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Epistemic and Political Uncertainties

Men Doing Feminism

The 16 May 2015 issue of the EPW has a special section which refreshingly argues that men can be feminists and they can contribute to feminist knowledge when they make "care" an intellectual virtue and "care epistemology" their choicest mode. This affirmation is broached through an autobiographical mapping of each of the author's "towards feminism" journey. But the articles seem to have violated the same "care-epistemic" principles they had set for themselves. This review questions care epistemology's pertinence to the agenda in question. It points out that autobiography, ethnography and care could never accompany each other well.

If India were tired of traditional feminism practised in all too predictable quarters, then the issue of the EPW on “Men Doing Feminism” (16 May 2015) is invigorating and refreshing in more ways than one. The articles do not engage with classic texts such as Jardine–Smith-edited Men in Feminism published far back in 1986 (Jardine and Smith 1986) and Tom Digby-edited Men Doing Feminism (1998), etc.1 These anticipated all the questions broached in the issue and provided answers—quite similar to those which have sprung up here and autobiographically offered. However, the universal and Western tone of these classics meant the whole agenda required to have been contextualised anew in the face of criticism by postcolonials. That is what the edition has accomplished, and accomplished well.

“Men doing feminism” remains striking as ever like the old ways of enunciation in which agency and its corresponding function took on the hermeneutics of an Olympian suspicion, when allowed to strike an opposing pose. Can the rich talk for the poor, without falsity? Can the white struggle for blacks? Can the straights represent the homoerotics? This issue answers in affirmation that all of them could, but with care—when, interconstitutively—we occupy the others’ shoes, ethically and intellectually.

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