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WMST 200 Final Exam Review.pdf

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Women's Studies
WMST 200
Melissa White

WMST 200 Final Exam Review December 14, 2011 GENDER ESSENTIALISM - gender essentialism: the assertion that women’s experiences can be isolated and described independently of race, class, sexuality and other social relations - sex vs gender - sex: - biological traits that signal that you are male, female or intersex - often assumed to be fixed (it’s not quite that simple though) - gender: - socially constructed expressions of “maleness” (masculinity) and “femaleness” (femininity) - there are more than two genders; varies by culture and over time (some native groups have a third gender called “two-spirited people”) - sex and gender do no necessarily need to match up - feminists began to blur the lines between one woman’s experiences and the experiences of all women in all cultures, societies and economic groups - for example, racist and sexist experiences of one black women turned into the generalized experiences of all black women - essentialist forms of feminism turned women’s problems into addition problems (racism + sexism = black women’s experiences) - Nicole Brossard: - Brossard’s work can be seen as a necessity of essentialism for feminism - essentialism is seen through her view of women’s continued subordination - Cressida Heyes: believes it is sometimes necessary to draw a line around the category “women” - necessary to classify in order to raise consciousness about feminist movements in the current political climate - drawing the line around “woman” is a political act and depends on both context and politics - biology is not a basis for drawing the line as demonstrated through the experiences of transgender and transexuals - the deepest challenges to the boundary of the term “women” come from those whose gender presentation does not conform to their birth gender - the reactions of confusion, distaste and violence towards people whose bodies do not accommodate sexual dimorphism, or whose gender identity deviates from their sex assignment, demonstrates the deep psychological and political dependence within dominant Western cultures on sex-gender conformity ANTI-RACIST FEMINISM - Enaksi Dua: anti-racism feminist thought interrogates the way race and gender function together in structuring social inequality - anti-racist feminism does not focus on differences, but the social relations that produce identity groups and power relations among women - anti-racism feminist thought critiques women’s studies’ narrow focus on “women” and that their primary focus reflects white and racialized women’s uneven relationship to the mode in which they are produced in women’s studies - the unevenness is not only based on differences, but differences that are ranked - Himani Bannerji: emphasizes the lack of writings on women of colour, third-world and southern European women in Canadian feminist theory - racism is invisible because it is historically part of how we see things in everyday life - Draws on Antonio Gramsci’s notion of “common sense racism” - Canadian anti-racist feminist thought is defined by the production of “differences” and social, economic, and political implications of “differences” - standpoint anti-racist feminism: - Focus on the lived experiences of women of colour - Allows for an understanding of how the discourse of race shaped colonialism, imperialism and capitalism - Key question: how are racial differences between women created and maintained? POST-COLONIAL AND NATIVE FEMINISMS - focussed on: - How processes of colonization are also gendered - The experiences of First Nations women - Developing theory from a First Nations perspective - critiques the Western perspective of much feminist theory - colonization of Aboriginal peoples: the invasion, subjugation and dispossession of natives who had their land taken from them by the government - though the term “Native” is often essentialized, indigenous women are all quite different - Indian status, mixed-blood, Métis, etc. - Jeannette Armstrong: colonization has suppressed Aboriginal cultural beliefs, forms of government, undermined the place and value of women in Aboriginal cultures - violence, dispossession, erosion of family and mothering through the residential schools policy and seizure of children by child welfare organizations have dehumanized native women WAVE METAPHOR - evokes surges, ebbs and flows - First wave: - 1880s-1920s in Canada - 1840s-1920s in U.S. - Seneca Falls Convention, 1848 - fight to gain the vote of middle-class women - issues: suffrage, education, property rights, dress reform, temperance - suffrage (right to vote): - suffrage rights were unevenly and unequally won - 1884: widows and spinsters granted right to vote in Ontario - 1917: War-Time Conscription Act have certain women right to vote in all provinces - Aboriginal women did not have voting rights until 1960 - the Person’s Case (1927-1929): - in Canada, women not legally considered people until 1929 - ruling allowed women to attend university and sit on Senate - “Famous Five”: Nelly McClung, Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise Kinney - decline: - suffrage partially achieved - onset of World War I - flow of energy into pacifist movements - “First Wave Feminism” as a term was coined by Marsha Lear in 1968; drew parallels between the emerging feminist movement in the 1960s and the earlier battles from suffrage - second wave: - 1960s-1980s - civil rights movement in the U.S. - issues: reproductive rights (birth control, abortion, maternity leave), equal pay, media representations, violence against women - focus on institutional change (legal equalities) - Canadian Royal Commission on the Status of Women - National Action Committee on the Status of Women - strategies: marches, consciousness-raising groups, women-only spaces - Henry Morgentaler: - doctor who performed safe and sterile abortions for women, beginning in the late 1960s, prior to the legalization of abortion - jailed - advocate for women’s rights to choose - critiques: - primarily focusses around the interest of white middle-class women - perceived as anti-porn and anti-S/M - decline: - in US context, associated with the election of Ronald Reagan and the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment (proposed change to US constitution which would entrench equality rights) - backlash and increasing conservatism - third wave: - 1990s-2000s - issues: media representations, intersection of race/class/gender/sexuality, queer and trans rights - coined by Rebecca Walker in 1991 - strategies: - less focus on institutional change - more focus on cultural production (zines, blogs, crafts) - protesting/marches - having fun - global and transnational feminisms - Slutwalk: - started in Toronto - advocacy for a woman’s right to wear sexy clothes and not be harassed or assaulted - reclamation of the word “slut” - critiques: - too dismissive of second-wave feminism - too individualistic - politically ineffective - some people say that a fourth wave was started in the wake of 9/11 - limitations of wave metaphor: - focusses on first-world feminism - focused on the achievements of white middle-class women - does not account for coalition politics - does not account for activity in the inter-wave periods POST-FEMINISM - a discourse that feminism is over and on longer necessary - a view that equality has largely been achieved - popular mainstream media - influence of “post-feminism” is evident in government practices, such as the removal of the word “equality” from government policy CONSENT - Melanie Beres - Writes from the position of a sexual assault educator - Men are constructed as the more active agents - Women constructed as the objects of male sexual drive discourse - Too much assertiveness regarding casual sex is constructed as “slutty” - many stories from YAJ (young adults in Jasper) women suggested they were not interested in sex - Consent discourse is gendered: something that women give to men - Communicating consent - Verbal cues - Non-verbal cues - Body language - men and women are likely very aware of the subtle communication patterns, thus need to ask tougher questions to those accused of sexual assault - What makes i
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