Department of Philosophy Sophia Endowed Lecture

Positions in Patriarchy: Retooling the Metaphysics of Gender

Robin Dembroff

By Professor Robin Dembroff, Yale University

Decades of feminist theory have approached the question ‘what is gender?’ with an eye to gender as the system of patriarchy. Typically, accounts of patriarchy describe it as a static system in which males are dominant and females are subordinate. I argue that this view fails to capture the dynamic, context-sensitive, and intersectional nature of patriarchy, and develop an alternative approach: the dynamic system approach. On my proposed account, patriarchy is not a system of male dominance, but rather, of "real men" dominance, where "real men" are persons who sufficiently exemplify features believed, in a given context, to be "natural" for men.

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