WS100 Final Exam Review 2.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Women & Gender Studies
Karen Stote

WS100 Final Exam Review Lecture 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:Amovement 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:Asystem 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:Asystem 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 andAboriginal Women The failure of feminist movement to employ an intersectional analysis ledAboriginal women to criticize feminism Ex. Western feminist claim that patriarchy is universal Devaluation ofAboriginal 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 Hierarchy of oppression quote –Audrey Lorde Personal is political” Personal is attached to politics Ex.Access to abortion Lecture 2: Waves of Feminism Feminist Theory (Guest Speaker): • Theory is thought as “stat” or “frame”, what’s inside the frame (what’s within the frame and what’s left out of the frame). • To understand: (eg. Inequality, oppression, injustice, division of rights and responsibilities, etc). • The word “feminism” came from France in 1910 as a “negative” word, but it became a “positive” word in 1913. • In 1920s, women got to vote (1st wave). • In 1960s, second wave and 1990s, third wave. The major second wave feminist theories: 1. Liberal feminism: says that women had problems due to barriers; and the solution will be to remove the barrier. This is because women were not educated, had no politic standings, and looked weaker in society than men. Women have to remove the barrier by reaching the regulation standards (e.g change the law, become a firefighter through educations). • Focus: Women have minds too • Decide for self, have rights, participate in public life • Individual liberties freedom, choice, blah blah • Reformist • Women seek equality to men • Fit women into status quo • Meritocracy: means to take away all the barriers, people will enjoy the place they want to be; everything will be right. (Equal playing field: mental and physical disabilities will enter the problem, diversity of ethnicity, personality, economics, etc. will always be the factor of inequality). • Solution: remove barriers re Education, Laws, Politics, Professions, etc. - 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 the male standard is desirable • Got the women's vote • Participate in public life • Ignores past difficulties women had to deal with prior to equality (Also: quality to WHICH men?) – Most are not so “awesome” (uh huh…) 1. 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 • Liberal feminism = everything stays the same, just include women; Radical feminism = change everything completely • "Violence against women" is radical feminist thought - The root of oppression: female biology -> subordination (Women as childbearers and childrearers) Solutions: • Reproduction: each women must determine for herself when 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 would be to escape confines of heterosexuality, 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: Fredrick Engels says women = a class and it’s the first class to be oppressed 1st division of labour: by sex. Women = a class (oppression began: private property -> Capitalism) • Afew men own -> oppress other men and all women • View women as property E.g. Father giving away bride to groom • Women literally exchanged • Work for nothing or very little • - Solution: overthrow capitalism • - Positives: • Addresses economic oppression • Somewhat -> public/private labour • - Negatives: • Non-capitalist societies • Focus too much on reproductions 1. Socialist Feminism: complex roles: mother, daughter, lover, worker • Focus: UNITY and INTEGRATION • Economic issues, cultural issues • Mixture between Marxist/radical • Make feminism public/private • Need to get rid of economic (Marxist)/cultural(Radical) issues to solve problem • Women have economic dependence on men • Positives: • Brings together many theories • Focuses on complexity of situation • Strengths of and critique of both Marxist and radical • Adds domestic responsibilities, role of house hold, family to Marxism, adds class + history to radical feminism • Negatives: • There are too many to cover up (e.g if given a 500-word essay to describe the theory of Social Feminism, it will be impossible due to the complexity, the mutual theories between with Radical and Marist feminism). Multiracial feminism (used to be called “anti-racist” “black feminism” etc.) • Among first -> multiplicity of female experience • Race as a crucial category of oppression and analysis • Criticizes norms of other feminist theories • Gender not necessarily the most important of oppression • More than one type of oppression - intersectionality • Not only female, but race is also a factor in oppression • Different experiences • Woman on one side of the world will have different life/experience than the other Other feminist’s theories: • Postmodern feminism • Postcolonial feminism • Global feminism • Psychoanalytic feminism • Existentialist feminism Lecture 3: Science and Social Construction of Difference • - Sex: Refers to distinction between males and females as a result of biological, physical and genetic differences - Often viewed as biological, based in nature and fixed - Gender: “Refers to the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated with being [a man or a women] at a particular point in time” - Difference between “sex” and “gender” - Does sex = gender? - Male = man/female=woman? - Gender is a social construct - Roles are not inevitable; product of social forces - How has the socially constructed idea of “woman” changed over time? - Emily Kane's study found that parents encouraged gender non-conformity in their daughters more than sons - If sex does not determine gender, what does this mean for gender? - Man and woman are not binary opposites - Gender exists on continuum- Sex is a social construct because the binary biological distinction between male and female is not natural or inevitable - “Shades of difference” -All fetuses begin as female - Scientific baggage - Science is influenced by preexisting cultural biases - Impacts what is studied, how studies are conducted and the interpretation of results - Science is influenced by external forces such as the pharmaceutical industry, governments, etc. - Preexisting ideas influence how results are interpreted - Beliefs about gender roles shape the way menstruation is portrayed in medical texts - Words such as “regression, decline, atrophy, shrinkage and disturbance” are used to describe menstruation - Shedding of stomach lining is similar process to shedding of uterine lining during menstruation; however, stomach's process is described in terms of renewal and protection rather than decline and atrophy - Comparison is significant because it demonstrates that a more neutral vocabulary could be employed to describe menstruation, and that it is the pre- existing social attitude towards women and menstruation that influences the manner in which menstruation is described - Emily Martin; Chapter 12; the woman in the body: a cultural analysis of reproduction - With the discovery of sex hormones in 1905 scientists found a new way to justify old beliefs regarding innate male and female characteristics. Yet the allegedly objective scientific fact that hormones explain gender differences is not as straightforward as it appears. Given that both of the so-called ‘male’ and ‘female’ sex hormones exist in every organism, “chemically speaking, all organisms are both male and female” (Oudshoorn 39). How, then, did the medical explanation that women are irrational, hysterical, and inferior due to their hormonal nature rise to prominence, given that these same hormones are present in (allegedly) superior men? - The revelation that hormonally men and women are the same should have spelled the end of gender discrimination based on sex. Despite the fact that the belief is completely erroneous, many people still consider women to be ruled by their hormones; medicine encourages this misconception.Aglance at popular media will show that women are often depicted as being at the mercy of their hormones. For males, there is no equivalent deviant behaviour that is blamed on their hormonal make up. • - The revelation that hormonally men and women are the same should have spelled the end of gender discrimination based on sex. Despite the fact that the belief is completely erroneous, many people still consider women to be ruled by their hormones; medicine encourages this misconception.A glance at popular media will show that women are often depicted as being at the mercy of their hormones. For males, there is no equivalent deviant behaviour that is blamed on their hormonal make up. • - Pre-existing ideas influence how results are interpreted... • - Nelly Oudshoorn: Chapter 11 & Beyond the Natural Body - Pre-existing ideas influence how results are interpretedAND what is studied... • - The existing gender relations also influence the way sex hormones are used in medicine (Oudshoorn 110). Female sex hormones were utilized to create treatments for menopause, and to create new methods of birth control. Though treatments have been created to address male impotence, there are no other comparable medical treatments for males. • - Researchers did attempt to address male menopause, as well as contraception; however, these research areas were not seen as legitimate subjects, and researchers were pressured by their
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