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Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism (2021)

por Kathleen Stock

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1666161,860 (4.08)15
Material Girls is a timely and trenchant critique of the influential theory that we all have an inner feeling about our sex, known as a gender identity, and that this feeling is more socially significant than our biological sex. Professor Kathleen Stock surveys the philosophical ideas that led to this point, and closely interrogates each one, from De Beauvoir's statement that, 'One is not born, but rather becomes a woman' (an assertion she contends has been misinterpreted and repurposed), to Judith Butler's claim that language creates biological reality, rather than describing it. She looks at biological sex in a range of important contexts, including women-only spaces and resources, healthcare, epidemiology, political organization and data collection. Material Girls makes a clear, humane and feminist case for our retaining the ability to discuss reality, and concludes with a positive vision for the future, in which trans rights activists and feminists can collaborate to achieve some of their political aims.… (mais)
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“So: it follows from the logic of [Judith] Butler’s worldview [social constructionism] not only that there are not two naturally pre-given, stable biological sexes, but also that there are no pre-given facts about natural selection. There is no sexual reproduction. There are no pre-given chemical elements or biological species. There is no climate change, at least not as commonly understood. There are no molecules, atoms, or quarks. There are no viruses and no bacteria; no successful drugs nor placebos. … ” (p63)

No wonder social constructionism is so appealing: knowledge doesn’t matter; learning about anything is useless—don’t bother.

“And an advertisement for the American Mariposa Health clinic, which provides ‘gender-affirming hormone therapy, from anywhere’, exhorts prospective clients to ‘Live your authentic life’. (p113)

Imagine that slogan for Prozac: live your authentic life.

“In this context, treating males with female gender identities as women in every possible context … sends a contemptuously dismissive message to women already conscious of unequal treatment of their interests. This messages says: the interests of males with female gender identities are more important than yours.” (p160)

Yeah.

“As trans scholar Jack (then Judith) Halberstam wrote in 1998: ‘If adolescence for boys represents a rite of passage … and an ascension to some version (however attenuated) of social power, for girls, adolescence is a lesson in restraint, punishment, and repression.'” (p192).

Indeed. (And no wonder girls don’t want to be girls.)

“A 2015 survey found the average sixteen-to twenty-five-year-old woman spends over five hours a week taking selfies.” (p233)

Seriously? We used to call such women airheads. ( )
  ptittle | Apr 21, 2023 |
Solidly researched and solidly argued, the book looks at the current trans trend and the impact it is having on women. The author details the ways in which feminism is failing women by insisting feminism is for everyone, not just women. She discusses many incidents that have occurred within the past few years as men transition and make their way into women's shelters, women's prisons, women's sports, and other formerly women-only spaces. There are areas of the book where I disagree with the author, but since I never expect to agree with anyone 100%, and since I am a mature professional woman, I will deal with my disagreements in ways that do not include sending her threatening emails or making her quit her job. Yes, the author has suffered immensely from writing this book; her bravery is as powerful as her research and her writing. ( )
  Devil_llama | Sep 1, 2022 |
Simply excellent. Very complimentary to Helen Joyce's Trans and Abigail Shrier's Irreversible Damage. Ideally, all three should be read in conjunction with each other. ( )
2 vote malcrf | Jan 7, 2022 |
Stock is a British academic, a philosopher from outside the gender studies field. She is not beholden to gender studies orthodoxies, and applies her own rigorous analyses to theories of gender identity, examines the evidence for and against, and clearly explains the relevant concepts. I recommend it highly. ( )
  pamelad | Dec 11, 2021 |
A thought-provoking examination of biological sex and gender identity. ( )
  SChant | Jun 11, 2021 |
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Material Girls is a timely and trenchant critique of the influential theory that we all have an inner feeling about our sex, known as a gender identity, and that this feeling is more socially significant than our biological sex. Professor Kathleen Stock surveys the philosophical ideas that led to this point, and closely interrogates each one, from De Beauvoir's statement that, 'One is not born, but rather becomes a woman' (an assertion she contends has been misinterpreted and repurposed), to Judith Butler's claim that language creates biological reality, rather than describing it. She looks at biological sex in a range of important contexts, including women-only spaces and resources, healthcare, epidemiology, political organization and data collection. Material Girls makes a clear, humane and feminist case for our retaining the ability to discuss reality, and concludes with a positive vision for the future, in which trans rights activists and feminists can collaborate to achieve some of their political aims.

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