Volume 12, Issue 1, Fall 2007
Gender and Time
Revisiting the Question of Dasein’s Neutrality
Many critics have attempted to give an account of a gendered incarnation of Dasein in response to Heidegger’s “neutral” or “asexual” interpretation. In this paper,
I suggest gendered readings of Dasein are potentially misleading. I argue Dasein is gendered only to the extent that “the Anyone” (das Man)—understood as relational background of social practices, institutions, and languages—constitutes the space or “clearing” (Lichtung) of intelligibility. However, this reading misrepresents the core motivation of Heidegger’s early project, namely to arrive at “temporality” (Zeitlichkeit) as the original source of any intelligibility whatsoever. For Heidegger, Dasein is to be understood in terms of the twofold movement of being “thrown” into the Past (Vergangenheit) and “projecting” into the Future (Zukunft). It is only the basis of the neutral temporal structures of “thrown projection” that beings can emerge-into-presence as such, enabling us to make sense of our Present (Gegenwart) gendered practices in the first place.