauvoir’s take- Questioned the place of societal expectations in individual’s lives: Do we really all have complete freedom? Simone De Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, said that we are all brought up in a world defined by men, where women are defined as “Other” or not normal (maleness being the norm). “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman.” According to de Beauvoir, no woman in this society can act outside of this constriction.

Where Sonia Kruks’ comes in? Draws on the original work of De Beauvoir and makes her theories more accessible to the people and considers De Beauvoir’s work as “profoundly original and significant” contribution to political thinking. The ambiguity referred to in the title here is crucial, used throughout the book to bring attention to the “paradoxes and necessary failures of action” in which it results. As such, the word’s original meaning – the ability of something to be interpreted in two or more equally reasonable ways – bears repeating: in Beauvoir’s understanding, this idea is applied both to an action, which can have, presumably, as many legitimate ‘meanings’ as there are people to interpret it. The notion of retrieving experience here refers to the idea of construction gender socially as one experience it. Also here in comes in her arguments based on the theory of phenomenology where once again the experience of being becomes important. We can draw on Kruk’s to analyze some of the earlier readings in this class, such as shame and happiness, even the idea of gender as it relates to one’s home.

Questions:

  • Do we still think as gender in terms of binary? With the LGBT movements are some of these lines getting erased?
  • For women, is “choice” itself a notion that is male construct?
  • We read Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders, and now we have read this text which draws on French ideologies. Is gender somewhere constructed along the lines of a nation-state?
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