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Inessential Woman

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Essay title: Inessential Woman

This week’s reading echoed many of the issues we addressed in Global Feminism last semester. As Spelman illustrates, those issues of difference, exclusion, essentialism, race, class, white middle-class heteronormativity, remain difficult and complex within feminist theories. I start by saying that I found myself confused at times and having to re-read quite often. I was taken by Spelman’s introduction and the analogous yet paradoxical examples of Uncle Theo and the multiplicity of the pebbles to trouble the issues of “manyness” , difference, privilege, oppression of and differences of race, class, gender. In Dr Wright’s Global Feminism class, the question, can there be a global feminism daunted us throughout our readings. That question, while I would alter “a global feminism” to the plural of global feminisms remains one that resonated strongly while reading Inessential Woman.

While the reading was sometimes dense, I was intrigued by Spelman’s analyses of Simone de Beauvoir ‘Second Sex. I think I grasp the tenets of Spelman’s critique and the contradictions and points of contention of which she writes. Yet while reading, I tried to examine both works, particularly Spelman’s critique in regard to my research regarding mothering for schooling. On page 76, Spelman points out that in speaking to middle class privilege within feminist theory, we remain complicit in calling attention to middle class privilege. Similarly, in the context of my work, Reay, Griffith and Smith address this issue as well and maintain that the discourse of mothering schooling is exclusionary in occluding working class mothers because they are not are not privy to the discourse. Thus despite my efforts to call attention to the inequity that is both inherent and consequential of the mothering discourse, I am utilizing the normative of middle class discourse (mothers) to position “others”. Similarly, and Spelman addresses this point in chapter 4 as well, I remain troubled by the essentialist constructions of middle class mothers and working class mothers and how, in the scope of my work, to address differences within those categories without

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