AN ANALYSIS OF “RETHINKING SEX AND GENDER” (Christine Delphy) ~Saswati Subhra Das
About the author
Christine Delphy (b. 1941) is a feminist, activist, sociologist,writer and theorist of French origin. She was an active participant of the Women's Movement(Mouvement de Libération des Femmes called MLF). She challenged the law of the French Government in 2004 , which forbid Muslim girls to wear hijab in schools. She was the proponent of Material Feminism. Along with Simone de Beauvoir, she co-founded the Nouvelles questions feministes(New Feminist Issues) in 1977.She was the proponent of Material Feminism, which is a radical perspective of socialist feminism, linking a materialist approach to gender relations.She thus argues that, patriarchy and not capitalism, is the root cause of women's oppression.
Highlights of the paper
The misconception that, sex precedes gender complicates our understanding about the whole issue. We have to think beyond the binaries- be it sex or gender and identify the multiple possibilities, freedom & space to do so. Delphy continuously emphasises that , just like “gender” , “sex” is also a social construct and that sex is a gendered category, which has been created to retain the gender hierarchy. She stresses that, just like- being masculine or feminine are determined socially, so also, being male or female is also determined socially. It is because the whole world can't be divided into 2 sexes on the basis of the principle of complementarity. It rather creates some kind of hierarchy among the class of beings. It creates two classes-one which is dominating and the other, which is dominated. One which is aggressive and assertive, while the other is gentle , docile and submissive. She says that gender precedes sex and is used to legitimise the division and hierarchy between the sexes.
Margaret Mead had conducted an anthropological study, named ' Sex and temperament' on three different...
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