New Philosophy

Feminist Philosophy

How have second wave feminists addressed gender?

They have criticized the social norm of “compulsive heterosexuality,” on the grounds that the human sex-gender system is a system of power that benefits men at the expense of women. Some of this work has consisted of the “deconstruction” of gender as natural and a valorization of love between women. Judith Butler, the Professor of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, has challenged “heteronormativity” in Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (2000) and Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1999). Butler is famous for her deconstruction of gender into performances of gender. Sara Lucia Hoagland, in Lesbian Ethics: Toward a New Value (1988), and Marilyn Frye in The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory (1983), developed foundational views of this perspective.


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