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22. Feminism -Nov 26.docx

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Nigmendra Narain

Feminism Key Ideas  Key concepts: "sex", "gender", "masculine" and "feminine" o Sex: biological, physiological, o Gender: social construction of roles humans sexed male and female  "Determine a person‘s social, economic, cultural, and political status" -- what you can do in your life  Constructed discursively & materially (language, dress,etc)  Issue: One gender is valued or superior  More than 2 genders (more than 2 sexes, also) 1. Is a social category o Masculine: characteristics or traits associated with, appropriate for, and considered naturally belonging to males/men o Feminine: characteristics or traits associated with, appropriate for, and considered naturally belonging to females/women o Creates political institutions and systems  Affect behaviour and decisions made by people, especially leaders  Provide a "logic" or rationale for certain institutions  Issue: valuing male/men/masculinity over female/women/femininity  Key issue = oppression > "power over" o Power assumed to be ‗power over‘ (the problem)  Other ideologies: kings, nobles, citizens, aristocrats, workers  Men have exercised power over women (few women have also exercised power over men and women) o Power can be ‗power to‘ — empowerment = feminist  Goals: o "Equality" and choice among men & women (as a starting point) o Deconstruction and reconstruction of ‗masculine‘ and ‗feminine‘ — gender  Arguments about "human nature" have reflected men‘s understanding and claims about men‘s human nature (epistemology) o Established men as the ‗normal‘ or ‗standard‘ to which women are measured against o Women‘s "human nature" has been ignored, misunderstood, or degraded  Not included in women’s experiences o Human nature is not essentially this or that  Society constructed on or constructed with women‘s lived experiences may be different  Many thinkers due to diversity of paths of feminism, but also due to many influences on feminism Liberal Feminism  Key idea: equality of rights o Men and women should have equal rights under the law o Remove legal barriers against women‘s full participation in politics o Women have rights within the family as well –property rights, cannot be sold, etc.  Key thinkers: o Mary Wollstonecraft:  A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)  "First" European feminist  Wanted to extend egalitarian principles of to women rights denied to women included voting, jobs, property, education STOP IT =hypocritical, not liberal  Argued against Burke‘s conservative view of the French Revolution incorrect  Supported the French Revolution‘s egalitarian principles & wanted to extend them to women  Rights denied to women included voting, jobs, property, education o John Stuart Mill (Harriet Taylor Mill):  Subjection Women (1869)  Men and women should receive equal opportunity to develop their potential  BUT: women‘s participation in politics will be temporary = natural division of labour: men = income-earners, women = take care of family o Betty Friedan:  Women should have the choice to have a fulfilling life outside of family and domesticity  Women‘s full participation in politics = changes to society and family 1. Daycare 2. Men doing housework 3. Women‘s issues Socialist & Marxist Feminism  Their answer: no  economic sphere  Key thinkers: o Moral socialists  Fourier = social progress linked to progress of women; collective housekeeping and child-rearing arrangements 1. As women are held back in society, so will the society as a whole  Owen = easier divorces o Marx:  State and community look after children & domestic activities o Engels:  Family is a microcosm of class struggle: 1. husband = capitalist, 2. wife = worker –domestic services, etc  Women need to be brought into public industry = exploitation under family will be eliminated; end women’s oppression in family  Equality rights of liberals is essential but not sufficient o Many female thinkers also! > Maria Mies, Alison Jaggar, Iris Young, and Juliet Mitchell  Key ideas: o Capitalism produces family structures which perpetuate capitalism o Family is a functional economic unit of capitalism o MAIN IDEA: Double burden/double day carried by women –work at a job followed by work at home AND work at home followed by more work at home o What ―counts‖
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