Study Guide

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity - Chapter 1, Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire, Section IV, Theorizing the Binary, The Unitary, and Beyond Summary & Analysis

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Beauvoir and Irigaray disagree about how gender asymmetry is generated. Beauvoir believes it lies in a failure of reciprocity in an asymmetrical dialogue, whereas Irigaray argues that the dialogue itself is a manifestation of masculinism. Butler leans more towards Irigaray, holding that feminists ought to critique in a more totalizing way, including criticism of themselves.

It turns out that present-day feminist debates about the essentialism of sex and gender raises the question of how universal feminine identity is in a variety of ways, but some attempts to form political coalitions of women without assuming what a 'woman' is have been made. One cannot insist that the unity of a coalition requires a totalizing set of identity definitions because this will in fact undermine solidarity and representation. Unity is not necessary for political action to...

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This section contains 219 words
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