Arguments around the lineage of Xenofeminism have flared up again on the timeline, regurgitating many of the same anxieties previously cast out into the Twittersphere.
This time it’s emerging in the wake of a new article on Red Pepper by Sophie Lewis, entitled “Cyborg Sentiments“, which considers how we can make xenofeminism “good” instead of “bad” (read: Land-adjacent).
The focus on Land, in much the same way he becomes the focus for any critique of Accelerationism, is paradoxically myopic, doing far more to erase the influence of others than they accuse its carriers of doing. The names of so many women who have shaped and been a major part of its development — whether directly or by proxy — are shamefully absent from these discussions.
Elsewhere, anxieties about xenofeminism being too “plural” collide with accusations that it’s not diverse enough. The demand that XF accounts for all its offshoots betrays a fear of the very thing they say they want.
Laboria Cuboniks left space for new inputs and rightly so. Its critics want to see them blocked, trying to position themselves as gatekeepers. “Only pre-approved inputs that are the same as ours need apply.”
Furthermore, the critiques of who the “xeno-” prefix refers to — reducing it to its association with foreigners and, by proxy, “xenophobia” rather than hearing its blatant call for a xenophilia — ignore the fact that it has been translated into 12 languages and with more on the way. (Last I heard, there was a Korean translation in the works.)
XF has travelled further than the UK/US ivory towers that get anxious about anything borne outside their walls — and yes, this travelling has been for better and for worse — but the central challenges of the manifesto only become more pertinent as a result, and these critiques seem deaf to them.
Gnon forbid anyone entertains the possibility that “the worst person you know just said something smart”:
At the limit of reciprocal loathing, hereditarian determinism confronts social constructivism, with each committed to a radically pared-back model of causality. Either nature expresses itself as culture, or culture expresses itself in its images (‘constructions’) of nature. Both of these positions are trapped at opposite sides of an incomplete circuit, structurally blinded to the culture of practical naturalism, which is to say: the techno-scientific / industrial manipulation of the world.