Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminism (Hardcover)
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'A clear, concise, easy-to-read account of the issues between sex, gender and feminism . . . an important book' Evening Standard
'A call for cool heads at a time of great heat and a vital reminder that revolutions don't always end well' Sunday Times
Material Girls is a timely and trenchant critique of the influential theory that we all have an inner feeling known as a gender identity, and that this feeling is more socially significant than our biological sex.
Professor Kathleen Stock surveys the philosophical ideas that led to this point, and closely interrogates each one, from De Beauvoir's statement that, 'One is not born, but rather becomes a woman' (an assertion she contends has been misinterpreted and repurposed), to Judith Butler's claim that language creates biological reality, rather than describing it. She looks at biological sex in a range of important contexts, including women-only spaces and resources, healthcare, epidemiology, political organization and data collection.
Material Girls makes a clear, humane and feminist case for our retaining the ability to discuss reality, and concludes with a positive vision for the future, in which trans rights activists and feminists can collaborate to achieve some of their political aims.
About the Author
Kathleen Stock is a public philosopher, a freelance writer and a recovering academic.
[Material Girls] pack[s] a punch . . . A call for cool heads at a time of great heat and a vital reminder that revolutions don't always end well—Christina Patterson, Sunday Times
Reading the book I felt an intense sense of relief that finally a comprehensive account of gender identity theory was presented and explored with both clarity and depth . . . a clear, concise, easy-to-read account of the issues between sex, gender and feminism . . . an important book, and it is the middle ground who need to read it as it shows how, if we are to live in a world where gender identity trumps biological sex, then it will be women - the physically weaker sex - who lose out—Stella O’Malley, Evening Standard
In her commitment to free speech, good-faith debate, clear and careful argument and upholding reason over dogma, Stock writes faithfully in the tradition of the Enlightenment—Mary Carington, UnHerd
A fearless, rigorous study of gender identity . . . [Material Girls is] a brave, enlightening, closely argued book—Jane O’Grady, Daily Telegraph
A clear-sighted analysis in tricky territory—Evening Standard
Anyone who has felt confounded by the shifting debate about sex and gender will find some clarity here. More importantly, you will find a curious mind and a generous spirit—Sarah Ditum, Mail on Sunday