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Postmodern feminism is an approach to feminist theory that argues that there is no single cause for a woman's subordination because sociological gender is itself constructed through language. Because the meaning behind this gender is not universal, there is no single approach towards dealing with the issue.
Although postmodernism resists characterization, it is possible to identify certain themes or orientations that postmodern legal feminists share. Mary Joe Frug suggested that one "principle" of postmodernism is that human experience is located "inescapably within language." Power is exercised not only through direct coercion, but also through the way in which language shapes and restricts our reality. This makes language a potentially fruitful site of political struggle.
Frug's second postmodern principle is that gender is not something natural, nor is it something completely determinate and definable. Like all human systems of meaning, it is constantly evolving and capable of infinite variations under individual circumstances. Gender is, therefore, socially constructed and completely inescapable (what would it mean to be outside the system of meaning?), but always susceptible to a new interpretation. Gender, like other systems of meaning, is less like a cage, and more like a tool: it constrains but never completely determines what one can do with it.*
A more simplistic way of understanding the concept of postmodern feminism, or the subjectivity of gender, leaving aside language for a moment, is to look at the toys given to children. Few parents would give a boy a female doll at a young age, and most people without much thought would give a young girl a dolly, a symbol of motherhood. At a young age, children are given gender stereotypes and roles, we give fake make-up kits to young girls, and action figures to young boys.
If gender was a fixed innate concept, and not a conditioned one, one could easily give a boy a doll and know he would throw it away, but since gender is not fixed, we do not give the boy the doll, for we fear the backlash or the bullying that child would receive, because every other boy has a football. Thus, the concept is that there exists conditioning our children to be like everyone else, intentionally or not. No two year old girl, playing with a doll imagines herself giving birth, she wears her mother's high shoes to emulate her, not to look attractive or feminine. Postmodern feminism gender identities are conditioned, developed, there is no innate masculinity or femininity.
- Susan H. Williams and David C. Williams A Feminist Theory of Malebashing published in the Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, 4 Mich. J. Gender & L. 35 (1996)el:Μεταμοντέρνος φεμινισμός
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