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The Critical Task

"The critical task for feminism is not to establish a point of view outside of constructed identities; that conceit is the construction of an epistemological model that would disavow its own cultural location and, hence, promote itself as a global subject, a position that deploys precisely the imperialist strategies that feminists ought to criticize." Pg. 360

Judith Butler is explaining that feminism should not view women as a subject that exists outside the cultural/political/sexual context in which they exist. The failure of this construction is that "woman" cannot be constructed outside this cultural/political/sexual context because we must ultimately ask the question: What is a "woman"? Is this "woman" defined by having a vagina? What about people who were not born with said vagina who identify as women? Is it a question of hormonal balance or chromosomes? How do people with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome fit into this equation? Would a definition that is reliant upon social expression work? How would that explain social expressions that change across cultures and even within cultures? The problem with constructing this identity is that there must then be an other that does not fit into this epistemological model. Then by taking this model, we would then attempt to force our model of "woman" on people that don't precisely fit into it. We would be deciding what's best for a particular person without their input. That is precisely imperialism.