SOC 233 November 9, 2011
Review of Midterm 2
1. Drug use is not pathological – Process of socialization.
2. Drug use is not a medical problem – Drug treatments cannot treat marijuana use as a psychological
Feminist Theory Con’t…
Note – 1 to 3 are review!
Main Feminist Perspectives:
1.Liberal Feminism – Equality of Opportunity
Looks at gender inequality.
Inequality needs to be looked at in terms of equality of opportunity, embedded in structures
and institutions in society.
eg) Legal, political, economic and social equality for women.
Result – More status, more resources, more power.
Inequality stems from the denial of equal rights.
Gender prejudice is based around individual ignorance.
Education is a valuable tool.
Concrete, specific ways to liberate women in social and economic structures.
Note – Women are not inferior to men, therefore they should have the opportunity to compete equally
This starts with change in the structures and institutions in society.
Limited to looking at policy; ignores study of social structural factors (e.g., patriarchy).
Means to achieve equality is inadequate (i.e., not revolutionary enough; working within
Ignoring the way that society is unequal; brushing all other inequalities “under the rug.”
2.Marxist Feminism – Women as Domestic Servant
Explain gender inequalities from the viewpoint of capitalism.
Need to stress economic relationships in order to understand inequality on the basis of gender.
Women become dependent on men; society is structured in such a way that men have become
Women dependent in the private sphere; unequal economic relationships with men.
Capitalist class relationships are the root cause of female oppression, exploitation and
Emphasis is placed upon the way in which women are generally exploited. eg) Domestic labour, childcare.
Lack of focus on value of unpaid domestic labour; expand definition of “work.”
Note – Patriarchy is the result of gendered inequalities within economy.
Gendered inequality is the root cause of patriarchy.
Too much emphasis on class relations in the economic sphere.
ie) Women are automatically assumed to be part of this working class; do not pay enough
attention to other experiences of women based on labour.
Revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is not a useful solution.
Too much emphasis placed upon capitalist forms of exploitation.
3.Radical Feminism – Free from Biological Dependency on Men
Patriarchy predates capitalism – Capitalism built on exploitation of female biology.
Patriarchy: Looking at the domination that men have over women, and how this deeper idea of
the domination of men are embedded within the institutions in society.
Sex Class: Due to biology, more specifically, women’s ability to bear children, and patriarchal
domination, women are dependent on men for survival.
All women belong to a ‘sex class’ based upon the notion of biological sameness.
Women assume gender roles that are assumed in society; assume inherently unequal roles.
Result - The need to free themselves from the domination of men.
Universal Causes of Patriarchy
1. Exploitation of Female Biology
Men’s ability to make women pregnant.
Men exploit women through the process of impregnation.
2. Marriage-based Family Relationships
It is within family relationships, that men continue to dominate women.
3. Heterosexual Relationships
Remove ourselves from relationships with men.
Stop bearing children, which is a form of exploitation by men.
eg) Form lesbian relationships.
Note – Female emancipation could be used; biology will not be exploited in the process.
Biological family unit is the sources of patriarchal domination.
1. Women dependent on men for protection and survival.
2. Human infants are dependent on adults for protection and survival (e.g., breastfeeding).
3. Basic and universal mother-infant bond (e.g., women gestates baby).
4. Biological division between the sexes is the origin of all other divisions.
Biological ability to bear children brings forth dependency and inequality. Firestone - Emancipation of Women Achieved by:
a. Removing biological dependency.
b. Renouncing heterosexual relationship in favour of homosexual (lesbian) relationships.
No real evidence that women constitute a “sex class.”
Primary importance attached to patriarchy – Downgrades the importance of (e.g., class, race);
does not allow us to pay attention to other issues