Vron Ware's Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History is an ambitious attempt to examine the divisions between white women and women of colour in the history of feminism, and how feminist ideals develop in racist societies. 'White Woman as a Symbol of Civilization' is an excerpt from the book looking at how race, gender and class intersect in ideologies of difference, making modes of femininity speak for wider cultural values.
Michele Wallace's Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy for its examination of the masculine biases of the black politics that emerged from the 1960s. In a foreword, excerpted here, Wallace evaluates the debate the book sparked, and how her critique of black gender politics has changed since its original publication in 1978.
Cristan Williams, a trans historian and journalist, interviewed Judith Butler about gender and the trans experience for The TransAdvocate.
Cristan Williams: You spoke about the surgical intervention many trans people undergo as a “very brave transformation.” Can you talk about that?
Judith Butler: It is always brave to insist on undergoing transformations that feel necessary and right even when there are so many obstructions to doing so, including people and institutions whos seek to pathologize or criminalize such important acts of self-definition. I know that for some feels less brave than necessary, but we all have to defend those necessities that allow us to live and breathe in the way that feels right to us. Surgical intervention can be precisely what a trans person needs – it is also not always what a trans person needs. Either way, one should be free to determine the course of one’s gendered life.