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Chapter 1-9

WGS101H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-9: Ray Rice, Judith Butler, Hegemonic Masculinity

Women and Gender Studies
Course Code
Joan Simalchik

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Pimentel 1
Women and Gender Studies Reading Notes
Week 1- Chapter 1, Bromley Feminism and Other ‘F-words’ , p 1-11
Feminisms help us to understand ourselves and the world in which we live
They redress oppression to bring social change
Feminized bodies may be hyper sexualized and masculinized bodies hyper-
Feminisms encourage one to think about the world critically, empathically, imaginatively
and with hope
Essentialism: the idea that a woman or man can be defined by a single or group of
Sex: “what’s between the legs” largely based on the assumption that genitalia is fixed at
birth, refers to the biological characteristics that separate men and women on visible
differences in genitalia and reproductive capacities, sexual categories now have been
Gender: socially and historically constructed assumptions about men and women,
“what’s between the ears, It is cultural and reflects the ways in which the social
categories of masculine and feminine are preformed
We have been socialized to preform particular gender roles aligned with traditional
notions of femininity and masculinity
How being a woman is equated to being feminine, nurturing, irrational, subordinate,
passive, domestic, virginal and dependent
Social construction, like a house, is not permanent, however they are powerful and
difficult to change
Binary thinking is part of the problem- black/white male/female objective/subjective
Patriarchy ensures the power of men and valuing of masculine characteristics
Why must feminine characteristics seem so negative when embodied by men?
Power is systemic, invisible and unquestioned In our everyday life
When women embody masculine characteristics they disrupt the established social
order in society
These women are seen as problematic
Feminism are complex but can be contradictory
Feminism is a complex and fluid concept with multiple meanings, functions and layers,
which vary depending on the speaker and their experiences
Week2- Bromley Chapter 2, Feminist Contributions , pg 13-35
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Pimentel 2
Feminisms offer a way to see ourselves and the world anew
Enables us to reject the negative and move on to the good
‘Feminazi’ stereotype dominates cultural view of feminism which is why many people
don’t associate themselves as feminists
We take for granted what citizenship comes with- voting rights, regardless of gender,
race or class or sexuality, equality and freedom from discrimination
Social change and social justice- 1960s/1970s in North America, social and political
change took great impact on the world
This was a time of anti-war and peace making movements like “make love not war”
The oil crisis in the 1970s, end of racial segregation
White supremacy: White people being superior to all others
Civil rights act of 1964- made racial segregation illegal
Week 3- Bromley Chapter 3, Epistemology and Theory , p 37-45
Feminism is a theory- not just a movement
How do we know what we know if inequality is a problem of just the natural order of
Theory allows us to explain events and phenomena that we observe in relation to
broader frameworks of understanding
Opinions are subjective
Empiricism: is an epistemology, a way of knowing that acknowledges direct
observations of the world as valid ways to generate truths about the world
Epistemology: we use this to refer to the theory of knowledge of how we know what we
know but to raise other questions about the nature of knowing
Epistemology asks: What is knowledge? What knowledge is valuable? How is
knowledge acquired?
We live in a capitalist society which indeed is a theory discussed by many including Karl
Marx and Adam Smith
Theory is always about something and for someone
Theories have power- contextual and subjective
Feminist theory provides frameworks for understanding our lives, the means to envision
the way things could be different and strategies for taking action and making change
1970’s feminist theories began to expand theory framework to address issues of gender,
race, class, sexuality, ability, age, colonialism, imperialism and power
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Pimentel 3
A feminist epistemology is a reinforcing process of knowing and acting as a feminist
Taking Back the Budget
Demands women to have equal and undeniable interests in all aspects of governance,
revenue production and spending
Gender budgeting is the broad path of equality in the workplace
Week 4- Bromley, Chapter 5 , Feminist Theories, p 65-90
Feminist theory provides us with the tools to think through complex issues, ask particular
questions, develop strategies for social change
Feminist theories offer guiding principles, a politics for acting in the world
Liberal feminist theory was guided by the principles of the Enlightenment and classical
liberalism of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke
“Men should be free and equal” So what about the women?
Liberal feminists ideology of equality was equality with men, but not all men
By the 20th century, liberal feminists had theorized the public sphere (men) and private
(women were confined to the home) was the sign of women’s oppression
When women won the right to vote, they changed the definition of “citizen”
Liberal feminist thinking focused on the lives of white, privileged, Western women who
were presumed as heterosexual
These women wanted to be included in the public sphere
Marxist feminists argued that women were an oppressed class due to economic
dependence on men within the capitalist system
Men were the “elite” controlling the women who were on the “subordinate” class
Friedrich Engels suggested that the origin of women’s oppression was in men’s
patriarchal control over private property
Control (attempted) women’s reproductive capacity through patriarchy
Women’s oppression would be eliminated through economic independence of men
Two ways the independence can be achieved:
1. Women enter the paid economy
2. Socialization of housework and childrearing
Charlotte Perkins Gilman argued that housework not motherhood was the primary
obstacle to women’s independence
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