Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures by M. Jacqui Alexander, Chandra Talpade Mohanty

By M. Jacqui Alexander, Chandra Talpade Mohanty

Feminist Geneaologies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures offers a feminist anaylsis of the questions of sexual and gender politics, fiscal and cultural marginality, and anti-racist and anti-colonial practices either within the "West" and within the "Third World." This assortment, edited by means of Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty, charts the underlying theoretical views and association practices of the various forms of feminism that tackle questions of colonialism, imperialism, and the repressive rule of colonial, post-colonial and complicated capitalist realms. It presents a comparative, relational, traditionally grounded notion of feminist praxis that differs markedly from the liberal pluralist, multicultural knowing that sheapes the various dominant model of Euro-American feminism. As a complete, the gathering poses a distinct problem to the naturalization of gender established within the reviews, histories and practices of Euro-American girls.

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The essentialist construction of sexuality is not solely about biology, and the other facets of an essential sexuality – moral and mental wellbeing – have not been displaced. A ‘health’or ‘needs’discourse may allow ‘perverse’people to join in the game, but the ultimate aims of the game are the same. After all, anything apart from penetration, while it may be fun and good for you, is still only fore-play. Heterosexuals are still the only truly biologically legitimate type. The most striking and depressing example of this understanding of sexuality was the reaction to the AIDS epidemic in Britain and the USA.

Centuries of thought have characterised humans as split between the mind and the body, with the body regarded as a complex physical mechanism. Anatomy was thought to dictate behaviour and impulses to behaviour were thus understood as the need to achieve a ‘natural’ balance within the body. This dualist view was conceptualised most thoroughly by the philosopher Descartes in the seventeenth century (1986). Physical urges were understood as bodily needs that had to be fulfilled. The concept of lust or desire was similarly understood as a bodily need and thus explained by anatomical reasoning.

Furthermore, the variety and frequency of the sexual behaviour of these men is not known, nor is there any information about their general lifestyles. This lack of information could be taken to suggest that the actual behaviour of these men is less important than the fact that they have identified as gay. Of course, LeVay is assuming that that self or medically labelled identities can be equated with a particular type of behaviour but he presents no evidence to support this. The central flaw in this and similar research is that it accepts the social framework of gender divisions and sexual identities without question, particularly that aspect which assumes that sexuality is divided rigidly by gender, eternally and exclusively focused on one gendered object or the other.

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