For in-text citations we will use this recipe:“These are some example words as might be quoted by a student of philosophy” (Author’s Last Name Most Recent Copyright Date of the actual Text you are referencing, page number again from the actual text you are referencing). i.e. “But enough. It is now time to leave—for me to die, and for you to live–though which of us has the better destiny is unclear to everyone, save only to God” (Plato 2011, 50). This is a reference to our class’s textbook so notice it is that copyright date and that page. Think of these citations as breadcrumbs that can lead your reader to the exact quote in the exact book so they can read more if they so choose.
This assignment is going to be a bit different than what we have done in the past as it will involve trying to put yourself into the headspace or mindset of another classmate.
We have two (2) texts for this module on feminist theory and epistemologies. We have the French existential feminist philosopher Simone De Beauvoir whose introduction to the The Second Sex asks us to take a critical look at what society claims, demands, and promulgates that a woman is. We are introduced to a concept of gender as possibly being different than sex. We are provided with an idea that biology might be different than the socialization or social construction involved in performing a gender or being gendered. Her thoughts center around notions of freedom and the opposite, what is named by her (and also written about by Jean Paul Sartre) as acting in “bad faith”. We often avoid our freedom by giving our choices to others. We treat ourselves (like we might poorly treat others) as objects rather than being authentic and participating in our own expansive transformative growth. Beauvoir provocatively then suggests that one is not born a woman but rather becomes one.
Maria Lugones and Elizabeth Spelman provide an overview and critique of feminist theories and the practices born of them. They expose the difficulties of theorizing for a broad array of women as though there might be some one-size-fits-all way of talking about the lives of women. They connect this historical difficulty in a delightful way to their own working relationship as being a Latina and a white/Anglo woman. Through their discussion we are given a retelling of the ongoing disappointment, not only of women often not being allowed a place to speak from, but of women of color finding that even in such spaces their voices are often stifled. Feminism historically (in America) was the feminism of middle to upperclass white women and there have of course been movements (even within the movement that is the shared and constant struggle against the patriarchy: Feminism) to create caring “friendships” that foster growth within and across race and class divisions. Perhaps the most striking theory developed in recognition of both opposition and oppression is that outsiders in any system will often understand the workings of said system better than those who more comfortably reside in it. Consider the the butler of a good sized manor. Consider how much more he would know about the house and even those that reside in it, due not only to his many movements and interactions but also due to his invisibility as caused by their general indifference toward him. To think of it another way: how often have you found that someone learning your language knows the particulars of the rules better than you? How often have you found that an outsider knows your nation’s history or geography better than you? Might it be fair to say that those who live outside the law have a better understanding of it than those who blissfully live within it?
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