feminism and standpoint
the most striking categories or patterns to emerge from my reading in feminist standpoint, lately, are the concepts of dualism and the Self. the reason i choose to focus, here, on two of these is because they are inexplicably interlocked and, as Sandra Harding states in her introduction to The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader, “claims of any sort only have meaning in some particular cultural context – that is, relative to some set of cultural practices through which the meaning of the claim is learned and subsequently understood. claims thus have meaning ‘relative’ to that context of practices” (Harding, 2004). what is the Self, if not a claim to being – a grand declaration? if, as Harding states, all claims are “necessarily socially located…and thus permeated by local values and interests” (Harding, 2004), then the Self, for females (and males), is always already located within a hetero-patriarchal framework that doesn’t allow for an “adequate representation of the world from the standpoint of women [or men]” (Allison Jaggar, 1983). Continue reading
(Source: Canadian2006 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0/r GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons.
Our own Cliff Leek has recently
talked about the tension, struggles and challenges of being an ally to movements of the marginalized. Those of us located on the ‘privilege’ side of different axes of inequality and oppression (like race, class and gender) face the challenge of how to become (and stay) active and effective allies without reinforcing the very inequalities we are trying to fight, and trying to speak truth to power without claiming to speak for
the movements we are aligned with. As Mia McKenzie points out in her critique of the term ‘ally’
: “actions count; labels don’t”. In other words: We don’t become ‘allies’ just by some act of will or by declaring us as such. Instead, being
an ally means a continuous process of becoming
one. This call for action and constant reflection has, of course, implications for those of us who are male-identified but teach about gender in the classroom. We face unique challenges that we need to find pedagogical answers to if we are to stay true our feminist and anti-racist commitments.