2020 — Resource Essay

Shulamith Firestone: Xenofeminist Before Her Time?

Victoria Margree

The Mantle

But what if Firestone was simply too far ahead of her time? With the recent emergence of xenofeminism as a feminism that affirms the potential of technology to open up a radical future, we have a new feminist theoretical framework that shares many of the coordinates of Firestone’s work. While The Xenofeminist Manifesto, first published online in 2015 by the Laboria Cuboniks collective makes no reference to The Dialectic of Sex, founding member Helen Hester’s recent book Xenofeminism is explicit in its acknowledgment of Firestone’s influence.2 Hester’s iteration of xenofeminism develops three key themes from the collective’s original manifesto – technomaterialism, anti-naturalism, and gender abolitionism – and draws upon The Dialectic of Sex in relation to each.3 Xenofeminism’s affirmation of the alien, in the sense of the non-natural and non-familial, would surely have been welcomed by Firestone, whose embrace of technology had always been motivated by her profound anti-naturalism and her desire to disrupt the biological family.