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Definition & Basic Idea of Feminism

Historical of Feminism

Characteristic of Feminism Approach

Main Theories of Feminism

Other Femenism Categories

Definition of Feminist Theory
Feminist theory, or feminism, is support of
equality for women and men. Although all
feminists strive for gender equality, there are
various ways to approach this theory, including
liberal feminism, socialist feminism, and finally
radical feminism.
quiz.html) [Kimberly Moffit, What is Feminist Theory? - Definition & Overview, Study.com] [
February 17, 2016]
Definition of Feminist Criticism
Feminist criticism is concerned with "...the ways in which literature
(and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the
economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women"
(Tyson). This school of theory looks at how aspects of our culture are
inherently patriarchal (male dominated) and "...this critique strives
to expose the explicit and implicit misogyny in male writing about

Basic Feminist Ideas
Working to Increase equality
Expanding Human Choice
Eliminating gender stratification
Ending sexual violence
Promoting sexual freedom
[Kimberly Moffit, What is Feminist Theory? - Definition & Overview, Study.com] [ February 17, 2016]
Historical of Feminism
The history of the modern western feminist movements is
divided into three "waves". Each is described as dealing with
different aspects of the same feminist issues.
The First Wave
19th century and early 20th century UK & US

It won improved rights for women in marriage and

property. Its biggest achievement was winning some
political power. In the UK the Suffragettes and Suffragists
campaigned for the womens vote.

In 1918, women over thirty who owned property won the

vote and in 1928 it was extended to all women over twenty-
The Second Wave
1960s & 1970s

It extended the fight beyond political rights to education, work

and the home.

In The Feminine Mystique (1963) Betty Freidan argues

women were unhappy because of the feminine mystique. She
said this was a damaging ideal of femininity which she called,
The Happy Housewife and it restricted women to the role of
housewife and mother, giving up on work and education.
The Third Wave
1990s present
Widened the feminist movement and its ideas beyond
middle class, white women, addressing the different
disadvantages women experience because of, for example
their race, ethnicity and class.
Some argue that seeing the history of feminism in just
these three waves can ignore the fight for equal rights and
the end to discrimination by women outside the large
feminist movements in the UK and US, including working
class women and black and ethnic minority women
Characteristic of Feminist Approach

Biological differences Normative meaning given to
between male and female sexual difference by Social and
Male or female cultural construction
feminine or masculine
Its about attitude and behavior
and in their social role
Main Theories of Feminism
Liberal Feminism
Liberal feminism focuses mainly on protecting equal opportunities
for women through legislation.

Liberal feminism that dominantly influences the theory, means that women
are not given the same opportunities as men to pursue their individual
interests. This because women as a group are blocked by informal and formal
discrimination and ideology which people learn through socialization that
views women very differently than men
(Sapiro, 1986:442)
Radical Feminism
focus one patriarchy power system to organize society based on thought
that male oppresses women.
Radical feminists believe that sexism is at the core of patriarchal society and that
all social institutions reflect that sexism. Whereas liberal feminists focus on the
workplace and legal changes, radical feminists focus on the patriarchal family as
the key site of domination and oppression.
(Shelton and Agger, 1993)

Radical feminism stated that sexual relations and sexuality are the center of
their feminist framework. They defined that men are the problem and women
are the solution. Societies in which currently arranged are patriarchal. They are
run, organized, and defined by men for their own benefit (Sapiro, 1986, 445)
Marxist Social Feminism
Socialist feminism focuses on economics and politics.

Marxist feminism, where socialist feminism has its roots, points out that class
relations and capitalist exploitation of women through their roles in the
household are the cause of women's oppression. Capitalists profit from the free
provision of labour by women in their family roles. Women need to provide free
care for the young, the old, the sick, and even the (male) able-bodied worker
(Budig, 2007, p. 425)
Differences Main of Feminism
Radical Feminism Marxist Feminism Liberal Feminism
Society is controlled by Men Primarily Capitalism & Men Mainly men but some women do have

Society is defined as... Patriarchal Patriarchal Having a lack of equality of opportunity

Who benefits from inequality Men The Bourgeoisie & Nobody. Gender stereotypes mean
Men/husbands that men miss out on raising children &
women in paid work.

What is to blame for inequality Women are dominated by men Mens status as paid Socialization into gender roles & sexist
due to biology men are stronger, employer means women are discrimination
women give birth financially dependent on men

Solutions to the exploitation Separation of the sexes and Revolution or more economic Get rid of sexism in the socialization
women become self-reproductive equality to balance men & process
womens financial power New reforms & laws against
Criticisms Patriarchy doesnt explain why Places too much emphasis on Recognises inequality exists but
women are exploited only how. men working & womens lack doesnt really provide a theory to
Exaggerates the extent of of finances. More male explain why or how it continues.
inequality in society. unemployment lately-Welfare
state support
Others Femenism categories
Psychoanalytic Feminism
Psychoanalytic feminists explain womens oppression as rooted
within psychic structures and reinforced by the continual repetition
or reiteration of relational dynamics formed in infancy and
Because of these deeply engrained patterns, psychoanalytic
feminists wanted to alter the experiences of early childhood and
family relations, as well as linguistic patterns, that produce and
reinforce masculinity and femininity.
Extentialist Feminism
Existentialist feminists emphasize concepts such as freedom,
interpersonal relationships, and the experience of living as a
human body. They value the capacity for radical change, but
recognize that factors such as self-deception and the anxiety
caused by the possibility of change can limit it.
Post-Modern Feminism
Post-feminism makes women are afraid about violence (such as rape) and
politically and economically underprivileged. So, it is competitive and
eschews collective action.
Focuses on the breakdown of traditional ideals: Beautiful/ugly;
Happy/sad; Weak/strong; Funny/sullen; Reason/emotion; Self/other
Postfeminism relies on competitive individualism and eschews collective action;
it obscures or makes invisible the many ways in which women are often fearful,
subjected to rape and other kinds of violence, and politically and economically
[http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/writingpostfeminism/reconfiguredrip2 ] [ February 18, 2016]
Eco Feminism
Ecofeminism is practical movement foe social change arising out of
the strugles of women to sustain themselves, their families, and
their communities.

"basic understanding of eco-feminism as a perspective which starts from the

fundamental necessities of life; we call this the subsistence perspective. Our
opinion is that women are nearer to this perspective than men - Women in the
South working and living, fighting for their immediate survival are nearer to it
than urban middle-class women and men in the North. Yet all women and all
men have a body which is directly affected by the destructions of the industrial
system" [Mies and Shiva- Ecofeminisms in Process; Richard T Twine (2001) ]
[http://richardtwine.com/ecofem/ecofem2001.pdf][ February 18, 2016]
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the
primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where
fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies
the institutions of male rule and privilege, and is dependent on
female subordination. Most forms of feminism characterize
patriarchy as an unjust social system that is oppressive to women. As
the feminist and political theorist Carole Pateman writes: "The
patriarchal construction of the difference between masculinity and
femininity is the political difference between freedom and