Feminist Theories.docx

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Women's and Gender Studies
Victoria Tahmasebi

Feminist Theories Liberal Feminism 1. The concept of human self is abstract. They are rational, autonomous and act on free will. Intrinsically self-interested. Essentially isolated. 2. Men and women are sexually undifferentiated. Woman is what a man is there is no difference. Women should be able to do what men do 3. Society is divided into private/public spheres. Women don’t have equal rights in private spheres. There are artificial barriers for women. 4. Women should have equal rights with men. Rights to compete with men in labor market. Equal benefits. Should have sense of autonomy and freedom. Should have equal access to opportunities and self-entitlement. Reform rather than revolution 5. Affirmative Action. Equality with men in front of law, equal rights. Abortion legalized. Highlighted violence against women 6. Critiques argued liberal feminists view of humans and self-concept. Women are socialized to be interdependent and emotional. Their self is not abstract but situated and concrete. They do not live just live by autonomy, self-isolation and reason alone. It valued the so called male traits and equated being human with being male. Essentializes femininity and masculinity and doesn’t fully acknowledges sexism, racism, classism and heterosexism 7. A Theory of Female Subordination- Article- highlights how women’s segregation and subjugation is done culturally. So many sources legitimates females lower place in society. Media teaches women have different ways of thinking. Pluralistic ignorance is when people share collective opinions that are empirically incorrect. Radical Feminism 1. Human nature is not neutral. We are born into sexed bodies (men and women) , gender roles, relations, scripts and identities are then written on our sexed bodies. Men and women are different both by nature and nurture. Sex gender regime in society is hierarchical. Sex gender system is a set of arrangements by which biological sexuality is transformed into products of human activity. 2. Womanhood must be celebrated. They are different from men. Not an inferior sex. Equality doesn’t mean sameness. Some radical feminists think woman embodies goodness and world made by woman would be warm, supportive, nurturing and full of creativity 3. Women are oppressed as woman. The cause of women’s oppression is the existing sex gender regimes which follows patriarchy (rule of father). Patriarchy is a systematic organization of male supremacy and female subordination. There are 3 usages of patriarchy: historical, materialist & psychological. Sexual oppression is the oldest form of inequality 4. Shared sisterhood between women and forge social and political bonds. Men are beneficiaries of patriarchy and male domination but not all men are the same. Femininity and womanhood should be valued. Reform is not enough we need to change the organization of power relations between the sexes. Emphasis should be put on small group organization. Practical political strategies. Small-scale radical changes in life- micro politics. Whatever is personal is political. Issues involve motherhood, women’s control over their bodies 5. Achievements are far-reaching. Social and cultural achievements involve giving women the control on their bodies. Valuing motherhood by giving importance to women’s reproductive system. Challenging heterosexuality as the only form of women’s sexuality. Legal and Political achievements involve criminalizing child pornography, bringing attention to harms of pornography itself. Criminalizing sexual violence against women including marital and date rape and highlighting the nature of sexual violence 6. Women are not that different from men and it is wrong to glorify women’s qualities by bringing down the other. Radical feminists universalized patriarchy by not considering the diversity of many societies. They also ignored economic inequality for women by focusing on micro changes. Lesbian sexuality is not intrinsically emancipatory and violence exists even in lesbian relationships 7. Documentary- Burning Times- National Film Board of Canada- Donna Reed. Goodbye to All That – Article- talks about how women are working for the society. Womanhood celebrated and saying that woman rights are human rights. Marxist & Socialist Feminism 1. Marxist & Socialist feminists see humans as laboring animals/ different from animals because they produce things socially and make tools. Their views differ from what liberalism claims. Human nature is the ability to produce and that humans engage in socially productive activities. We are who we are because of what we produce. Agrees with Liberalism that there is an underlying sameness between men and women. Capitalism. Differences are based on class difference not gender difference. Class relations define men & women. 2. A woman is a socially productive person. Defined by her location in the web of social and economic production. No one shared womanhood: Example: working-class women vs. capitalist women. Marxist feminism: no abstract “womanhood”. Women are defined by their location in capitalist system. Socialist feminism: capitalism and patriarchy make a woman who she is (do you see the traces of Radical Feminism?). Woman is not defined by sex but by her position in society. 3. The causes of women’s subordination:  Capitalism is the main source of women’s oppression  Hierarchical & antagonistic class relations.  Sexual oppression is a dimension of class oppression 3 dimensions 1. Control of women sexuality continue to pass along 2. Women’s unpaid reproductive labor at home for love raising next generation capitalists 3. Women’s work outside of home, paid, productive work/labor  The source of women’s exploitation: cheap and unpaid labor (either at home or at work) 4. The solutions proposed by Marxist & Socialist Feminists include According to M & S feminists the solution is to change the social organization of society and make it more family oriented as capitalism is the main source of inequality and the dream of equality b/w men and women can never be achieved in capitalis
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