An existential state of ‘being’: Gender crisis, conflict, and struggles

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Much of the debate within the philosophy of gender puts forward the premise that the biological differences between males and females are straightforward, whereas the social and cultural aspects of being a man or woman are much more complicated. (see Butler, 1990; El Saadawi in Shaw, 2017; Greer, 1971; Irigaray, 1987/1993) Through a Sartrean philosophical lens, I will highlight questions into the nature of our being, regardless of sex, gender, race, religion and culture, which are at the very heart of every philosophy of gender debate. The article presents an existential theoretical perspective on the notion of conflict and struggle. It aims to show how existentialism, as a twenty-first century philosophy, and perhaps as a view of life, transcends our contemporary understanding of gender and identity. The article posits that at the very heart of every investigation into the ontology of our being is the question of the nature of our struggles, first and foremost, with our being, and secondly, with our surroundings. To present some of the key principles, I will use narrative to bring to life Jean Paul Sartre’s theoretical explorations underpinning his existential philosophy. In doing so, I will also highlight its relevance for exploring gender in embodied examples through one’s life cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Mensa's ANDROGYNY
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2019


  • gender inequalities
  • existentialism
  • Philosophical enquiry
  • Psychology
  • Gender
  • ontology
  • Identity


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