Introduction to Women and Gender Studies Wednesday, September 18 th
Definition of feminism
The dimensions of success
When defining feminism there are words that define it in a socially transformative way. Feminism can
also be seen as a threat with the use of certain words such as “radical” or “extremist”. It makes people
fearful as identifying as feminists.
Pat Robertson, “Feminists are socialist, anti-capitalist, anti-family women who kill their children, leave
their husbands and become lesbians.”
- Using stereotypes
- Attacking gender roles and the left wing
- Taking the anti-choice stance
- Many feminist would identify as socialist because it allows women to have more rights
Feminism is about equality among the sexes – to be treated equally. Most common definition by class.
Why would women reject feminism if it’s about improving their lives?
1. Some women say they don’t want to be feminists because they don’t want to desert their families
- One of the most fundamentalist feminine critiques is that heterosexual nuclear families are not
the only types of families
- Families are not always linked or connected to biological connections
2. Another woman said she didn’t hate men
- “men are gendered too”
- We don’t need a men’s liberal movement because a man’s dominant position has a material pay
off, particularly in rich capitalist countries
o “patriarchal dividend” for men
Not all men benefit from this, such as disable men, gay men, minority men, men
who are gender conforming, men who are not upper class
This means gender doesn’t tell us the whole story because none of us are just
gendered. Each person exists in a multiple identities, so feminism has shifted
away from only gender towards multiple identities.
o Intersectionality: focuses attention on the ways that multiple sources of oppression and
power are intertwined.
We think of social categories that carry power and oppression: race, class,
religion, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, etc.
Acknowledges that every person exists in the framework of multiple identities
Highlights the way in which there is simultaneous interaction of discrimination
that arises from these multiple identities
We have to make sure that we don’t reduce Intersectionality to just identity, we
have to get at the systems of oppression that arise from those categories
Racism, sexism, classism, etc. Introduction to Women and Gender Studies Wednesday, September 18 th
Helps us understand how peoples exper