The difference that has exercised feminism is that between the sexes, and one common strategy has been to minimize those differences crafted by nature/biology and to attribute as much as possible to culture or gender. Differences between the sexes were socially constructed. Feminist political agendas were twofold: on the one hand they aimed at the removal of sex discrimination where sex ought not to matter; on the other they sought the recognition of differences where they were pertinently ignored. Feminisms of difference are charged by their critics with essentialism. Matters were even more complicated by the critique from diversity mounted by black feminism, which prompted a shift in feminist attention onto the differences between women rather than the differences between the sexes. This critique has been fused with critique from deconstruction, which challenged the very concept of a coherent identity and self from which intellectual and political positions flowed.

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