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Feminism and the Standpoint of Lesbianism In chapter ten of her text Whose Science Whose Knowledge Sandra Harding introduces the standpoint of a distinct lesbian epistemology Her objective is to acknowledge a perspective that will recognize the viewpoint of all women and not just heterosexual women that are seen by the androcentric stipulations as essential or typical Hardings valuable argument begins with the conceptualization of what is a lesbianHarding 250 if that is definable in any such terms at all Harding then adds to her idea of a lesbian epistemology by examining lesbian contributions to feminist thought and scientific advantages Interestingly Hardings analysis begins with the idea that there is not a clear definable trait that can be agreed on in defining the term lesbian Lesbianism according to the dominant ideology insinuates that a woman must have sex with another woman to be categorized as such Nonetheless what evidence is there to establish that a sexual relation exists A male centered viewpoint would insist that this is the case nevertheless Harding allows the categorization of lesbian to be defined by those women who chose to use the term themselves privileging an autonomy for lesbians to name themselves and their worlds as they wish Harding 252 However Harding points out that Adrienne Rich thinks instead that one should think of a lesbian continuum all women who have engaged in resistance against compulsory heterosexuality whether or not they have actually had sexual relations with another woman Harding 250 In constructing her discussion that there should be a lesbian standpoint Harding includes the significant contributions that such a standpoint would have towards feminist thought In brief according to Harding the basic framework of a lesbian contribution to a feminist standpoint includes seeing women in relation to other women Harding argues that a lesbian perspective accomplishes this in a variety of ways Bonnie Zimmerman suggests that through
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