What makes us women? Theorists have debated between the essentialist and the constructivist way of thinking for many years. An essentialist believes that to become a “woman”, one must have the certain traits and qualities that are expected of someone who would be in this category. To belong in this group, you must be a certain way. On the other hand, a constructivist would argue that the society that we grow up in shapes and molds us into who we are “expected” to be.

The feminist theorist Monique Wittig argues that the category of “women” has been produced by our environment instead of the idea that we are born as “women”.  Monique Wittig argues that the group that we call women shouldn’t be thought of as a natural group at all. When we are born, we are expected to become a part of the male group or the female group. She takes a constructivist approach to establish that these two groups aren’t based on biology but are based on the categories that society sorts us into. “In the case of women, ideology goes far since our bodies as well as our minds are the product of this manipulation” (Wittig, pg 9).

We are all victim to society’s manipulations which work to better understand us as humans. In reality, humans are very complex creatures and anyone who attempts to “understand” or categorize humans will be left in the shadows of confusion. We aren’t easily categorized because we are all created to be different.

Elizabeth Kasbeer

Advertisements