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Battersby, Christine, , . Gender and Genius: Towards a Feminist Aesthetics
1989, Indiana University Press.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Publisher’s Note: During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, women were blamed for having too much passion, imagination and sexual appetite. By the late eighteenth century, however, these qualities had been revalued and appropriated for male artists. The virtues attributed to the Romantic”genius” made him like a woman but not a woman. He belonged to a third, supermale sex. As new and old concepts of woman and genius clashed, there evolved a rhetoric of sexual apartheid which today still affects our perceptions of cultural achievement. Genius from the time of the Greeks has been defined as male. In this study, Christine Battersby traces the history of the concept of genius from ancient Rome to the present day, showing how pagan myths linking divinity with male procreativity have survived into our own time. The author explores the dilemma faced by female creators who have resisted the idea that Art requires “feminine” qualities of mind but male sexual energies. GENDER AND GENIUS argues, against those currently seeking to establish an aesthetics of the “feminine,” that a feminist aesthetics must look to the achievements of women artists in the past as well as in the present.

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Hanson, Karen, , . Dressing down Dressing up – The Philosophic Fear of Fashion
1990, Hypatia 5 (2):107 - 121.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Christy Mag Uidhir

Abstract: There is, to all appearances, a philosophic hostility to fashionable dress. Studying this contempt, this paper examines likely sources in philosophy’s suspicion of change; anxiety about surfaces and the inessential; failures in the face of death; and the philosophic disdain for, denial of, the human body and human passivity. If there are feminist concerns about fashion, they should be radically different from those of traditional philosophy. Whatever our ineluctable worries about desire and death, whatever our appropriate anger and impatience with the merely superficial, whatever our genuine need to mark off the serious from the trivial, feminism may be a corrective therapy for philosophy’s bad humor and self-deception, as these manifest themselves when the subject turns to beautiful clothes.

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Mikkola, Mari, , . Feminist Perspectives on Sex and Gender
2016, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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Introduction: Feminism is the movement to end women’s oppression. One possible way to understand ‘woman’ in this claim is to take it as a sex term: ‘woman’ picks out human females and being a human female depends on various anatomical features (like genitalia). Historically many feminists have understood ‘woman’ differently: not as a sex term, but as a gender term that depends on social and cultural factors (like social position). In so doing, they distinguished sex (being female or male) from gender (being a woman or a man), although most ordinary language users appear to treat the two interchangeably. More recently this distinction has come under sustained attack and many view it nowadays with (at least some) suspicion. This entry (around 12 000 words in length) outlines and discusses distinctly feminist debates on sex and gender.

Comment: A great first core text for any feminist philosophy, philosophy of sex and gender (or similar) module. Would also be very good to include on a social metaphysics course. Gives a clear and detailed overview of the main rival conceptions of gender, as well as of the relationship between the terms 'sex' and 'gender'.

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