chapter  5
17 Pages

Women and men as theoretical categories

This chapter examines the characteristic ways that feminist theorists have influentially argued against the use of 'women' as a category of analysis, on the grounds that it implies ethnocentrism, essentialism and so on. Intersectionality is a theoretical perspective, method and concept that has recently gained an immense influence among feminist theorists. There are also theoretical tendencies accounting for the antithetical relationship between intersectional and 'regular' feminism. The realness of biological sex explains why the categories of women and men have existed in all known societies. The notion of women and men as real does not depend on an embracement of a pre-discursive ontology of sex though. The chapter shows how, from a critical realist perspective, one might think of the category 'women' - and concordantly 'men' - as real, without the implications of essentialism, homogenization or ethnocentrism. Conceptualizing women as those who occupy the position as woman is very different from reifying, homogenizing and essentializing accounts of women.