I said this sentence in therapy and she said it would make a good blog title.
It makes a good blog post, too, I think.
I'm not a big fan of essentialism in general. Within my experiences as a white feminist, it is a daily irritant. Discussions on whether Thinking or Feeling as personality traits on the Myers-Briggs personality test turn into claims that there can be psychological essentials because men develop muscle easier (and then presumably are stronger than women, which is why there are no female fire fighters, blacksmiths, and why the military is easier on females). Just to cite a recent example of blinding rage. The continued claim that men and women unfortunately born in non-consistent bodies can never be actual men and women would be another.
However, there are identities to which I will never be privy and for which I can never know what it's like. To an anti-essentialist like myself, this is a bitter pie to dig into. I can feel my lip curling. (Did you know disgust was one of five emotions we think are universal with universal expressions? Now you know.) And sometimes this impossibility means that I cannot adopt identities despite finding them wonderful, interesting, and enviable. A part of my anti-essentialism I must also own to is that, as a white liberal who has grown up I can be anything I want to, this smacks of being told no in a very stern voice, and as a rule I don't like that very much.
But, I will never be a radical woman of color feminist.
I'm still teasing out the differences in my mind. I know there are these two things, one I like and one that I don't, and that there are bits and pieces all over the place with them, but I think it will take me being reconciled to the second (since I don't like it, let's call it the antithesis) until synthesis can arise for me personally.
Or I could read the synthesis on an awesome blog.
The second sounds easier - get to work! ;)