Feminism And The Postmodern Feminist Theory

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The evolution of feminist theory from a modern to a postmodern viewpoint stands to correct the injustices of historically liberal feminism. For some time, grand narratives have governed the ideas of self and gender from a single experience of “man”. Traditionally, modern feminism aimed to eradicate the hegemonic theory of inferiority by women to the male gender. Postmodern feminism aspires to eliminate categories of gender altogether, for the social construct of gender is considered to disregard the individual identity of the authentic self. If gender is considered a biologically performative expression, then to categorize individuals by gender would elicit ignorance in genuine conceptions of self and others. In this paper I will illustrate the postmodern feminist theory, additionally explicating Benhabib’s appreciations and criticisms of the constituents that comprise the characteristics of a postmodern feminist. The postmodern feminist aspires to not only understand the nature of gender inequality, but to also generate change against the restrictions of gender. Intertwined with the postmodern condition, a postmodern feminist views self and gender as the products of the values, norms, and discursive practices of an encumbering symbolic culture. Accordingly, the postmodern feminist denies the presence of agency in the gendered self. As Judith Butler explains, a gendered self cannot exist because it only describes the biological characteristics of the self which are not

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