Haraway’s Disobedient Daughters

Helen Hesters Buch „Xenofeminism“ wird am 20.03 im HAU präsentiert. Wir veröffentlichen einen Vorabdruck.

XF is an anti-naturalist endeavour in the sense that it frames nature and the natural as a space for contestation – that is, as within the purview of politics. Any political project based upon nature as a pseudo-theological limit, a cartography of the untouchable, or a space of incontaminable purity risks lending huge conceptual resources to the conservative punishment of radical difference. As we put it in the xenofeminist manifesto,

„Nothing should be accepted as fixed, permanent, or  ‘given’ – neither material conditions nor social forms. [. . .] Anyone who’s been deemed ‘unnatural’ in the face of reigning biological norms, anyone who’s experienced injustices wrought in the name of natural order, will realize that the glorification of ‘nature’ has nothing to offer us – the queer and trans among us, the differently-abled, as well as those who have suffered discrimination due to pregnancy or duties connected to child-rearing.“

© Polity Press

With these comments, we position ourselves as Haraway’s disobedient daughters. We too find ‘discourses of natural harmony, the nonalien, and purity unsalvageable for understanding our genealogy in the New World Order, Inc.’, and agree that it ‘will not help – intellectually, morally, or politically – to appeal to the natural and the pure’.

But to declare ourselves anti-naturalist is not to disavow the measurable and/or spontaneously occurring phenomena that structure our world, generate observable effects, and shape the horizonsof possibility. Xenofeminism does not deny that there is a biological stratum to embodied reality, for example – that certain bodies have different susceptibilities and capacities (most obviously, in the context of this discussion, the susceptibility or capacity to incubate a foetus).

What is does dispute, however, is the idea that this stratum is immutable or fixed simply because it is biological. On the one hand, this involves acknowledging the role that social ideas play in understandings of embodiment (including insisting that many notions about gendered bodies are ideological).

More radically, perhaps, it involves framing the terrain of biology as itself rightfully subject to change. XF stands with those contemporary feminists who insist that ‘biology is not a synonym for determinism and sociality is not a synonym for transformation’.

The operations of these realms are nowhere near so predictable. Elizabeth A. Wilson contends that ‘anatomy enacts the kind of malleability, heterogeneity, friction and unpredictability that feminist theories can relish’, and argues that we shoul d‘recapture biology for feminist theory’.

XF agrees, and (as we shall see throughout this book) pursues an interest in an anti-naturalist natur eat the levels of both theory and practice. Rather than cede this territory to conservative or corporate interests – which have, for several decades, been angling for the enclosure of biomedically manipulable bodies – we must reframe the evident (if partial) changeability of nature as a space for emancipatory politics. As Firestone puts it, ‘every fact of nature that is understood can be used to alter it’.

Helen Hester, „Xenofeminism“, Polity Press, erscheint im April 2018. Dieser Auszug stammt aus dem 1. Kapitel, Subkapitel „Anti-Naturalism“, S. 19-22.

Biology is not destiny, because biology itself can be technologically transformed, and should be transformed in the pursuit of reproductive justice and the progressive transformation of gender. XF emphasizes what it sees as the fundamental mutability of bodies, identities, and the various processes that help to shape them; it recognizes the often violently denied plurality of spontaneously occurring gender diversity (as in the myriad forms of intersexuality); and is invested in a proactive and emancipatory reworking of the gendered and sexual order.

Fearless Speech #13: Xenofeminismus – Für eine Politik der Entfremdung. Mit Helen Hester und Patricia Reed. Moderation: Sonja Eismann. Dienstag, 20.03.2018, 19h, HAU1, Stresemannstr. 29, 10963 Berlin

Wir schreiben ohne Rücksicht auf Verluste und das machen wir mit Absicht! Das bedeutet aber, dass wir kein fettes Anzeigengeschäft machen, denn leider gibt es nicht viele Firmen, die heute schon fortschrittlich genug sind, um auf ein queer-feministisches Heft zu setzen. Kein Wunder, dass kein anderer Verlag ein Heft wie Missy herausgibt. Jetzt unabhängige, feministische Berichterstattung unterstützen und ein Missy-Abo abschließen.