WSTA03H3 Chapter Notes -Heterosexuality, Bisexuality, Gender Mainstreaming

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Anissa Talahite- Moodley

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WGSTA03H3S: Theories of
Fall 2012
Week 2 readings: (Pp.1-21)
What is feminism?
- An organized social movement trying to get
equality between men and women
- It arose in the 19th century in Europe,
America, and Japan
The first wave of modern feminism: (19th-20th C)
- Many rights were denied to all women
1. Rights to equal treatment
- The legal status of free women was:
economically dependent and deriving their
social status from their father or husband
- What theory of equality did the feminists
use in their fight? The liberal political
philosophy said that all men should be
equal under the law, and that no one should
have special privileges or rights
- The biggest goal was to get equal legal
rights for women, esp. the vote = “suffrage”
- Suffrage: right to vote in political elections
- US gave VOTING rights to women in 1920,
Russia in the early 20th C, France in
1945ish, and China in 1948ish
- Property, earning, and higher education
rights were granted by the end of the 19th
century and gave women a chance for
economic independence
2. Rights to “own” her body and plan
- The right to contraception was not
controlled by women
- Doctors were forbidden to fit women with
- Abortion was forbidden in many states
The second wave of modern feminism: (1960s)
- It began after Simone de Beaufoire
published the book in France: The second
sex argued that women were the second sex
and should be dominated by men
- In the 1960s and 1970s feminists focused on
o getting entry into occupations and
professions dominated by men
o Eliminated sexual violence,
prostitution and pornography; sexist
depictions of women; sexual
harassment of workers and students
o Changing language, knowledge, and
history to include women’s
o Legalizing abortion and fighting rape
Third wave of modern feminism: (1990)
- It is a movement of younger feminists who
grew up with feminism
- They reject the idea that women are
oppressed by men
- They assume that gender inequality is norm
- They believe that women’s agency and
female sexuality are forms of power
- They tend to do their politics in social
settings rather than formal organizations
Gender inequality:
- Work most often done by women, such as
teaching small children and nursing, is paid less
than work most often done by men such as
constructing and mining.
- Girls get less education than boys of the same
social class
- Men get priority over women in the distribution
of health care services
- Women are sexually exploited and violated
- Women face domestic violence
- Bodies of girls and women are used for sex
work pornography and prostitution
- men have to do more dangerous work
- Only men serve in the armed forces
- Women do 2/3 of the world’s work, receive
10% of the worlds income, and own 1% of the
world’s property
- Most countries are run by men and their policies
reflect their interests!
- So, all men benefit from patriarchal
privileges: women’s unpaid work maintaining
homes and bringing up children; women’s low
paid work servicing hospitals, schools, and
myriad other workplaces; and women’s
emotional nurturing and caretaking
INDIVIDUAL matter; it is something deeply
ingrained in the structures of societies.
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