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The Gender-Neutral Feminism of Hannah Arendt


  • Kimberly Maslin


Though many have recently attempted either to locate Arendt within feminism or feminism within the great body of Arendt's work, these efforts have proven only modestly successful. Even a cursory examination of Arendt's work should suggest that these efforts would prove frustrating. None of her voluminous writings deal specifically with gender, though some of her work certainly deals with notable women. Her interest is not in gender as such, but in woman as assimilated Jew or woman as social and political revolutionary. In this paper, I argue that Arendt recognized that what frequently passes for a gender question is not essentially a matter of gender at all, but rather an idiosyncratic form of loneliness that typically affects, though is by no means limited to, women. In her work one finds the conceptual tools necessary to understand the “woman problem” rather than an explicit argument or a solution to it.