The cognitive differences between men and women
In feminist literary theory, there are two basic schools of thought regarding the nature of women. These play out the tensions of Simone de Beauvoir’s distinction between sex and gender in The Second Sex.
On the one hand, there are the essentialist feminists. These theorists will focus on the irreducible way in which being female relates to reality, in contradistinction to the way it does for being male. Their sole emphasis is on sex.
On the other hand, there are the constructivist feminists. Theorists from this camp will focus on what de Beauvoir called ‘gender’, regarding there to be no fundamental female nature at all. Their sole emphasis is upon gender either as a construct or a performance.
The latter school have grown in dominance in the humanities at the same time the scientific community has been establishing there is no foundation for being anti-foundationalist.
“Over the past 15 years or so, there’s been a sea change as new technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work.” This matches the findings of other scientific studies of the clear binary distinctions between the two sexes.
Despite that fact, the triumph of the constructivist feminist camp within literary theory has had the effect of promoting the posthumanist thought that increasingly characterizes gender studies.
It flies directly in the face of scientific evidence, but fits the biologically transgressive agenda of the New Left.
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