Essentialism: The Critical Sin for Which There is Truly No Forgiveness




Ah, yes. The good old ‘don’t be an essentialist canard.’ Now this is the textbook example of a grain of truth found in postmodern critique that has been blown way out of proportion. Inhabiting (I sincerely hope) the reality most people inhabit (including serious scholars, as distinguished from ivory tower intellectuals), I can say this:

Essentialism is as essentialism does.

Saying women can’t drive cars isn’t ‘essentialism,’ it’s being a sexist arse!

Saying women have wombs or different hormones or chromosomes from men (with the exception of trans women) isn’t being essentialist, it’s merely having the baseline intelligence to recognise that Reality really isn’t some massive social construct designed to fool, and to delude, and to bewitch the idle, ungovernable mob.

One cannot simply be for or against essentialism, any more than one can be for or against capitalism, taxation, immigration, or any other complex, sensitive, contentious, and highly context-dependent phenomenon.

Less schematic thinking required.

More attention to context and detail.

Ohhh, the irony!

Let’s all be metamodernists instead.