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One Is Born A Woman Essay

1976 words - 8 pages

For as long as humanity has existed, or anthropologically speaking Homo Sapien Sapien, it is intuitive to accept male and female must also exist. Anatomically it is apparent the human species is not asexual, and thus the different sexes must necessarily serve some purpose. Strictly speaking that purpose would be procreative, barring all notions of interpersonal communication bringing such emotions as love, happiness and belonging. In a scientific Darwinian fashion two sexes are necessary not only to perpetuate the species, but also to negate a "monoculture" of sorts and create the crucial adaptability needed to survive. However, it doesn't take science to explain, or solidify, the existence of two sexes; rather it is physically evident that two sexes exist - male and female. Yet the natural notion of two sexes which is taken as a given in recent years has come under scrutiny. In the school of Social Constructionist thought the pervading idea is, all perceived relations between the individual and the external world are a product of the social milieu. Monique Wittig argues dogmatically this very ideal in her essay One Is Not Born A Woman. Wittig is a Material Feminist; consequently she analyzes the definition of what a woman is, and tries to move away from the notion of naturalness in women. She concedes there is no naturalness in male or female, rather the notion of sex is a gross misrepresentation created by the social milieu. Subsequently she argues for a type of class uprising to free "women" from this oppressive label, and likens it to the Marxist idea of the proletariat rebellion against the bourgeois class. Wittig in her reasoning pushes the limits of what can be conceivable and thus becomes absurd in her conclusion, there is nothing natural to a woman - even sex. By virtue of her absurdity Wittig's paper faces a conceptual problem, and has an inherent personal bias that has affected the forcefulness of the paper.Before any elucidation as to the exact argument Wittig sets forth a distinction must first be made clear. According to Wittig there is a fundamental problem between "woman" and "women." "Woman" is a myth, and is consequently the product of a social construction where economic, political and ideological forces are at work. These numerous factors create the category "woman" and thus affect the minds and psyches of "women." The label creates a sense of totality that negates the individualistic nature of the "women." There is a process of socialization which individuals go through; from the moment a child is born there are numerous social influences placed on the child. Historically boys are taught to be aggressive and girls to be passive. Even in the earlier part of this century there was the conception "women" had a particular place in the household and workplace. Thus Wittig wants to argue "woman" is a mythic social construction, creating an oppressive category which the individual "women" has no room to maneuver in the social...

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