Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Theresa Runstedtler - The End of Gender? Not Exactly

This article was posted at The Good Men Project as part of a special series on The End of Gender - links are provided at the end of the article. Some of the other articles in the series are also quite good - but this is the one that spoke to me the most.

The End of Gender? Not Exactly

October 5, 2011 by Theresa Runstedtler

Theresa Runstedtler, on what happens when one sector of society declares the “end of gender” and the “end of men,” while another works to reinstate patriarchy and rollback women’s rights.

This piece is part of a special series on the End of Gender. This series includes bloggers from Role/Reboot, Good Men Project, The Huffington Post, Salon, HyperVocal, Ms. Magazine, YourTango, Psychology Today, Princess Free Zone, The Next Great Generation, and Man-Making.

Declaring the “end of gender” is kind of like Francis Fukuyama’s announcement of the “end of history” at the end of the cold war in 1989 – entirely premature and potentially playing into a reactionary political agenda with unintended consequences.

While pondering the impending “end of gender” is a kind of triumphalism that may seem appealing to whiteand/or middle-class people of the global North, it remains a discourse of privilege. It is not applicable for most of the world’s population, especially to women struggling to survive in the global South, many of whom face interconnected forms of economic, physical, and sexual exploitation on a daily basis. Poor and working-class women in the global North are not much better off. They also remain vulnerable to abuses of all kinds, in ways that are unique to women. This is not because poor people are somehow less enlightened about the fluid and performative nature of “gender.” It has much more to do with the fact that race and class inequalities and the expansion of neoliberal development continue to have a particularly pernicious effect on less privileged women’s quality of life.
Read the whole article.

No comments: