By Kristan Poirot
By way of the mid-1990s feminist theorists and critics started to problem traditional considering intercourse distinction and its dating to gender and sexuality. students equivalent to Anne Fausto-Sterling and Judith Butler afflicted the sex-gender/nature-nurture divide. a few have asserted that those questions about intercourse are a lot too summary to give a contribution to a precious figuring out of the fabric politics confronted via feminist hobbies. In a query of intercourse, Kristan Poirot demanding situations this assumption and demonstrates that modern theories approximately intercourse, gender, identification, and distinction compel a rethinking of the background of feminist routine and their rhetorical practices. Poirot makes a speciality of 5 case reports -- the movement of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" in early and modern feminist contexts; the visible rhetorics of the feminist self-help overall healthiness circulate; 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 Sixties and Nineteen Seventies; and the discourse that surrounds twenty-first-century SlutWalks. within the technique, Poirot rethinks the phrases during which we comprehend U.S. feminist activities to discover the methods feminism has wondered sexed differences and practices through the years. She emphasizes the significance of analyzing feminist engagements with intercourse as rhetorical endeavors -- practices which are formed through the instrumental calls for of hobbies, the exigent occasions that decision for feminists to reply, and the long-lasting philosophical traditions that movement in U.S. political contexts.
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Extra info for A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences That Matter
After all, part of Zackodnik’s criticism of white uses of Truth is that these are emblematic of a pattern of deferral and dismissal of black women. Although this history is important, and anxiety about exclusion, I believe, can be productive, if we take Butler and Nealon seriously, we may also begin to resist this compulsive, anxiety-ridden impulse to name, find, and recognize the other. If we do so, another kind of engagement with Truth and her question can emerge—an engagement that keeps in its sight a reflection of the way Truth is perpetually articulated in terms of the rhetorical aims of various authors, as well as the way these articulations foreclose who Truth is from the start.
And a’n’t I a woman?  I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear de lash as well! 50 Reading these three couplings, one gets the sense that women are both weak and respected, incapable of working like men or performing simple tasks like getting into a carriage. Except for these qualities, we are not to know what makes a woman a woman from these first lines alone. If one answers Truth’s question, then, other assumptions about womanhood must be read into the interpretation of Gage’s text.
As Butler famously puts it: “Bodies that matter is not an idle pun, for to be material means to materialize, where the principle of materialization is precisely what ‘matters’ about the body, its very intelligibility. ’ ”42 We might say that “sex” is not so much a (static) condition as an organizing principle of a number of practices that circumscribe (aspects of) bodies and import their significance into the larger cultural contexts. Simply put, sex communicates what matters about the body; it does not simply represent the body-as-matter.
A Question of Sex: Feminism, Rhetoric, and Differences That Matter by Kristan Poirot