Every so often my academic friends tweet about interesting books and papers. I got one this morning (thanks Olivette!). The book in question is Sexuality and Gender Politics in Mozambique: Rethinking Gender in Africa by Signe Arnfred, who I think is Danish. There is a review of the book at Feminist Review, and what caught my eye was this comment:
Arnfred argues that in the same way that race, a ‘social, political, economic relation of domination, is reinvented as a biological difference, thus naturalized, [w]hat happens to “gender” is very similar: a social relation of male domination/female subordination, brought along with the European colonial powers and supported by Christianity, is represented as a biological difference between men and women, with the “natural” implication, that women are subordinated in relation to men’ (pp. 185–186).
This is very similar to the argument I have made about the erasure of trans people from non-European cultures. Obviously with trans folk there may be some biology involved, but the simplistic and incorrect understanding of that science by Victorian-era Europeans is what caused the problem.
So, another book I need to read. I do wish that academic books were not so expensive.