56 terms

Feminism

STUDY
PLAY
What was 1st Wave feminism?
-During the 19th Century feminism was influenced by liberalism
-was concerned with attaining equal political and legal rights
-it was believe that once woman gained the vote other forms of sexual discrimination would come to an end
-characterised by the demand that women should enjoy the same legal and political rights as men
-Female suffrage was its principle goal
What were the results of First Wave feminism?
1867- female suffrage bill promoted by JS Mill was defeated
1869- Women's suffrage movement was launched in the USA
1893- New Zealand was the first country to introduce female suffrage
1918- they gained the vote in the Uk
1920- gained the vote in America
Around this time women gained wider access to education and legal barriers were removed
Who was a key first wave feminist
Mary Wollstencraft who wrote the book Vindication of the Rights of Women written against the backdrop of the French Revolution
Who revived feminist ideology?
Simone De Beauvoir when she wrote the second sex. She depicted women as being defined by their relationship with men and the way domesticity and femininity had been artificially constructed
What was Second Wave Feminism?
Mostly concerned with economic and social rights of women. Kate Millets Sexual Politics and Greer's The Female Enuch focused attention on the personal, psychological and sexual aspects of female oppression. The goal was not merely political emancipation but Women's liberation. It demanded a more far-reaching and perhaps revolutionary process of social change
Why has feminism from the 1980's onward become far less radical?
Declined in militancy and radicalism because of
-men's movement
-New right political dominance
-religious fundamentalism- emphasis on 'family values' and the role of women as wives and mothers and a dislike for single mothers and working women
What was Fragmentation and why did it occur?
Disagreements over such things like revolution and reform and racism and liberalism and separatism and lesbianism
What were the new feminist movements that occurred because of fragmentation?
-Psychoanalytical feminism-sexual differences are psychological and not biological
-Post-modern feminism- all forms of gender are relative
-Black Feminism- racism and sexism are interlinked
-Lesbian Feminism- feminism had ignored homophobia; only lesbianism allows women to genuinely escape patriarchy
What was post-modern feminism?
The widespread divisions caused by fragmentation represented feminism had now become mainstream
Due to successes such as 'new man' and the symmetrical family it was expected to lose momentum as a protest movement and become more concerned with how the new reality was to be organised and managed
How did Greer's the Whole woman spark a potential 3rd wave Feminism?
She claimed women have accepted assimilation which is something less than liberation
-Women's pay is 80% that of men
-domestic violence and rape still occurs
-treatment of women in developing world still unacceptable
Why has Wolf claimed there is a decline in feminist activity?
Feminism is too doctrinaire
The theoretical obscurity of feminist thinking
What is the distinction between sex and gender?
SEX-a biological concept indicating biology determines human destiny, these differences are therefore natural and unalterable
GENDER-this is a political or social construct where human destiny can be altered according to the political and social circumstances 'Women are made they are not born'
What 3 biological things has supposedly led to men and women performing different social roles?
BRAIN SIZE- men have larger brain sizes so are therefore more intelligent and dominated arts business ect
PHYSICAL SIZE-men's larger physical size and greater strength meant they were more suited to the heavy physical labour of agrarian and industrial economies, less important in service sector economy
CHILD BEARING AND REPRODUCTION- only women can bear children and feed young infants so was considered child bearing was a role specific for women
What do feminists believe about human nature in terms of feminism?
Androgynous as all human beings regardless of sex possess the genetic inheritance of a mother and a father and embody a blend of female and male attributes
What are feminist views on culture?
-men and women do not fit the archetypal stereotype so they cannot be a biological concept
-socially constructed stereotypes highlight the way in which women have been oppressed and discriminated against
-also indicate the way in which social change can be affected
-people should be judged on personhood and not according to their sex
What is sexism?
When someone is discriminated against on the basis of their sex and is a form of oppression; patriarchal society is based in sexual inequality and the oppression and subordination of women
What do liberal feminists believe about patriarchy?
It has resulted in an unequal distribution of rights and entitlements, more woman should be in senior positions
What is socialist feminist view of patriarchy?
Patriarchy and capitalism work together- gender inequality results from the capitalist class system- patriarchy operates in tandem with capitalism
What is the radical feminist view of Patriarchy?
Patriarchy is the chief enemy- male power is rooted in the family, male domination and female subordination is then repeated in the public sphere, only by changing the nature of the family can women's oppression be ended
For feminists what does patriarchy pervade?
It pervades the history, language and culture of humanity all of which revolves around men- God is male, the use of the word chairman and man reinforces the idea of men as the first sex
What is Kate millet's view of patriarchy?
Described patriarchal government as an institution 'that half of the populace which is female is controlled by that half which is male.' She suggests patriarchy is a hierarchic system characterised by both sexual and generational oppression
What is the traditional view of politics?
It took place in the public sphere. Liberalism stressed the separation between the state and civil society. It was acceptable for politicians to make judgements and laws that affected the public sphere, but decisions within the private sphere should be left for individuals
What did Kate Millet define politics as?
'Power structured relationships and arrangements whereby one group of persons is controlled by another' an example being government and it's citizens
What do feminists as a whole believe about politics?
It is not confined to the public sphere but is also in the private sphere as conflict and politics occurs between husband and wife and parents and children. Therefore the personal is the political
What do radical feminists believe about the private/public divide?
That female oppression begins mo the family. Housework, child rearing, and language are all political issues. Many radicals believe that the state can help end female oppression.
How can the state help end female oppression for radical feminists?
-Welfare support: equal wages, maternity and paternity benefits
-Nursery provision: workplace crèches, affordable child care
-wages for housework
What do liberal feminists view about the public/private divide?
Women should have greater access to the public sphere but the private sphere should be a place of personal choice and individual freedom
What is the socialist feminists?
Believe that what happens on the private sphere is determined by what happens in the economic sphere. If the change from capitalism to socialism occurs then the private sphere will automatically be altered
What is essentialism?
Is the idea that men and women are fundamentally different at a psycho-biological level
What are difference feminists?
They believe in essentialism as men and women have essential differences. They believe that biological differences have caused social and cultural characteristics. Difference feminists regard femininity not as a reason for being a second-class citizen but should be viewed in a positive light
What characteristics do difference feminists believe women have and what is the result of this?
Nurturing, Kind, Peaceful which means women are superior to men and women should not strive to be like men as this is a backward step. Women should be 'fulfilled women' or 'women identified'
What do difference feminists promote?
Sisterhood- childbirth, motherhood, menstruation issues
Cultural feminism- women's art, literature, history and sport
Why have post-modern feminists criticised essentialism?
On the ground that biology is not clear cut. There is a biological graduation between men and women. Sexual differences are therefore not clear cut
What is the liberal feminist view of gender equality?
Believe that equality in the political and legal spheres for men and women is essential and only through this can women be free to act and think as genuine individuals. Once women gain equal access to politics, business, science, art and culture they will be able to achieve gender equality
What do socialist feminists believe about Gender equality?
That it is not enough for women to be genuinely free and equal, only when equality is extended to the economic sphere can women be genuinely free and equal
What is the first reason why radical feminists do not believe being equal to men is sufficient?
1. Whilst women may have traditionally been the dominant gender, for many women life is one of hardship, economic subordination and emotional alienation. A desire to be equal with such a state of affairs is not a far-reaching aspiration. There is greater emphasis on a belief in women's liberation rather than aiming simply for second best inequality
What is the second reason why radical feminists see being equal with men as not sufficient?
2. Women need to pursue their own freedoms because of the differences in ambitions and needs of men and women
What do difference feminists seek in terms of gender equality?
-women's liberation can only be achieved through separatism
-gender equality is not an option
-women need to acquire all the necessary skills to live separately from men
-political lesbianism is also advocated since relationships between men and women can never be equal
What did JS Mill and Helen Taylor campaign for?
Campaigned for women's rights in the 1860's and some gains for women were made in the next decades in the areas of education, employment, public life and legal independence
What was the main issue for liberal feminists at this time?
Gaining the vote and raising women's profile in the public sphere
Why did campaigners favour this?
-the vote would lead to liberal rights for women
-women would help to pacify politics and make it less aggressive and competitive
-ends sexual oppression
-would counter the left-wing militancy of working-class men
What happened in terms of liberal feminism during 'second wave feminism?'
-the concern over a lack of women in the public sphere continued
-Liberal feminists such as Friedan maintained that domestic work kept women out of the workforce, public life and politics
-this would lead to alcoholism, subordination and despair
-she launched the NTO pressure group and campaigned for an Equal Rights Amendment
What are liberal feminists views on the Public/Private divide?
-aimed to remove the social and legal barriers to equality that still existed, particularly concerning education and careers
-Public life should be open to equal competition from men and women
-they are opposed to abolishing the public/private divide
-women have natural impulses that make them lean towards family, home and children
-Motherhood should also be more greatly valued
What are the Radical Feminist criticisms of Radical Liberalism?
1. It's failed; men still dominate
2. Public/Private divide is artificial
3. Individualism of liberal feminism draws attention away from the gender divide and patriarchy, women are subjected as a sex and not as individuals
4. The stress on 'parenthood'
5. It denies the importance of gender, equality means male equality
What are the socialist criticisms of liberal feminism?
1. Only benefits educated, middle-class women, other women are unable to compete equally with men in the public sphere
2. State and capitalism actively support the social domination of men and the dominant social classes
What are socialist feminists core beliefs?
-believe that only women are oppressed by men and capitalism
-women can only be liberated through end of capitalism
-female disadvantage is rooted in social and economic factors
What was Fouriers movement and how did it favour women's emancipation?
-he believed that women were oppressed by means of marriage and the family
-the creation of cooperative communes meaning children would be cared for by the community
-the oppressive institution of monogamous marriage would be ended
What did Engels claim in his works?
-women's oppression resulted from private property
-wealth is inherited through the male line
-monogamy is forced upon women in marriage whilst married men ignore it
-the man in a marriage has access to sex, in exchange for supplying the material needs of the women
-women are economically independent upon men because domestic work is unpaid and low status
-divisions between genders are encouraged by the Bourgeoisie
Why do socialist feminists believe that female oppression was still seen as serving the interests of capitalism?
-domestic work is unpaid and unvalued
-men were freed from childcare an house work so they could concentrate their energies more on paid work
-existence of bourgeois family encouraged men to seek paid employment
-Housewives were a reserve army of labour
-most women were temporary or part time workers used for low paid low status jobs
What are the problems for socialist feminism?
-choosing which is more oppressive gender or social class
-for Marxists capitalism created private property which in turn created female oppression
-women are oppressed by capitalism and need a socialist revolution to end this
-socialist feminists such as Mitchell see both cultural and idealogical roots of patriarchy as important and women were oppressed in areas such as: -as workers, -those bearing children, -those socialising children, -sex objects
For Radical Feminists where does patriarchy exist?
-Political
-Public Life
-Economy
-Social
-Personal
-Sexual
-Reproduction
-Religious
What are the key characteristics of radical feminism?
-of, by and for women
-sees women's oppression as the most important form of oppression
-women have a common interest as a gender
-the personal is the political
What did Greer's The Female Enuch suggest?
-the stereotype of femininity has kept women subordinate
-women are coordinated to a passive special role and their true sexuality is more outgoing and adventurous has been suppressed
-women are 'socially castrated'
What did Millet's, Sexual Politics say?
-patriarchy has existed throughout history and is contact and pervasive
-boys and girls are conditioned from an early age to conform to specific gender identities
-this comes mostly from within the family but also throughout society
-the conditioning was to be challenged through 'consciousness raising'
What did Firestones, The Dialectic of Sex suggest?
-considered biology important in the oppression of women
-Childbearing led to a sexual division of labour
-contraception, abortion and child rearing by the state or community would lead to gender equality
-gender differences should be diminished and eventually abolished
-women are equal to men
-humans are naturally androgynous
-social conditioning have prevented this
What do Difference Feminists such as Dworkin suggest?
-women are fundamentally unalterable from men
-sisterhood should be embraced
-women are a superior since they are creating, caring and sensitive
-feminine qualities are celebrated
-cultural feminism is about lifestyle and is anti-political
-patriarchy is biological
-to be free women must engage in feminist separatism
-heterosexual women cannot be liberated