Feminist and Transgender Tensions: An Inquiry into History, Methodological Paradigms, and Embodiment
When we carry out analyses of gender and embodiment, the paradigms we employ can determine our outcomes—often in exclusive ways. While many feminists have demonstrated that philosophical paradigms can contain masculine or normative bias, Vivane Namaste has criticized gender theorists in a similar way: By abstracting the question of “gender” from economic and social factors, theorists have neglected essential aspects of transgender experience. Building upon Namaste’s insight, I wish to examine four paradigms that have been employed to analyze gender and embodiment: sex/gender, queer, phenomenology, and transfeminism. While doing so, I will indicate how the limitations of certain methods affect their analyses, especially in light of transgender experience, and how engaging two or more approaches together could offset the shortcomings of each taken alone.
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