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Women's and Gender Studies
Victoria Tahmasebi

Are you in anthroFEMINIST THEORIES FINAL 1. Feminist Theory What is theory? It is more than just an speculation. It involves critical thinking, reflection, and analysis. - Theory is a set of abstract principles which is the outcome of the analysis of given facts in their relation to one another Theory effects- challenges common sense, questions assumptions, and offers an alternative explanation. What is feminism? - studying and understanding gender as a system of cultural signs - these cultural signs have direct effect on how we live - The present gender systems is structured by a binary opposition--masculinefeminine - This binary privileges men more often than women - Qualification: other binary oppositions are always at work - Feminism thinks these facts are wrong and need to be changed Feminist theory is concerned with womens inequality. They examine the conditions in which men are powerful than women. It explains the construction of masculinity and femininity. 2. Liberal feminist theory Their definition of human nature: - What distinguishes us from other species is our reason. We are rational and autonomous (we are isolated). - We possess self-consciousness and free will. - We are intrinsically self-interested Who are women? - They believe women are fundamentally the same as men. - Women should be able to do what men do. Womens position in society? 1 - They believe that the public and private spheres have imprisoned women into the private sphere which creates invisible barriers for them. The solution? - Women should receive equal rights as men in the labour market. - The value of womens autonomy and freedom. - Reform rather than revolution. - Equal access to opportunities - Equal Redistribution of benefits and opportunities among men and women Achievements: - The attainment of womens legal equality with men - Equality of men and women before the law - Affirmative action- a strategy developed to redress the gender, racial, and ethnic differences in workplaces and schools. - Abortion as a womans right. - highlighting violence against women Critiques: - Its conception of human nature or the self: *Women are socialized to be interdependent and emotional *Womens sense of self is not abstract but situated and concrete *Women do not live by reason, autonomy and self-isolation alone - It values the so called male traits. - It equates male being with human being, maybe saying women are not human beings? - It essentializes femininity and masculinity. That you must either have masculine traits or feminine, nothing in between. - It does not fully acknowledge racism, classism and heterosexism. - They focus on heterosexual relationships and two-parent families that are middle-class. 3. Radical feminist theory 2
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