“In order to liberate women as a class, we must be able to describe women as a class.”
There’s an interesting passage on the use of labels to define political classes in trans activist Julia Serano’s book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive – interesting, because while Serano rejects any definition of “woman” that she considers “essentialist” (i.e. that relates to human females rather than to a sense of individual identity), what she writes about the word “queer” actually tells us very clearly why we need words that describe the position accorded to groups in the social hierarchy based on politically pertinent traits held in common.
“One might ask: ‘If some people don’t identify with the word queer, why not use a different word entirely? Well for one thing there is about a twenty-year-long history of people using the word ‘queer’ in this way. And even if I were to invent a completely different word to describe this same group of people, there will always be…
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