"This week's Sunday Review section of the New York Times has as its headline article an opinion piece by feminist academic and film director Dr. Elinor Burkett, entitled "What Makes a Woman?" The tagline summarizing the post is "There is a collision course between feminists and transgender activists." This of course frames trans activists as antifeminists, making it clear at once that this piece is a manifesto of trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or TERF, ideology. It's written with a sympathetic tone, and Burkett positions herself as someone who wants to support trans people. She claims she just can't because we are seeking to undo the hard work she and other feminists of her generation have done. "
In our current cultural climate of feminist-defining and not-feminist-enough shaming, Roxane Gay’s ownership of the title is a tongue-in-cheek revolt, to powerful effect. “Bad feminist” is a way for her to claim the title of feminist while distancing herself from the essentialism that she feels has never represented her, that has at times even rejected her. As Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has said, “There’s the idea of feminism as a party that’s very exclusive, and some people don’t get to go.” The exclusivity is based on the idea that there exists “one true feminism to dominate all of womankind,” as Gay puts it—a kind of independence to the point of invulnerability, a heterosexual, white, middle to upper middle class, pink-hating Feminism with a capital F.
"Is gender theory relevant to undergraduate students? Skeptics have long dismissed theory’s intellectual import largely on the basis of style. In the 90s, Gayatri Spivak, Judith Butler, and Homi Bhabha were scrutinized for their “pretentiously opaque” prose, “bad writing,” and “indecipherable jargon” respectively. Of course not all scholars are equally subject to these sorts of critiques. As Butler noted in her response, “The targets … have been restricted to scholars on the left whose work focuses on topics like sexuality, race, nationalism and the workings of capitalism.” Refuting similar critiques in regard to queer theory, Michael Warner has recently asserted that “the attack on difficult style has often been a means to reassert the very standards of common sense that queer theory rightly challenged.”"
THEY were, to a man, men. All were white; all in their 40s or thereabouts; most had dark hair. It was the mid-1990s, and I was interviewing at The Washington Post for the job of managing editor of the Sunday magazine. A morning of intimidating meetings with newsroom officials had given way to lunch with the magazine’s editors and elite staff writers.
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