Which of Nietzsche's ideas are the most useful for feminist theory and practice?

Essay by EileenmaloneCollege, UndergraduateB-, April 2007

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This paper will examine which of Nietzsche's ideas are the most useful for feminist theory and practice. I intend to discuss the exclusion of women throughout the history of philosophy, demonstrating how this can be useful for feminist theory. I will talk about Nietzsche's use of dualisms and how his anti-essentialist ideas can be useful with also taking a look at Jacques Derrida's ideas. Lastly I will discuss Nietzsche's ideas about language and how language is used for creating reality. Let it be known that this is a complex question, so therefore by providing specific evidence, also could be seen as arguable to others depending on individual beliefs. Therefore I have chosen to be selective, as no attempt will be made to be encyclopedic, rather I have selected some of the cardinal strengths within the subject matter. Feminist theory, it should be mentioned from the beginning of this paper, is not a unified theory.

As women experience the social world differently (according to class, age or 'race'), there exist different feminist standpoints within the feminist tradition - i.e. Marxist or Postmodernist feminists (and this explains the need to talk of Feminisms - in plural). (Smith D. (1987). In general though, feminist theorists in order to explain the marginal position women's issues hold in the social sciences - and why they are merely 'added on' in the academic discourse, focus their critique upon traditional scientific approaches existing in the social sciences, offering alternative theories of knowledge. In addition, they attack concepts that originate from the founding fathers of each discipline. (Smith D. (1987). Nietzsche's philosophy has been subject to harsh criticism, including feminist critiques that have been only too eager to push away his philosophy on the grounds of its alleged outdated and rampant misogyny. But many feminists including the likes...