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41. Feminism.docx

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Philosophy 1020
Cathy Thorpe

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 4 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 firsthwave th - Struggle for suffrage became intense in late 19 , early 20 centuries - Suffragettes endless demonstrations, civil disobedience (very shocking to the culture of the time) - Women making a noise, moving into public sphere - They didn’t become so unruly until the end of the movement - In 1917 in Canada vote was given to women (but in Quebec it was 1940) - 1929 Canadian law was changed to say that women were “persons” the law said that only persons could be elected members of parliament, senators - Suffrage was really the final aspiration of the first wave: when women got roughly in the 1920s, 30s, sometimes 40s that the feminist movement would die down; it already achieved the ultimate goal (but it didn’t) 2. The second wave (loosely 1960s to early 1990s) a) Distinction between liberal feminism and radical feminism i) Liberal feminism sought equal opportunities for women - John Stuart Mill or Plato view - Suffrage is not enough; women need to have same educational, occupational and professional opportunities as men; they should have equal pay for equal work, etc. - Give us the education we need to move in the larger world ii) Radical feminism digs deeper to uncover presuppositions about gender roles - Liberal feminism was about securing of easily understood- overt- liberties, legal equality rights - Removal of very clear impediments to equality - Radical feminism is conceptually more interesting: it was concerned with hidden constraints on liberty and equality… (Discovery of the presupposed) - Often these constraints were things that you couldn’t see because they are so close in front of your face - Presuppositions are propositions we are more certain of than anything else for simple reason that we are unaware of them - Feminists started process of consciousness raising - In the first wav
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