Question of Will - Transcript
Question of Will II (Event)
Helen Hester: One key element of this perspective, and the final characteristic I wish to draw your attention to, is XF’s agitation for the abolition of the binary gender system. In the manifesto, we argue that the project is gender abolitionist, but this description is perhaps a little bit misleading. First of all, it does not explicitly encompass the full scope of our ambitions. It is not just gender that we seek to dismantle, but any structures that come to act as frequently naturalized and, thus rigidified, bases of oppression. We believe that traits associated not just with gender, but also with race, class, able-bodiedness, and so on, are unevenly loaded with social stigma and often contribute to cultures of inequality. Although the current political value of mobilizing around these categories does need to be acknowledged, XF argues that, in the longer term, the full range of these traits should be stripped of their social significance and therefore of their ability to act as vectors of discrimination. In short, the project seeks to unpick any culturally-weaponized markers of identity that harbor injustices. Secondly, the phrase “gender abolitionism” is somewhat tricky, as it risks coming across as a demand for the paring back of gender – a demand for difference in itself to be abolished. That’s not what we’re advocating for at all. If anything, it is the restrictions upon gendered identities that we want to see scrapped; the tenacious binary thinking that continues to funnel identities into male and female, feminine and masculine, despite the obvious paucity of this model. XF is gender-abolitionist in the sense that we reject the validity of any social order anchored in identities as a basis of oppression, and in the sense that we embrace sexual diversity beyond any binary. We advocate for the system of gender difference to be abolished via the proliferation of gender differences, if that makes sense; and the role of will within this project is something we may wish to discuss further as we move forwards. So, my version of xenofeminism is a techno-materialist, anti-naturalist, gender-abolitionist species of feminism.
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