Responding to gender critical feminism: On gender, sex and a generous feminist politics in anxious times

Can feminism develop and grow if the room for reasonable divergence between us becomes ever narrower? We need spaces where we can discuss feminist politics to improve all our feminisms. The cheerleading, backslapping and feuding of twitter is not a good substitute. [image: Ben Kanter] I’ve been wondering how to respond to the social media […]

Acting as if other law reform options were already on the table?

Now is an exciting time to be asking the question: do we need an assigned legal gender? The research project I’ve started with colleagues on gender’s legal future is situated in a swirl of critical and creative approaches to gender and its possible futures – in terms of what gender means, what it does, and […]

Traditionalism limits The Shape of Water

[photo: Ben Kanter] Guillermo Del Toro’s The shape of water is a film meant to be loved. A captured sea creature is placed in a laboratory; facing destruction and caught between the coldly calculating politics of American and Soviet interests, it is saved by a young woman, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), whose empathy turns to romantic […]

Being trashed: the gendered politics of academic play

  I’ve been thinking quite a lot about play recently, particularly whether play can help us reimagine and refashion what statehood could mean within progressive polities. Typically, left engagements with the state gravitate towards critique or reform – both carry an attitude of instrumental, goal-oriented, serious action. Play, from this perspective, seems a ludicrous way […]

Bringing the utopian into our gender politics

This piece was spurred by reading on-line comments from an anarchist feminist conference, in which an organiser was repeatedly attacked for being a TERF (a trans-exclusionary radical feminist). Conflict over the terms of gender politics has been mounting for decades. In the face of deepening disagreement, might there be some overlooked common ground worth building […]

Dawn of the planet of the …bonobos?

Despite glowing reviews, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes makes for disappointing viewing. Alpha male apes say things like: “apes don’t kill apes”; and the plot is a simplified Prisoners’ Dilemma. Cooperation would benefit both sides, but in the absence of trust, apes and humans attempt to destroy each other before being destroyed in turn. It […]