ADVANTAGES

The various critiques of the sex/gender distinction have called intoquestion the viability of the category women. Feminism is themovement to end the oppression women as a group face. But, how shouldthe category of women be understood if feminists accept the abovearguments that gender construction is not uniform, that a sharpdistinction between biological sex and social gender is false or (atleast) not useful, and that various features associated with womenplay a role in what it is to be a woman, none of which areindividually necessary and jointly sufficient (like a variety ofsocial roles, positions, behaviours, traits, bodily features andexperiences)? Feminists must be able to address cultural and socialdifferences in gender construction if feminism is to be a genuinelyinclusive movement and be careful not to posit commonalities that maskimportant ways in which women qua women differ. Theseconcerns (among others) have generated a situation where (as LindaAlcoff puts it) feminists aim to speak and make political demands inthe name of women, at the same time rejecting the idea that there is aunified category of women (2006, 152). If feminist critiques of thecategory women are successful, then what (if anything) bindswomen together, what is it to be a woman, and what kinds of demandscan feminists make on behalf of women?

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