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Unai Bilbao Vélez
How does feminism incorporate notions of time in its critiques of patriarchy and its
proposals for the future?
Time as we know, more than just a way of structuring life in a chronological perspective, is an
“active ingredient in the making of matter and thus in the constitution of objects and
subjects(Grosz, 13)”. As well as,“Knits together the subjective and the social, the personal and
the public(Felski, 22)”. In this sense, understanding this connection between the subjects and
its time leads to feminist theories to analyzed the importance of time as a more philosophical
concept. In this scholar there has been four forms of time that are at the based of the critiques
of patriarchy and its proposals for the future: time as redemption, time as regression, time as
repetition, and time as rupture. Feminism incorporate this notions by looking to the past as well
as the future, in different ways. But also having in common that they all reach beyond the empty
mechanical measure of clock(Felski, 21).
In the same way, feminist discourses have an intrinsic relation with a number of theorist in the
questioning of time. Darwin, with the concept of indetermination, Nietzsche, that understood
time as an eternally return to affirm its positive openness; then Bergson who introduce the
spatialization into time, and finally Deleuze, pointing out the multiplicity and the irreducibility
of life to prediction. This theories are the most productive and complex engagements of
contemporary feminist theory(Grosz, 16).
Therefore, the undermining of a patriarchal society and its proposals for the future are held by
this complex conceptions of time as a source of knowledge to create an “ontology of
becoming(Grosz, 15)”. This means, a re-elaboration of the conception of time to hold a subject
that is always in the process of becoming something else, ultimately beyond its subjectivity.
This ontology would it be crucial to face the question of “how to articulate a future in which
futurity itself has a feminine form, in which the female subject can see itself projected beyond
its present position as other to one”( Grosz, 15).
In the other hand, if we take a look to the conceptions of time, understanding it as a redemption,
for many women, feminism would meant above all a conviction that they would not repeat the
lives of their mother. But in other cases, time as regression, such as African American women’s
need to respect and revere the past, as there has been oppress their ancestors, other type of
subjectivity relate it with time takes an important role in the feminist theory(Felski, 23,24).In
this sense, this different ways of incorporating time notions in the feminist theory and so
understanding the present and the future in an specific way are needed because an “attachment
to the past can throw critical light on the present, allowing us to question the smugness of the
now and the sovereignty of the new(Felski, 25)”.
Finally, if time haves an influence and ultimately makes the subject, the aim of the feminism
is to shape and change the times of psyches and bodies of the patriarchy and create new ones.
In order words the projects of a radical feminist politics, “remains how to envisage and egender
a future unlike the present, without being able to specify in advance what such a future
entails(Grosz, 18/19)”. And this goal is driven by seen time as a dynamic force; beyond a
restrictive linear and circular vision of time. Having access to the sources of the past which do
not tied to any definitive way or with any particular orientation and which provide for it future
proposals the resources by which to supercede the past and the present(Grosz, 18).
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