Date of Award

5-2-2018

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Andrew Altman

Third Advisor

Andrew I. Cohen

Fourth Advisor

Sandra Dwyer

Abstract

Katharine Jenkins argues that Sally Haslanger’s focal analysis of gender problematically excludes non-passing trans women from the category “woman.” However, Jenkins does not explain why this exclusion contradicts the feminist aims of Haslanger’s account. In this paper, I advance two arguments that suggest that a trans-inclusive account of “woman” is crucial to the aims of feminism. I claim that the aims of feminism are to understand and combat women’s oppression. First, I argue that denial of trans identities reinforces cultural ideas that perpetuate both transphobic violence and sexual violence against women. Consequently, a feminist account of “woman” that fails to respect trans identities indirectly contributes to the oppression of women. Second, I prove that non-passing trans women are oppressed as women through the internalization of sexual objectification. I then conclude that an account of “woman” that excludes non-passing trans women cannot successfully advance a complete understanding of women’s oppression.

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