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Lecture 3

WGST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Harriet Taylor Mill, Consciousness Raising, Glass Ceiling

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Jenny Janke

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Date: Sept 26, 2016
Topic: What is Feminism? Who is a feminist? Can men be a feminist?
Negative Feminist Stereotypes Assignment
Due: October 17th, 2016
Format: APA Only
Point to challenge to dispel and challenge negative stereotypes
Key Concepts:
Systemic oppression
Production for exchange
Production for use
Patriarchal capitalism
Feminization of poverty
Consciousness Raising (CR)
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Rape Culture
Introduction Why Theory?
1. Theory is a blueprint : a way to explain how and why the world functions.
2. Theories are developed discourses. General accounts of how a range of
phenomena are connected.
3. Discourse: historically variable ways of specifying knowledge that links
concepts into ideas— we write, speak, think and act within discourses.
4. We need theoretical frameworks to address both the nuances of
social/economic/political life and larger systems.
1. Theoretical frameworks tend to focus on larger systems of power and
2. Example: Marxist theory examines capitalism -- the economic mode of
production— in the West and hierarchy, oppression and privilege.
3. Some theories focus on the individual — generalized to larger populations
(example: Freudian Theory)
Why Feminist Theory?
1. Feminist theory seeks to explain women’s oppression
2. Offers conceptual tools for explaining oppression
3. Feminist theory seeks to provide solutions for how to end women’s op-
4. Solutions may be far reaching politically, economically focussed, or imme-
diate and instantly accessible.
5. Feminist theory has explicit focus on praxis; putting theory into practice,
making change, and improving lives of girls and women.
How to Theorize About Women’s Oppression
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Liberal Feminism
Radical feminism
Marxist feminism
Socialism feminism
Post modernism
Anti racism feminism
Queer feminism
Eco feminism
Feminists may not classify themselves as above.
Regardless of Which Theoretical Framework
1. Feminist theory is about doing — a critical and political practice (praxis)
2. Addresses the “gap” between theory and practice.
3. Must analyze systemic oppression, yet be attentive to individual specifica-
4. Should be accessible to a wide audience: women, men, those who do not
have the privilege of a University Education
5. Intersectional: recognizes that oppression is not based only on gender —
race, class, ability, sexuality
Liberal Feminism
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