Volume 32, Issue 1, Spring 2018
Joshua M. Hall
Bodily-Social Copresence Androgyny
Rehabilitating a Progressive Strategy
Historically, the concept of androgyny has been as problematic as it has been appealing to (especially white) Western progressives. The appeal clearly includes, inter alia, the opportunity to abandon or ameliorate certain identities (including essentialized femininity and toxic masculinity). As for the problematic dimension, the central problem seems to be the reduction of otherness (often unconscious and unwitting) to the norms of straight white middle/upper-class Western cismen, particularly because of the consequent worsening of actual others’ marginalization and exclusion from social institutions. Despite these problems, I wish to suggest that androgyny—as evidenced by the enthusiasm felt for it by many Westerners—bespeaks something larger and more important than the concept itself, and that modified conception of it might be helpful in pursuit of social justice.