Young, Iris Marion. Throwing Like a Girl: A Phenomenology of Feminine Body Comportment, Motility and Spatiality
1980, Human Studies 3 (2): 137-156
Added by: Harry Lewendon-Evans
Summary: This paper seeks to begin to fill a gap that exists both in existential phenomenology and feminist theory. It traces in a provisional way some of the basic modalities of feminine body comportment, manner of moving, and relation in space. It brings intelligibility and significance to certain observable and rather ordinary ways in which women in our society typically comport themselves and move differently from the ways that men do. In accordance with the existentialist concern with the situatedness of human experience, [Young] make[s] no claim to the universality of this typicality of the body comportment of women and the phenomenological description based on it. The account developed here claims only to describe the modalities of feminine bodily existence for women situated in contemporary advanced industrial, urban, and commercial society.
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Comment: This paper provides a clear and useful introduction to the notion of gendered bodily experience. It would be a useful introductory piece for any course that studies the role of the body more generally, such as courses on phenomenology, philosophy of race/gender, or issues in cognitive science.