WSTA03H3 Chapter Notes -Heterosexism, David Jessel, Nancy Hartsock

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Published on 2 Feb 2013
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
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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
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
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
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