WGS200Y5 Lecture Notes - Ethnocentrism, Feminist Theory, Feminist Movement

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9 May 2012
Feminism: A Transformational Politic
bell hooks Page 402-407
We live in a world of crisisthe superior should over the inferioraffects the lives of all people
Contemporary feminist thinkers often cite sexual politics as the origin of this crisis
Suggest that differentiation of status between males and females globally is an indication that
patriarchal domination of the planet is the root of the problem
Elimination of sexist oppression would necessarily lead to the eradication of all forms of
Western white women to feel that feminist movement should be the central political agenda for
females globally
Racism and class...parent system: patriarchy
Patriarchal domination is a more legitimate feminist action than resisting racism and other forms
of domination
Clearly, differentiation between strong and weak, powerful and powerless, has been a central
defining aspect of gender globally
Assumption that men should have greater authority than women
Women can and do participate in politics of domination as perpetrators as well as victims
Parent child relationships with its very real imposed survival structure of dependency of strong
and weak of powerful and powerless was a site for the construction of a paradigm of domination
This speculation does not place women outside the practice of domination, as potential
theoreticians and creators of a paradigm for social relationships
Emphasizing paradigms of domination that call attention to woman’s capacity to dominate is one
way to deconstruct and challenge the simplistic notion that men have always been the oppressors.
We all have the capacity to act in ways that oppress, dominate, wound (whether or not that power
is institutionalized)
First the potential oppressor within that we must resistthe potential victim within we must
rescueotherwise we cannot hope for an end to domination for liberation
By calling attention to interlocking systems of dominationsex, race and classblack women
and many other groups of women acknowledge the diversity and complexity of female
experience, of our relationship to power and domination
Feminists straddle to end patriarchal domination should be of primary importance to women and
men globally not because it is the foundation of all other oppressive structures but because it is
that form of domination we are most likely to encounter in an ongoing way in everyday life
Sexism directly shapes and determines relations of power in our private lives, in familiar social
spaces, in that most intimate contexthomeand in that most intimate sphere of relations
It is this convergence of two contradictory impulsesthe urge to promote growth and the urge to
inhibit growth.
Feminist efforts to end patriarchal domination should be of primary concern precisely because it
insists on the eradication of exploitation and oppression in the family context and in all other
intimate relationships. Political movement most radically addresses the person. The need for
transformation of self, of relationships, so that we might be better able to act in a revolutionary
manner, challenging and resisting domination, transforming the world outside the self. Feminist
movement should be central component of all other liberation struggles because it challenges
each of us to alter our person, our personal engagement in a system of domination.
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