Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Trouble With "Normal"

In our discussion last week on Feminism we addressed the issue of defining a human being as a man, and defining a man as having a penis, therefore leaving the definition of woman as dependent on man, and relying on a lack of something (namely, a particular sex organ). Initially this reminded me of the issue of gender expectations, in that assigning particular characteristics to each gender, and then implying that a particular characteristic is superior to another is where the issue lies. The video below definitely communicates this issue better than I do:

Furthermore, our discussion on the issue of women fighting for equality, or rather, to be treated as a man - but even this presents an issue, as it implies that man is superior. Women tend to attempt to identify with men in order to escape the oppression of their gender. This aspect of the issue drew my mind to the problem of "normal," best discussed, perhaps, by Michael Warner in his work, The Trouble With Normal. In this piece, Warner discusses an issue that I feel to be very similar to the issue faced by feminists - Warner asserts that the fight for the right to marry by Queer rights activists is counterproductive. His argument is that this fight for marriage suggests that marriage, the normal/standard, is also the correct way; therefore, those that decide not to marry or that partake in a different sort of relationship are wrong. In the end, there is still an inferior. 
I feel this connects in that, if strong women fight to be treated like men, they are still giving a superiority to males and suggesting that women are indeed inferior. 


  1. Regarding the feminism discussion last week, I agree with your opinions, especially your last claim. I remember someone bringing up the fact that 'feminism isn't really a thing anymore'. I feel like this is because now it has gotten to a point that feminist rights are widely achieved and by further emphasizing feminism will also emphasize the fact that women are inferior even in the world today. (Does that make sense?) In modern society like ours, man and woman are considered to be equal. I remember reading somewhere that, nowadays, if we further stress on the topic of feminism will lead to assumptions like women are actually trying to be better than men instead of equal to men. I found this quite interesting.

  2. I've heard Warner's argument before about how fighting for marriage rights for the LGBT community reifies the importance of marriage. The problem with this argument, however, is that marriage is not merely a cultural institution, but also a legal institution to which numerous rights and privileges are attached.


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