Paper Title

Honey Badgers, Tigers, and Grizzlies, Oh My: Toward an Intersectional Analysis of Ferocious Femininity

Location

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Keywords

Rhetoric; Culture; Power; Intersectionality; Totemism; Subjectivity

Abstract

Since 2008, instances of women articulating their unique authority as women to critique social and political problems have been gaining purchase in the national consciousness. In these discussions a particular type of rhetorical claim of feminine power stands out as a phenomenon in need of exploration: the claim of ferocious feminine subjectivity. There are three particular claims of ferociously feminine subjectivities, these include the Honey Badger or female men’s rights activist, the Tiger Mother, and the Grizzly Mama. In each case, women call on ferocious animal figures as a way to instantiate the power to make claims about the state of society. This paper explores the controversial claims of each type of ferocious feminine subjectivity using an intersectional framework to identify the benefits and consequences of women’s rhetorical negotiation of power through this use of totemic figures. I attend to the impact such rhetoric has on other women’s claims to knowledge, truth, and subjectivity. My goal is to begin to explore how women rhetorically negotiate intra-gender power dynamics and how those negotiations may reproduce patriarchal dominance in specific ways that limit possibilities for solidarity.

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Apr 1st, 5:00 PM Apr 1st, 6:15 PM

Honey Badgers, Tigers, and Grizzlies, Oh My: Toward an Intersectional Analysis of Ferocious Femininity

Room 220, DiGiorgio Campus Center (DiGs)

Since 2008, instances of women articulating their unique authority as women to critique social and political problems have been gaining purchase in the national consciousness. In these discussions a particular type of rhetorical claim of feminine power stands out as a phenomenon in need of exploration: the claim of ferocious feminine subjectivity. There are three particular claims of ferociously feminine subjectivities, these include the Honey Badger or female men’s rights activist, the Tiger Mother, and the Grizzly Mama. In each case, women call on ferocious animal figures as a way to instantiate the power to make claims about the state of society. This paper explores the controversial claims of each type of ferocious feminine subjectivity using an intersectional framework to identify the benefits and consequences of women’s rhetorical negotiation of power through this use of totemic figures. I attend to the impact such rhetoric has on other women’s claims to knowledge, truth, and subjectivity. My goal is to begin to explore how women rhetorically negotiate intra-gender power dynamics and how those negotiations may reproduce patriarchal dominance in specific ways that limit possibilities for solidarity.