Rowan’s Department of Philosophy and World Religions presents “Theorization: Tamsin Kimoto on Excluding Feminisms”

Tamsin Kimoto, assistant professor of philosophy and studies on women, gender and sexuality at Goucher College, discusses the subject of exclusionary feminism. – Editor / Stéphanie Green

Rowan’s students were educated on various types of exclusionary feminism, as well as the history of violence and legislation directed against Asian women, during the “Theorizing: Tamsin Kimoto on Feminisms” virtual lecture series. exclusion ”, Wednesday March 24.

This event was part of Rowan’s “Theorizing at Rowan” lecture series to encourage scientific exchange between Rowan’s professors, students and others across the country. The event hosted Tamsin Kimoto, assistant professor of philosophy and women, gender and sexuality studies at Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, for the conference.

Kimoto’s original intention with this talk was to “push back” the “sexual modesty of contemporary feminism” and develop a form of feminism that celebrates sex. However, Kimoto went on to say that the tragic shooting in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday March 16, which killed eight people, including six Asian women, “took a heavy toll.” This, combined with the growing trend of violence against Asians in the United States, caused Kimoto to change the direction of her lecture to include a discussion of Asian American feminist history, including the events and crimes. current.

Kimoto began his lecture by discussing the passage by Congress of the 1875 Pages Act as part of a comprehensive review of labor immigration policies. One of the key aspects of the law was the ban on immigration for the purpose of sex work, which Kimoto said effectively became a “blanket ban” on immigration for women of East Asian descent. .

“Asian women then come into US law as prostitutes,” Kimoto said, describing passages from the act, “and therefore are excluded from the possibility of entering even within the country’s borders.”

Kimoto went on to explain that while some of the text sounds like far-reaching policy, its placement in the Page Act makes it clear that the main source of sex workers that the United States worried about was those from Asia. from the east.

She highlighted President Ulysses S. Grant’s comments on the misdeeds of “importing Chinese women”, which led many Asian women to be turned away at the border, as well as the use of the word “import”, implying objects and not objects. people. This led to Asian women being denied personal agency under the law because they were essentially labeled as objects.

Kimoto explained and criticized prison feminism – a form of feminism that focuses on increasing laws, regulations, and prison terms that deal with feminist issues. Kimoto described some of the strategies of prison feminism, such as using ‘sex trafficking’ to refer to all sex work, and working with policy makers to adopt stricter regulations around consensual forms of sex work. like pornography.

“Prison feminism reinvests the energy of feminists into strengthening the same kind of state apparatuses that disproportionately impact women of color,” Kimoto said, “while simultaneously draining the same kinds of energy and of resources from those parts that could offer small improvements to those same lives. . “

Kimoto added that prison feminists have been tremendously successful in advancing such programs, explaining that she sees prison feminism as an example of “hygienic feminism,” which contributes to the problem of exclusion.

“Hygienic feminism focuses on cleansing and protecting the category of women from threats posed by types of women who do not fit a normalized image of the truly feminist woman,” Kimoto said.

She said that TERF – radical trans-exclusionary feminists – are another example of hygienic feminism, claiming that these types of radical feminists have turned the energy of feminism against transgender women and sex workers, given that they see both groups as images of “bad” women.

Kimoto concluded her lecture with her original purpose, discussing the idea of ​​”slut,” a term that suggests the rejection and challenge of the logic of purity upon which feminist hygienic beliefs are built.

“Bitches take the idea of ​​being objectified, rather than [being] turned away from it. So in a sense, choosing to be objectified – leaning into it, ”she said. “And that’s because bitches recognize that the subject-object relationship, upon which the radical feminist position rests, is ultimately a false dichotomy.”

Kimoto noted that by adding “class, race, and queer narratives” to this picture, we get more complex notions of what agency and objectification look like.

The event ended with a question-and-answer session, during which Kimoto explained how stereotypes of Asian women always seem to exist, no matter how they present themselves, and provided examples of micro- attacks often directed against the transgender community. According to Kimoto, the most subtle microaggressions are those that come as compliments, such as “I never would have guessed you were trans” or “I would date you anyway.”

Kimoto concluded by discussing her observations on the current climate of the United States and Asian women in particular.

“We are at another one of those historic hot spots where we can choose to reaffirm our status as a model minority, or create alternative spaces – alternative movements – and do them more broadly,” Kimoto said. “I see, right now, more energy than I have ever seen in Asian Americans to make this kind of movement. “

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