Week 2: Wednesday September 18 The Trouble with ‘Normal’: Questioning ‘Truth’ &
Distribution of Assignment #1 (Library Research Assignment) at the beginning of lecture.
Friedan, The Problem That Has No Name (CK)
• What is the problem?**
• Women are wanting more in their lives than being a housewife. Taking care of the children
and living to please their husband no longer fulfills them anymore. It is to be said that it is
the pinnacle of femininity to peruse this lifestyle, but women must give up their goals and
dreams/desires to peruse a different life path as the housewife whos daily routine to care
for the children, the home and her husband should provide her all the love and fulfillment
her life desires. But this is slowly no longer the case as women fall into depressions and
other mental states as they plead for more out of their life
• Who has the problem?
• Women in the 40s/50s that are housewives
• Who is Frieda's audience? What is the demographic profile of the women to whom friedan is
referring (class, race, etc)?
• Females from the age of 20-60, looking for careers and their life goals to provide them
fulfillment. Possibly middle class and do any race.
• What factors does friedan claim have exacerbated the problem?**
• Claim to be exacerbated by education (teaching women that theres more to life then
housewifery) and domestic routine becoming tedious and dealing with demands of
• Irl its probably just their innate feeling that theres more to life out there and seeing their
fellow housewives being disregarded and never given a chance to be their own person and
achieve their own dreams
• Ideal femininity is told to be created through fulfilling housewifery
• What is the source of the problem (core argument being made)?
• Education,domestic routine, femininity ideal
• What is needed to solve the problem (reform the system/transform it. How)?
• Allow women to peruse their own goals outside of the home and find fulfillment in
different ways that may not be associated with ideal femininity
Combahee River Collective, A Black Feminist Statement (CK)
• What is the core thesis of the article (i.e. What ties all the claims/points in the essay together)?
• Black women need equality through the front of feminism and race.
• Double minority
• Why was it necessary for black feminists to make a feminist statement? What obstacles did
• They face racism through ever facet, even general feminist groups
• They face sexism
• They face class privilege / lack of resources/ power
• They must make statements to allow their voices to be heard and acknowledged and to
promote change to be noted
• Who is The Combahee River Collective’s audience? • Black females empowered to make a change, of middle/lower class and of ages 20-50
• How do the member of the collective describe “system of oppression” and what do they
suggest is needed to address these systems of oppression?**
• system of oppression is the american political system and it has been determined to oppress
racial and sexual castes
• Women must adversary stance to white male rule and actively resist its inroads upon them
and their communities (becoming black activities)
• Reflect on the following statement: “if Black women were free, it would mean that everyone
else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the
systems of oppression” true or not true?
• I feel it is not true as there are other races/minorities that are equally as unfree as the
blacks, though they feel they are the least free of them all. We must stop all oppression
towards race, sex and sexuality first before stating all is free. Destructive systems of
oppression are always in place to keep classes intact and a hierarchy
- Liberal Feminism: showing femininity though their actions and choices of how they live their
- Interlocking systems of oppression: many facets leading into oppression (race, sex, sexuality)
- Antiracist feminism: feminist groups tend to focus on white race, inadvertently oppressing the
black. Antiracist feminism would allow for promotion for the equality of all women of all race
- Identity politics: most profound and potentially radical politics come from our own identity
(opposed to working to end someone else's oppression). Fighting for our own individual
- Personal is political:encouraging women to think that the experience of discrimination,
exploitation or oppression automatically corresponds with an understanding of the ideological
and institutional apparatus shaping ones social status
- Consciousness-raising: meeting in groups to discuss the oppression and bring to light all the
areas that need revelations (race, class, sex)
- Lesbian separatism: men rejecting lesbians because of their biological maleness
- Biological determinism: we are the way we are because of our biology. Nature!
- Socialist feminism: focus on abortion right activities and have a narrowness ideology and
- Intersectionality: social identity as the simultaneous interplay of race, gender, class, disability,
sexuality, age, etc. i.e. “we do not live single issue lives.” (Lorde, 1984)
- Women centered space:
- Reform vs transformational change:
- Structural inequality: political/societal hierarchy creates inequality through cultural and social
Lecture: Week 2:
- Why Gender & Women’s Studies?
- Questioning ’T’ruth & ‘K’nowledge
- Feminist Approaches: Key Considerations Why Gender & Women’s Studies?
• Think! Critique! Create! Act! Transform!
– Critique our society
– Educate ourselves to make a difference
– Duty to learn and see complexities
• Critical & Interdisciplinary Perspective – unlearning norms i.e. seeing oppression,
marginalization, discrimination etc.
• Social Justice/Activism – Addressing oppression
– crucial to all aspects of our personal and professional/collective lives (society:
community, national, global)
• Social construction – Society creates us i.