WGST 1F90 September 26, 2013
Production for exchange
Production for use
Feminization of poverty
Introduction Why Theory?
3. Discourse: historically variable ways of specifying knowledge that links concepts into ideas—we write, speak,
think and act within discourses.
6. Example: Marxist theory examines capitalism -- the economic mode of production—in the West and hierarchy,
oppression and privilege.
Why Feminist Theory?
3. Feminist theory seeks to provide solutions for how to end women’s oppression.
4. Solutions may be far reaching, politically/economically focused, or immediate and instantly accessible. 5. Example: second wave feminists recognized the need for safety and shelter for women experiencing violence—
Regardless of Which Theoretical Framework
1. Feminist theory is about doing- meaning feminist theory is critical and political practice
2. Recognizes and addresses the gap between theory and practice
3. Must analyze systemic oppression, yet be attentive to individual specificities.
4. Should be acc
1. Evolved from liberalism( 18 and 19 century) philosophical/political movement
2. Small “l” liberals believe in the human capacity to reason and to be rational.
3. Liberalism is a political philosophy based upon individual liberty, freedom, of choice and the belief the every
person is to be given equal opportunity and civil rights
4. These rights were only really believed to be the inherent rights to men
5. Early liberal feminist sought to rethink this equation which excluded women to the benefit of men
6. Examples of 18th and 19th century liberal feminists:
7. Mary Wollstonecraft: women’s rights, supported coed education and denied any natural cause to women’s
8. Harriet Taylor Mill and John Stuart Mill: family life and work was a horrible thing for women marriage was an
arrangement that denied women their basic rights and was a system of brutality
20 Century Feminism: Basic Tenets
1. Men and women are essentially the same but it has been socialization and sex roles which have divided the two
2. Believe in meritocracy; earn/ money by a job well done
3. Believe in equal opportunity
4. All rational beings should have freedom of choice Liberal Feminism:
1. Second wave liberal feminists focused on getting women into existing institutions (education, government, etc.).
2. Have not called for a dismantling of patriarchal structures such as law, education and capitalism 3
3. Understood paid employment as a form of independence for women. Opening doors and breaking the glass ceiling
4. Called for modifications in such structures which blatantly discriminated against women
Critiques of Liberal feminism
1. Based heavily on meritocracy; work hard and receive the fruits of labor
2. Accused of being a white, middle class approach
3. Notion of equality with men has not addressed intersectionality
4. The “add women and stir” approach- will simply having more women politicians change things for all women?
Marxist and Socialist Feminism—Background
1. Marx and engels offered a deeply theprtucal account of class oppression and gender oppression
2. Engels wrote Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State in 1884—explaining the rise of private property,
monogamy and women’s oppression.
3. Engels: women’s and class oppression emerged when state systems enforced private property.
4. Women’s sexuality became under male control when private property was enforced- legitimate heirs
5. Marx; explanation of class an stratification- proletariat
6. This structure was modified/employed by feminists
1. Used Marxist concepts, ideas to explain the material and class oppression of women
2. Women’s oppression is rooted in capitalism
3. Example: Marxist concepts of production for exchange and production for use.
4. Saw women’s unpaid work (production for use) in the home as a sustaining force in capitalism.
5. Free labour renders women dependent upon “breadwinner” 6. Used language/concepts such as proletariat/bourgeois, exploitation, labour power, and social reproduction.
1. Borrowed Marxist economic analysis of capitalism and examined how p