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• Thematic Reflection Three, The Woman Question
o Use the intro to the second sex and describe the woman’s question
o Use other readings to explore critiques of the categories man/woman
o Is the binary categories we use to define gender useful.
▪ How many critiques should be included in the paper?
• Focus on one critique in-depth.
▪ How should I approach a question that is this broad?
• Don’t do this: Answer each question individually
• Connect these questions into one cohesive whole
• What is needed is a singular argument that connects all parts of the
• My suggestion, think about the conversations that we’ve had on
gender, what is your opinion about the place of gender in society.
The woman question is ultimately about how woman functions as a
broader social category that also effects individuals and
• What is the woman question?
o What is woman?
• For all the questions, how do you bring them into a thesis
o Example: In this paper, I argue that the binary gender
constructions of man/woman are used to control the
attitudes of others. To this end, I explore how the woman
question, as explored by Beauvoir, is a critique of the
central function of gender, to make woman the Other of
man. Further, I am interested in how the categories of
gender, in their practice of controlling people often require
the exclusion of people on the bases of race, class, and
other unrepresented performances of gender.
▪ General Critiques
• Critique One: What’s the deal with gender?
o Which is a critique is so far as it seeks to expand Beuvoir’s
assumptions about gender?
o There’s still an assumption that there is a natural
component of gender that is fixed and unchanged. (Witting)
▪ We ignore the social function of the category of
▪ Made up shit still has consequences
• Critique Two: Women of color exist.
o In her use of the sex/race analogy, Beuvoir assumes that
a woman cannot be oppressed due to her race. This means,
women of color are unaccounted for in Beauvoir’s account
of the woman question.
o Is the category of gender useful if it leaves out a segments
of lived experience?
▪ What are we critiquing?
• Just the categories but they all kind of tie in?
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