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Chapter 8

MDSA01 - Chapter 8: Feminist Analysis

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Media Studies
Ted Petit

8Feminist AnalysisMmasculine FfeminineFeminist scholars concentrate on how biological categories like male and female become conflated with cultural gender expectations resulting in discriminatory social systems that privilege men over womenFeminismsA political project that explores the diverse ways men and women are socially empowered or disempoweredContrary to popular belief feminism is not antimale It is a movement to end sexism sexist exploitation and oppressionSexismA discrimination based upon a persons sexFeminism is focused on deconstructing sexist oppression present in our everyday norms and experiencesA number of interlocking factors contribute to the creation of a sexist social system The first is the confusion between sex and gendersexbiologicalThe innate biological differentiation between men and women anatomy reproduction hormones etcgenderculturalThe culturally constructed differences between men and women tastes roles activities etcIt is a biological fact that only women give birth to children but the tendency to view women as nurturing and mothering is a gendered qualityA good way to distinguish between sex and gender is to look at the respective categories they governSex refers to the categories male and female while gender refers to the categories masculine and feminineA Y chromosome is a male trait whereas aggressiveness is a masculine oneEssentialismThe belief that gender distinctions are innate and naturalTrouble arises when we confuse gendered qualities with sexual ones understanding culturally constructed norms as innate biological traitsEx the common belief in American society that women are naturally more emotional than men is a result of this confusionPatriarchyAnother factor intrinsic to our sexist social systemIt is a system of power relations in which womens interests are subordinated to those of menEssentializing a group is one way of defining them and marking their worth and patriarchy essentializes women in a way that devalues them while predominantly serving the interests of menPatriarchal systems empower men and disempower women by making constructed gendered power imbalances seem natural and innateEx If we believe that women are biologically predetermined to fail at math and science then it makes sense that the majority of workers in highpaying engineering and medical occupations are menThe often tangible benefits that men reap from this system make them less likely to
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