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WS100 Midterm 1 Review

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Women & Gender Studies
Karen Stote

1. Feminism and Intersections of Oppression - Myths about Feminism - They all hate men - Don't shave legs - Lesbians - All have same beliefs - Feminists want to be "just like men" - Want to be different but equal - Feminism: A movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression - Sexism: Attitudes and behaviours based on traditional stereotypes about men and women - Beliefs about superiority of men to women - Discriminatory practices based on belief - Sexism affects women and men - Women are treated in certain ways and men are encouraged to view and treat women in these ways - Patriarchy: A system of society/government in which men hold the power and women are largely ignored - Where men are privileged through political, social and economic institutions - Privilege: "Can refer to enjoyment of greater social, political or economic rights, entitlements, and/or advantages based on your membership in a dominant group..." - Capitalist patriarchy: A system based on the oppression of women and the maximization of profit through private ownership of the means of production - Not just about men as individuals, but how women are treated by the system - How do these laws oppress women? - Oppression: The mistreatment of a group of people by society and/or another group of people with the mistreatment being encouraged/enforced by society and its culture, laws, practices, etc. - Can also be individual - Prejudicial attitudes and actions - Institutional/societal - When policies, laws, rules and customs are enacted by organizations and social institutions that disadvantaged some social groups and advantage others - Institutions could include religion, government, education, law the media and health care systems - Marilyn Frye and Oppression - Oppression and bird cage - We live in our own cage - If you only look at one bar, you might not understand why the bird can't fly away - Different bars - Patriarchy, sexism, etc. - Small, everyday problems/actions may not be seen as a big deal, but when you look at them as part of a whole, they become a bigger problem - Intersectionality - Not everyone is oppressed in the same way - We have multiple identities and social locations - The way these locations intersect is our unique experience of oppression/privilege - This approach is more fluid, inclusive and avoids "one truth" - Include: - Social, economic status, race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, geographic location, citizenship, nationality, refugee status, etc. - Intersectionality and Aboriginal Women - The failure of feminist movement to employ an intersectional analysis led Aboriginal women to criticize feminism - Ex. - Western feminist claim that patriarchy is universal - Devaluation of Aboriginal motherhood/materialism - Western feminist goal of "equality" v.s. respect for difference - Aboriginal gender oppression is related to cultural oppression/colonialism - Aboriginal women can't afford to only fight gender oppression - An intersectional analysis allows us to consider many issues that are unique to Aboriginal women and the reason for their oppression - Feminism is about understanding how our lives are shaped by larger social forces and seeking to transform these when they are unjust - Seeks to make it "personal is political" - Coined by women in the 1960's who were seeking to explain their experiences and understand how these were shaped by social forces - Ex. Why are women doing the bulk of child care? Why do women lack knowledge about/control over their reproduction? - The way society Is organized has a direct impact on experience - Can include men too - Way of thinking; political perspective - About questioning status quo - The idea that only women can be feminists is based on essentialism - The idea that men/women possess inherent behavioural traits based on biological sex 2. Feminist Theory - Theory is thought as a “stat” or “frame”, what's inside the frame (what's within the frame and what's left of the frame) - To understand: (e.g. Inequality, oppression, injustice, division of rights and responsibilities, etc.) - The word “feminism” came from France in 1910 as a “negative” words, but became a positive word in 1913 - 1920's; women got to vote (first wave) - 1960's; second wave - 1990's; third wave - Major second wave feminist theories 1. Liberal feminism - Says that women had problems due to barriers - Solution is to remove barriers - Women were not educated, had no political standings, and looked weaker in society than men - Women have to remove barrier by reaching the regulation standards - E.g. Change the law, become a firefighter through education - Focus: - Women have minds too - Decide for self, have rights, participate in public life - Individual liberties, freedom, choice, etc. - Reformist - Women seek equality to men - Fit women into status quo - Meritocracy: Take away all barriers, people will enjoy the place they want to be; everything will be right - Ex. Equal playing field; mental and physical disabilities will enter the problem, diversity of ethnicity, personality, economics, etc. will always be factor of inequality - Reform: keep system intact but make system within - Revolution: complete overthrow, taking out by root - Focus: public, differences - Problems - Stress on equality ignores differences - Assumes that male standard is desirable 2. Radical feminism - Women are controlled by men through sexuality - E.g. Pornography, reproduction, etc. - Radical = “root” (NOT “extreme”) - The system (patriarchy) cannot be reformed - Needs to be “ripped out”/changed - Need a revolution, not just legality - Root of oppression: female biology -> subordination (women as childbearers/childrearers) - Reproduction: Each woman must determine for herself whether or not to use controls or aids for reproduction - Gender: Social scripts, masculinity and femininity; all humans have both; femininity and female qualities devalued and femininity constructed by men - Sexuality: Male sexual domination, female sexual submission, controlled women's sexuality for male pleasure - Solution; promote female sexuality like autoeroticism, lesbianism, etc. - Radical vs. Cultural feminism - Radical (1967-1975); cultural developed post 1975 - Radical is the media (e.g. There were no female bands before) 1. Marxist feminism - F. Engels says women = a class and it's the first class to be oppressed - First division of labour: by sex - Women = a class (oppression began; private property -> capitalism) - A few men own -> oppress other men and all women - View women as property - Women literally exchanged - Work for nothing or very little - Solution: Overthrow capitalism - Positives: Addresses economic oppression; somehwat -> public/private labour - Negatives: Non-capitalist societies; focus too much on reproductions 2. Social feminism - Complex roles; mother, daughter, lover, worker - Focus: UNITY and INTEGRATION - Positives: - Bring together many theories - Focuses on complexity of situation - Strengths and critique of both Marxist and radical - Adds domestic responsibilities, role of household, family to Marxism, adds class and history to radical feminism - Negatives: - There are too many to cover up - E.g. If given a 500 word essay to describe theory of social feminism, it will be impossible due to the complexity, the mutual theories between radical and marxist feminism 3. Multiracial feminism - Used to be called “anti-racist” or “black feminism” - Among first -> multiplicity of female experience - Race as crucial category of oppression and analysis - Criticizes norms of other feminist theories - Gender not necessarily the most important of oppression - Other feminist theories: - Postmodern feminism - Postcolonial feminism - Global feminism
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