Women of the Patriarchy

“Essentialism” – RANCOM!

“Those radfems and their essentialist nonsense.” – Various, numerous transgenderists.

The first time I heard this, I was puzzled because, well, radical feminists aren’t essentialists. The entire position of radical feminism is based on an analysis of the ways in which society, and the structures and systems in it, create and perpetuate gender roles and the oppression of women. It’s almost the definition of anti-essentialism because it identifies people, not biology, as the creators of differences between men and women. Radical feminists are the archetypal social constructivists.

When I originally came across the claim that radical feminists were essentialists, I thought it was a mistake, and so I explained it to the person who said it. But then I heard it again. And again. And again.

Feminists and trans theorists alike know “essentialism” to be a bad word.  It has heavy ties to biotruths and evolutionary psych…

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