Study Guides (380,000)
CA (150,000)
McGill (6,000)
WMST (2)

WMST 200 Study Guide - Final Guide: Tokenism, Clitoris, Lesbian Literature

Women's Studies
Course Code
WMST 200
Melissa White
Study Guide

This preview shows pages 1-3. to view the full 9 pages of the document.
WMST 200 Final Exam Review
December 14, 2011
- 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
- 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
- Enaksi Dua: anti-racism feminist thought interrogates the way race and gender
function together in structuring social inequality

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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

Only pages 1-3 are available for preview. Some parts have been intentionally blurred.

- 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
- 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
- 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:
You're Reading a Preview

Unlock to view full version