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Gendering Animals

Meynell, Letitia and Lopez, Andrew (2020) Gendering Animals. [Preprint]

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In this paper, we argue that there are good, scientifically credible reasons for thinking that some nonhuman animals might have genders. We begin by considering why the sex/gender distinction has been important for feminist politics yet has also been difficult to maintain. We contrast contemporary views that trouble gender with those typical of traditional sex difference research, which has enjoyed considerable feminist critique, and argue that the anthropocentric focus of feminist accounts of gender weakens these critiques. Then, drawing from Jordan-Young’s concept of gendered norms of reaction (2010) and van Anders’ Sexual Configurations Theory (2015), we consider what it might mean to say that animals other than humans are gendered in a scientifically robust sense that does not simply reduce gender to sex or project human gender norms onto other animals. It is important that such an account is not only sensitive to its political ramifications for feminist and queer politics but is also sensitive to the ways in which troubling the human-nonhuman animal divide may seem to threaten those humans whose oppression is constituted by dehumanization and animalization. We suggest that, in fact, the contrary is true. We find that decolonial feminists have plausibly argued that animalizing oppression is premised on the human-animal divide and that the idea of nonhuman animal genders fits naturally with some traditional Indigenous ways of thinking about other animals and their relations with humans.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: Nonhuman Animal Gender; Sex-Gender Distinction; Feminism; Human-Animal Divide; Sexual Configurations Theory; Culture
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Depositing User: Dr. Letitia Meynell
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2020 18:58
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2020 18:58
Item ID: 18475
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Date: 2020

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