By Kristan Poirot
By means of the mid-1990s feminist theorists and critics started to problem traditional pondering intercourse distinction and its courting to gender and sexuality. students resembling Anne Fausto-Sterling and Judith Butler bothered the sex-gender/nature-nurture divide. a few have asserted that those questions on intercourse are a lot too summary to give a contribution to a helpful realizing of the cloth politics confronted by means of feminist activities. In a question of intercourse, Kristan Poirot demanding situations this assumption and demonstrates that modern theories approximately intercourse, gender, id, and distinction compel a rethinking of the historical past of feminist pursuits and their rhetorical practices. Poirot specializes in 5 case stories -- the flow of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" in early and modern feminist contexts; the visible rhetorics of the feminist self-help well-being move; the general public discourse of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and early nineteenth-century principles approximately suffrage, intercourse, and race; the conflicts over lesbian sexuality within the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies; and the discourse that surrounds twenty-first-century SlutWalks. within the procedure, Poirot rethinks the phrases in which we comprehend U.S. feminist hobbies to discover the methods feminism has wondered sexed differences and practices through the years. She emphasizes the significance of studying feminist engagements with intercourse as rhetorical endeavors -- practices which are formed via the instrumental calls for of activities, the exigent occasions that decision for feminists to reply, and the long-lasting philosophical traditions that move in U.S. political contexts.
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Additional info for A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences That Matter
Moreover, it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate the cult of true womanhood from biological notions of sexual difference. As I will discuss in more detail later, ideas of two distinct biological sexes worked hand in hand with the same nineteenth-century separate sphere arguments in which the cult of true womanhood was enmeshed. The emphasis on purity, submissiveness, and domesticity was directly tied to the anatomy of reproduction, for example, grounding gendered womanhood in biologically sexed distinctions.
4 In these critiques, scholars have suggested that the once widely accepted transcript of the speech, the one offered by the convention’s presiding officer, Frances Dana Gage, in 1863 (twelve years after the speech), is inaccurate and reflective of a Southern slave caricature, not of the “real” Sojourner Truth. In fact, the most inaccurate portion of the speech is believed to be the question by which it is so readily remembered today. Marius Robinson’s transcript was arguably the most accurate account, and it was published shortly after the convention in the Anti-Slavery Bugle.
In short, SlutWalks highlight the ways in which perceptions of feminism’s past operate in public evaluations and judgments of current feminist practice. In this case, the compulsion to ground feminism in the sexed specificity of the female body-aswe-know-it eclipses the way SlutWalks attempt to subvert such grounding. Like Sojourner Truth’s question, in other words, those who debate the value of SlutWalks forget to attend to the questions of sex that feminist rhetoric is consistently provoking.