Philosophy 1020 Lecture Notes - John Stuart Mill, Radical Feminism, Liberal Feminism

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Published on 31 Jul 2012
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41. Feminism: three waves
0. Introductory
- Charlotte Krolokke
a) The huge significance of the feminist movement
- Deep significance in evolution and history of political and cultural
arrangements in the West
- Development of feminism showed us that it was possible to examine our
political structures, determine presuppositions within them which can then
be thought about more careful more significance than just itself
- In itself, demonstrates fundamental shifting in “tectonic plates” of social
structure in the West
b) Plato's feminism
- Plato back in the 4th century BCE was a proto-feminist
- Plato’s “The Republic” imagines an ideal state, he sees no reason why
women shouldn’t have equal access to everything (power, responsibility)
that men have, they should be able to compete for positions that men
generally occupy
- He doesn’t think it is likely that many women will succeed, but they ought
to be allowed to try
- Common to think of feminist movement having come in three different
waves they are not totally distinct from each other but a good, broad
historical picture
1. The first wave (loosely 1850s through 1920s)
a) Built upon Mill's political and ethical theory: erect as few barriers to
happiness as possible
- Rooted in a kind of utilitarianism
- Mill’s book “On Liberty” the notion that the social order should erect the
fewest possible barriers to human happiness
- The state should interfere with people as little as possible
- One of the barriers of happiness for half of human kind (Western
countries) was the subjection of women
b) Sought reform of laws: marriage, divorce, property, and custody (some
basic legal changes)
- Law puts barriers against the achievement of happiness, therefore it is
laws that need to be retracted, altered, suppressed, etc.
- 1848: the “Declaration of Sentiments” in Seneca Falls, NY
- Kind of change that was being sought were basic laws (not yet suffrage
women having the vote)
- When women were married they became property of husbands and
anything you either possessed or were due to inherit; if you became
divorced you were something of a pariah in society
c) Suffrage was perhaps the ultimate goal of the first wave
- Struggle for suffrage became intense in late 19th, early 20th centuries
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Document Summary

Charlotte krolokke: the huge significance of the feminist movement. Deep significance in evolution and history of political and cultural arrangements in the west. Development of feminism showed us that it was possible to examine our political structures, determine presuppositions within them which can then be thought about more careful more significance than just itself. In itself, demonstrates fundamental shifting in tectonic plates of social structure in the west: plato"s feminism. Plato back in the 4th century bce was a proto-feminist. Plato"s the republic imagines an ideal state, he sees no reason why women shouldn"t have equal access to everything (power, responsibility) that men have, they should be able to compete for positions that men generally occupy. He doesn"t think it is likely that many women will succeed, but they ought to be allowed to try. Mill"s book on liberty the notion that the social order should erect the fewest possible barriers to human happiness.

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